Then I got my monthly newsletter from Naturally Superior Adventures. There has been a teaser note on their site for a while about "The Big One". Today they announced what it actually is and yes, it is big.
Next summer (2008), they will be offering a giant 8-week guided trip of the entire Canadian Shoreline of Lake Superior. This trip is not for the faint of heart with a complete distance of 670km (416 miles).
Since not everybody has 8 weeks of vacation time, they have broken up the trip into 8 sections allowing people to join in and paddle any part of the trip on week at a time.
Total cost for the 8 weeks is $7560 Cdn.
It will be very interesting to see if many people take the 8 week option. If you did, I would think it would be weird to get new paddling partners every week.
More info: Naturally Superior Adventures
Below is a map of the route so you can get some perspective on the massive size of this trip.
View Larger Map
They don't care if it is a large or small project. The key to it is that at the end of the day, the area you tackle will be cleaner then before.
The cool part of this project is that they are using the full power of their maps software. You can create a small map of the area you are going to clean-up and they will feature it on the International Clean-Up Weekend site.
Not interested in organizing a group? No friends? Search through the global map and meet some new friends at the local project already organized in your area.
Of course I have no friends so looking through the map, I discovered that there is not a single project taking place in Canada! Come on Canada, it's a pig sty out there, get organized and get your project posted. Kazakhstan has more projects than we do!
If you are interested in organizing a project and can't think of a place to start, come by my house. I have a really dirty kitchen that you can get started with.
More Info: International Clean-UP Weekend
I was reading a letter to the editor today in the online version of The Sun Chronicle. The letter went on to complain to the editor that they published a photo of two canoeists last week out paddling. The problem was that they didn't have a PFD on.
In the letter the author makes mention of a law in Massachusetts that stipulates that you must wear a properly fitting approved PFD between January 1-May 14 and September 15 to December 31.
I had no idea that this rule was on the books. It seems bring a good compromise between cold water safety and those who complain that PFD are to hot in the summer and unnecessary.
I am interested in hearing if this type of law is in effect where you live. Also do people know about it or is it one of those obscure rules like the one in Florida which states that "If an elephant is left tied to a parking meter, the parking fee has to be paid just as it would for a vehicle." [lawguru.com]
The animals jumped into the river and when they couldn't get up the bank on the other side, they quickly drowned or crushed with the 1000's of animals jumping in the water behind them.
Conservation officers in the area said that animals drown every year but never at this type of scale.
The 10,000 animals represent around 1% of the total herd.
They recently sent me the upgraded Sea Tec Tow Line , a set of reflective deck line covers and by absolute favourite, the Guides Vest.
The Tow Line is fantastic. Over the years, I have used several different types of tow systems from a waist mounted, coaming mounted and recently a deck mounted system. I love the deck mounted system. Here is an article on deck mounted tow systems. Up until now, the biggest draw back (for me) was that my tow system couldn't be passed to a different paddler unless they had a deck system already in place. North Water has solved that problem by making their new tow line convertible. The waist loops tuck into a Velcro flap when you are towing form your rear deck. If I need to pass it to you, then you just pull out the waist straps and you are off. Smart
I approached North Water because I have been using their gear for instruction as well as my own personal paddling. I have always felt they have built some of the best products on the market today for both kayakers and canoeists. North Water has products out there for the entire market, from absolute beginners floating around in rec. boats all the way up to the high end paddlers who are looking for well designed and bombproof gear.
I recently posted a review of the North Water Guides vest. Look for a full review of the Sea Tec Tow Line later this fall once I have put it through some testing.
To get PFD's certified by the government, the manufacture must design it to meet specific bouncy standards. When a manufacture decides to add pockets or accessories, they also need to increase the bouncy in the jacket to compensate for the potential increased weight (water in pockets, accessories, etc.). Generally speaking, the more pockets and storage on a PFD, the bulkier and cumbersome it is.
When I worked in a camping store, I would show people the Trangia stove and compare it to the MSR stoves and they would always ask, how long does it take to boil water? Generally speaking the MSR stoves have a higher BTU output so they will get your tea in your hands slightly quicker.
I have never understood why boil time is the benchmark for stoves. To me, the reliability of a product is way more important. In the 4 years I worked in the returns and repairs department, I only saw one Trangia stove ever come back. I can't tell you the hundreds of Whisperlight and Dragonfly stoves that people tried to return because they couldn't get them working or parts broke while out on the trip. Mind you, the majority (almost all) of the retuned stoves were because the user never read the instructions before using or never pulled out the instructions with the troubleshooting tips when something went wrong. The biggest complaints I got were that they were finicky or loud.
That is where Trangia stoves are different. They are simple with no moving parts. They run on alcohol so the fuel is cheap. Best advantage? They run completely silent. Yes, the BTU output isn't as high but how often do you need your water ready to go in 3 min? You are sitting around talking anyways...
That doesn't mean that MSR stoves are bad, they are fantastic stoves for what they were designed for, high BTU output. I love my dragonfly because it simmers nice but man is it loud. It is designed on the same principles as a jet engine so what does it sound like? Yep, a jet engine.
On a slightly different note, you can easily build your own alcohol stove using two beer cans. This is an old trick that ultra light backpackers have known for years but paddlers have been slow to join in. Build your own stove for about $3 worth of material. Metacafe has a video showing you how to do it.
Here is a little primer on stove via the Wikipedia.