Friday, October 30, 2009

Kayak Classes

Beginning Kayaking: These classes are an excellent complete beginner's course held in the safe and warm confines of an indoor pool.  The class is a series of four weekly two hour sessions.  The first session, be dressed for the pool session and at poolside one hour before the scheduled pool time for a safety/orientation session.  Attendance at the first day is mandatory.  This course will focus on basic kayaking strokes that are applicable to both sea kayaking and white water kayaking.  We will also work on self and assisted rescues, recovery strokes, sweep strokes and the beginning elements of self-rescue techniques.  Students should bring swimming goggles, nose plugs and a towel along with swimming apparel. Participants under 16 must be approved in advance by the instructor.  

 11/3-11/17, 12/1, Tuesdays (4 weeks), 7:45-10pm, $127 person

Fenton HS, Register at or (248) 437-8105

11/19, 11/31-12/17, Thursdays (4 weeks), 7:45-10pm, South Lyon HS, $145 person

Register at or (248) 437-8105

Kayak Rolling Classes: This class will focus on the elements of hip snap development, high and low bracing and the Kayak Roll.  Either the "C to C" or Sweep Roll will be taught depending upon student's capabilities.  Strength is not important in learning to roll… it's all about boat fit, flexibility, and most importantly, proper technique. So if you are ready to learn to roll that boat, here's your chance.  The class will be scheduled for four hours, but please arrive 30-60 minutes in advance to be outfitted with gear.  

Sunday, 11/15, 8:30am-12:30pm, Brighton HS, $80/person

Register by calling Rob Taylor @ (810) 355-6381

Tuesdays, (2 weeks), 12/8 & 12/15, 7-9pm,

Fenton HS, $82/person

Register at or (248) 437-8105

 "Over Easy" Open Pool Sessions: Here's a chance to practice all that you've learned in the Basic Kayaking and Rolling classes in the friendly environment of the Brighton High School pool.  Perfect all those different strokes, practice rescues, and work on that "bomb-proof roll" or just come hang-out with other paddlers and swap war stories.  Certified instructors will be on hand to provide pointers if needed.

Sunday, 11/29, 3-5:30pm, 

Brighton HS, $30/person

Register by calling Rob Taylor @ (810) 355-6381

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Technique matters

Technique matters

Think "feet first" - initiate the stroke by first engaging your foot with the foot peg of the kayak.
Engaging the lower body just a nanosecond ahead of the paddle's entry into the water yields a big payback in moving the kayak forward efficiently.

Increasing the strength you apply to the paddles to go faster will only result in quick exhaustion.
By attempting to minimize the lag time between strokes, you'll increase speed and be more efficient.
The trick is all in the rhythm and cadence, also known as "spinning" the paddle.
Try to get one, continuous, fluid motion of the paddle going slowly at first and then pick up the pace.
Keep the paddle constantly moving, minimizing the lag between strokes.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Blue Infrastructure

Blue Infrastructure

BLUE has now become the new "green"

The OS Systems Spirit Drysuit

The OS Systems Spirit Drysuit

I own the Spirit drysuit and have used it to extend my paddling season to all 12 months of the year here in Michigan.
Since absolutely NO water gets in via latex wrist and neck seals , you stay nice and toasty warm inside.
The breathable fabric isn't insulated, so you'll need to wear a baselayer like Capilene or PolarTech underneath.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Heritage Water trail

By Liz Shaw | Flint Journal   October 16, 2009, 2:55PM

View full size            Elizabeth Shaw | Flint Journal 

Canoeists and kayakers prepare to launch at the annual Canoe in Color tour of the Heritage Water Trail on the Shiawassee River from Holly to Fenton
HOLLY and FENTON, Michigan — Not even a gray and rainy sky could dampen spirits at the annual Canoe in Color paddling tour of the Heritage Water Trail along the top of the Shiawassee River from Holly to Fenton.
On Oct. 3, about 60 hardy souls launched a flotilla of canoes and kayaks from Waterworks Park in Holly for the 2.5-hour paddle along the seven-mile route to Strom Park in Fenton.
The day’s only incident was a brief jam-up of kayaks trying to maneuver through a trio of tubes under the railroad tracks, largely thanks to the efforts of a hardworking crew of volunteers who cleared the river of obstacles earlier in the week.
Many were the same die-hard enthusiasts who sawed logs and cleared brush for weeks after a 2007 tornado blocked the route with dozens of broken and uprooted trees.

View full size           Elizabeth Shaw | Flint Journal 

Doug Lanyk, vice-president of Headwaters Trails
“Rumor had it that there were two trees interfering with easy passage. Turned out that a wind storm ... knocked down several more,” said Doug Lanyk, vice president of Headwaters Trails, a nonprofit dedicated to building a land-and-water trail network throughout northwestern Oakland County’s headwaters region, where the Shiawassee River begins.
“We ended up cutting six trees out of the way, as well as trimming a bunch of face-slapping branches. Some slobs had put a bag of garbage in the river that we fished out, (too).”
The group also erected the new interpretive signs, mile markers and emergency posts along the route.
“The water has cooled down quite a bit. Working in shorts with water up to my belly button was invigorating,” joked Willi Gutmann, another Headwaters Trails volunteer.
Funded by a $25,500 grant from the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network, the new signage marks the climax of years of dreams and hard work by Headwaters Trails and others.
Many credit that success to Headwaters Trails president Sue Julian and husband Chuck, longtime champions for restoring the waterway and increasing its recreational opportunities.
Fenton Area Paddlers founder Maggie Yerman likened the Rose Township couple to John Muir, the legendary naturalist who founded the Sierra Club to foster and protect the fledgling national parks system in the early 1900s.
Like Muir, the Julians have a wider goal that reaches far beyond that one seven-mile stretch, said Yerman.
View full size    Elizabeth Shaw | Flint Journal 

