Sunday, October 24, 2010

Radnor Lake Loop

The whole family made it over to Radnor Lake State Park this afternoon. Though our initial plan was to hike just the South Lake Trail, the day was so pleasant that we decided to detour back around the lake. We wound up hiking for about two hours and covered 3.3 miles. The fall leaves were starting to put on a show and offered up some spectacular vistas—especially from the dam end of the lake.

Click pictures to enlarge.
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Radnor Lake Loop

Monday, October 18, 2010

Little Loop at Radnor

Weather was such that we had to get outside today, so I took C and E for a short jaunt at Radnor. We hiked a small .9-mile loop that took us from the east parking lot down the lakeside road and then into the woods and back along the Ganier Ridge connector.

Our deer count for the day was ten, though we passed a lady on the trail who'd seen 21. C spotted one on the drive in, we saw four on the trail, and then five more stood by the road as we exited the park. E looked at the trailside deer with interest but took their presence in stride. She may have thought they were big dogs. She also did some singing in the backpack (click for mp3), something that C used to do when I carried him on hikes.

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Little Loop at Radnor

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Low and Slow on the Harpeth River

Advanced Technical Draddling: A Style Primer

Jimmy and I knew the Harpeth was low. It has barely rained in middle Tennessee in more than a month. Still, after two decent rainfalls in the past week, I pushed for a Harpeth run yesterday morning. Turns out though it was less of a run and more of a drag. Or draddle, which is our newly coined portmanteau combining drag and paddle.

We retraced a route taken back in June of '09, and right off the bat, I feared we were going to have a repeat of the infamous draddle on the East Fork of the Stones a couple of years back. We didn't get a mile before the low flow necessitated an exit-and-drag maneuver. But then for much of the ~8.5-mile float, we managed to stay in our yaks—occasionally scraping bottom but managing to keep forward motion.

Hwy 249 to Hwy 70 on the Harpeth

Toward the end of the float, however, low current led to some pretty decent draddling. To avoid walking, we practiced techniques such as the paddle pole, the booty scoot, the bobsled, and the ever popular school of momentum. Still, we had to exit and drag in some stretches, and our two-hour float turned into 3.5 hours. Jimmy has since located hydrologic data for that section of the river, and using Saturday's level (1 foot) as a reference point, we should be able to avoid future draddling on the Harpeth.

Wildlife sightings included a fox squirrel, gobs of turkey vultures, at least four huge red-tailed hawks, and two coyotes. The 'yotes popped out of some tall grass next to a river bend, eyed us for a few seconds, and then trotted off downstream. I only captured the tail-end of one coyote with my camera, but Jimmy snapped a nice picture of both.


Just a couple of items worth mentioning...
  • I tried out my Seals spray skirt on the Perception Swifty and found it to be a good fit. It should be a valuable addition in cold and/or rainy weather and in active current where splashes are more likely.
  • Soon after executing a draddle during which I tucked my GPS into my life vest, I looked to my right and saw a familiar pouch floating down the river. It contained, of course, my Garmin GPS, and I can now say with confidence that I appreciate the buoyancy of the dry pouch—a Seal Line "See Pouch." Without it, my Garmin unit might still be somewhere in the Harpeth.