Headwaters Trails volunteer Willi Guttman helped organize Canoe in Color
“They do not let the lack of volunteers stop them from completing the goals of Headwaters Trails. They have contributed money, time, tools and talent, often being the only ones out there in the pouring rain installing signs or spreading gravel,” Yerman said. “Their vision is not limited to the Shiawassee River from Holly to Fenton but all the way to the Saginaw Bay.”
Indeed, the group has worked with government agencies and other public and private agencies to foster a comprehensive plan of recreational land-and-water trails linking the village of Holly and the townships of Groveland, Holly, Rose and Springfield, Seven Lakes State Park, Rose Oaks County Park and the city of Fenton.
The hope is that a maintained and signed river trail will eventually continue along the Shiawassee to Linden, Byron and through Shiawassee County en route to Saginaw County and the Saginaw Bay.
Sue Julian even has her eye on ways to foster camping and other accommodations along the river route, drawing paddlers from all over the region for extended river trips.
“It’s all part of the master plan,” said Julian, chuckling. “It’s going to take a lot of cooperation with the other communities downstream from here but we’re hopeful we can make it happen.”
Most of the interpretive signs were created by Lapeer Township illustrator Gayle Vandercook, a freelance residential designer. 
Elizabeth Shaw | Flint Journal 

Headwaters Trails president Sue Julian (right) 
explains signs created by Gayle Vandercook (left) and Kristen Wiltfang (center) 

“At first it was a little overwhelming. I’d never even been on the river,” Vandercook said. “Sue filled me full of notes and photos. She was great for guiding me and checking on the correctness of the science and wildlife.”
The theme of two of the signs, “Share the Resource,” illustrates all the ways the waterways are used by various recreationists, from hikers and anglers to boaters and birders.
Others illustrate the wildlife found along the river, or historical points of interest in the connected towns.
Kristen Wiltfang of Oakland County Planning and economic Development Services provided colorful graphics of the Saginaw Bay Watershed on another of the kiosks.
The signage also includes emergency posts and mile markers, and a bulletin board of events and amenities in the community.
“We want people who come here to know they’re close to all kinds of shopping and restaurants here in Holly,” said Suzanne Perreault of the Holly Downtown Development Authority. “We really can see the value of how this river and trails can attract visitors to our community.”
View full size         Elizabeth Shaw | Flint Journal 

The Heritage Water Trail's seven-mile take-out at Strom Park in Fenton

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Shiawassee River - State Heritage Water Trail - Michigan Waymark

Waymarking the Shiawassee River - Launch Site
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member WaterWarlock

N 42° 47.172 W 083° 37.565
17T E 285205 N 4740417

Quick Description:
Start of the Top of the Shiawassee River State Heritage Water Trail in Holly, Michigan

Location: Holly, Michigan, United States

Waymark Code: WM7CJB

Parking/put-in/launching information:
Plenty of parking at WaterWorks Park at 690 Broad Street in Holly, MI.
Easy launching of kayaks and canoes into the Shiawassee River.

Paddling conditions to be expected :
Gentle current most days making for a generally easy paddle at 2.5 mph for approximately
a 3 hour paddle covering the 7 miles until the take out at Strom Park in Fenton.

Difficulty of the trip :
Suitable for beginners with some paddling skills to avoid the natural terrain in the river.

Length of trip : 7 miles ~ 3 hour paddle at 2.5 mph ~ easy leisurely pace

Waymarking is a way to mark unique locations on the planet and give them a voice.
While GPS technology allows us to pinpoint any location on the planet, mark the location,and share it
Waymarking is the toolset for categorizing and adding unique information for that location.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Shiawassee River State Heritage Water Trail

Even on a windy rainy Saturday morning October 3, 2009 a large group of approximately 50 paddlers
in 38 kayaks and canoes came out to celebrate the opening of a new Heritage Water Trail
in Oakland County along 7 miles of the Shiawassee River from Holly to Fenton.

Various dignitaries came out to help kick things off that day

Marsha Powers - Village Manager in Holly

Sandra Kleven  -  Village Council in Holly

Suzanne Perrault  - Executive Director - Holly Downtown Development Authority

Gayle Vandercook – Artist for the kiosks displayed at various launch and landing sites

Kristen Wiltfang   -- Oakland County – Planning & Economic Development
GIS mapping technical assistance &  Environmental Stewardship

Elizabeth Shaw - The Flint Journal

HeadWatersTrails, Inc. is based in northern Oakland County, Michigan, and dedicated to the
development of a trail network in the northwest headwaters region.

With grant support, Headwaters Trails, Inc has developed a signage program for the Shiawassee River.
The funding allowed installation signage and kiosks to be installed from Holly, MI in Oakland County  to Fenton, MI in Genessee County.
It is hoped that signage will be developed and installed along the Shiawassee River all the way to Saginaw Bay.

Several types of signage have been proposed for the Shiawassee River :

Wayside Interpretive Exhibits – large signs and kiosks help visitors learn about the Shiawassee River and natural history.

Mile Posts – mile markers are placed between Holly and Fenton for the 7 mile trip.

Emergency Access Posts – negotiated with landowners and the North Oakland Fire Authority,
these posts are for emergency landings and ambulance services if needed.