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Thread: A Kurylko Alaska on the West Coast

  1. #1
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    Default A Kurylko Alaska on the West Coast

    Well, the west coast of Wisconsin, that is...

    I have some more frittering time available today, and I thought I'd share another short cruise from the pandemic summer of 2020. Once again, my story about this trip first appeared in Small Boats a few months ago, but I thought it'd be fun to re-live the trip and share it with those who might have missed it.

    Of course, I had my sights set on a big Canadian trip last summer, but closed borders brought a swift end to that idea. And it just didn't seem right to travel far across the U.S., either--and lots of likely Great Lakes cruising grounds were restricting camping and access.

    I had done several pandemic trips to the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage already, including THIS ONE, so I was looking for new ground. I'd also done ANOTHER TRIP to a similar northwoods lake system, the Willow Flowage, which was small enough that I figured it would be better to save a return trip for another summer.

    There aren't many other lakes nearby big enough to offer a rewarding multi-day cruise, with unregulated stealth camping and anchoring available. So, what to do? I pulled out a local gazetteer to look over the possibilities. And hey, it turns out Wisconsin is surrounded by water on THREE sides--not only Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, which I'd already ruled out--but a "west coast" of sorts: the Mississippi River. I bought some charts and headed out to a launch point on a tiny island just across the river from Red Wing, Minnesota:

    Overview.jpg
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on the West Coast

    Here's a closer look at the area--5 miles of islands and river channels to row, and then I'd reach Lake Pepin, a 20-mile-long natural lake that formed above the mouth of the Chippewa River, which spills enough sand into the Mississippi to slow down the current and create a partial dam:

    Lake Pepin.jpg

    I figured that, with the prevailing west and northwest winds, I'd have mostly easy sailing. But first, 5 miles of river rowing. I stayed out of the main navigation channel where the barges and towboats travel, and hugged the Wisconsin shore, ducking out of the Wisconsin Channel (popular with recreational boaters) as soon as I could, into the Pierce County Islands Natural Area.



    The bird in the video was one of several bald eagles that kept pace with me, flying off downstream whenever I got too near, and then repeating the whole routine a hundred yards later. I've seen that kind of thing from blue herons on smaller rivers, but it was the first time I'd ever played the game with eagles. Nice to have a bit of company, such as it was:

    1.4.jpg

    After a few miles of casual rowing, with no other traffic, I pulled in for a bit of shore leave:

    1.3.jpg
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on the West Coast

    1.jpg

    From here I had a choice--follow the main river channel straight ahead into the upper reaches of Lake Pepin, or head left through Catherine Pass to take a little more indirect route. I took the cut through Catherine Pass (of course), but soon found enough open water to think about setting up the rig and hoisting the sail.

    1.5.jpg
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on the West Coast

    Winds were light at first, and a bit contrary--I had decided my best chance of finding a sheltered anchorage/campsite for the night would be at the mouth of the Rush River, which was 6 or 7 miles down Lake Pepin:

    2.jpg

    But, contrary to my somewhat pessimistic expectations, the winds not only picked up appreciably as evening came on, but also veered more southerly, letting me hold a course directly to the mouth of the Rush River. Thanks to my $.59 line-and-bungee autopilot, it was a delightfully hands-free evening of sailing past the river bluffs.

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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on the West Coast

    Summer days are long up here, so I had time to reach the mouth of the Rush River before sunset:

    3.jpg

    I hadn't seen any other boats, except for a barge tow back at the edge of the Pierce County Islands, working its way through a 3-mile hairpin curve:

    1.2.jpg

    Judging by the long line of wading gulls I was heading for, the Rush River spills a long sandbar out into Lake Pepin. I cut the corner a bit too close and ground to a halt on the sand--no big deal, though. I just popped up the board and rudder, hopped out, and let the boat sail itself over the bar, then hopped back in to continue up the river:

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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on the West Coast

    This part of the Mississippi flows through the Driftless Area, a region that was untouched by the last period of glaciation. Dramatic topography (for the Midwest), with steep bluffs and narrow valleys. A nice sunset to go with it:

    DSCN6485 (2).jpg

    I continued up the river on a following breeze, scouting for potential campsites. Eventually I rowed back to near the mouth of the river and tied up along a sandy shore for the night:

    DSCN6510.jpg
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on the West Coast

    The "sandy shore" turned out to be a thick oozing mudbank, but only ankle-deep or so. That was only right along the riverside--just a few steps inland it was all sand. Nice soft flat sand, and a very comfortable camp.

    1.8.jpg

    It wasn't even buggy, really. A perfect night--and a perfect retreat from a summer of COVID-19 planning for school openings, case counts, mortality rates, safety measures--so nice to get away from all that for a while.

    4.jpg

    From here it would be another 15 miles to the end of Lake Pepin at the mouth of the Chippewa River. I wasn't entirely sure where I was going to end up--I thought maybe the mouth of the Wisconsin River, 150 miles downstream, might make a nice end point. With Wisconsin's westerly/northwesterly breezes behind me, I figured the Lake Pepin segment would go quickly--another day at most.
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on the West Coast

    I didn't notice this was a new thread, so a very pleasant surprise.
    be modest, and be proud of it.

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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on the West Coast

    Looks like you are about to sail past my place at Old Frontenac. I'll keep an eye out for you.
    The ice went out on Pepin over the last few days and the first barge passed north today. Early this year so you can head back over any time now.
    Thanks for posting this BTW.

    Bruce

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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on the West Coast

    Quote Originally Posted by WX View Post
    I didn't notice this was a new thread, so a very pleasant surprise.
    Yep, one last trip to post about here. Then I'll have to get the boat out of winter storage and start doing stuff again (I already have one local-ish outing in mind).

    Meanwhile, on with day 2 of my "west coast" pandemic trip--I figured I'd probably cross the rest of Lake Pepin and end up camping somewhere around the mouth of the Chippewa River. But, contrary to my expectations about prevailing winds being channeled down Lake Pepin from west to east, the morning brought headwinds. Fairly energetic ones at that.



    Covered about 3 straight-line miles all morning before deciding to duck in behind the sand spit at Long Point along the Minnesota side:

    5.jpg

    Perfect! A lovely sandy beach, with no one around. As I glided up to the shore, I was already anticipating a long bout of exploring on foot; this was Frontenac State Park, and seemed well worth a long visit ashore. I beached the boat in solitude, the best kind of social distancing I could imagine--the only company was another passing barge tow far in the distance.

    2.2.jpg
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on the West Coast

    Quote Originally Posted by hnsbrc View Post
    Looks like you are about to sail past my place at Old Frontenac. I'll keep an eye out for you.
    The ice went out on Pepin over the last few days and the first barge passed north today. Early this year so you can head back over any time now.
    Thanks for posting this BTW.

    Bruce
    Bruce,

    my first planned outing--as soon as I pull the boat out of winter storage on March 27--will be a 1-2 night trip to Perrot State Park on the Wisconsin side--I was there on foot last weekend with my wife, and it's just gorgeous. Lots of migrating cranes (though they might be gone by the time I get back) and eagles, and turkey vultures. And of course the featured "mountain" itself--Trempeleau Mountain, which gives its name to the nearby town of Trempeleau, Wisconsin--is accessible only to boats (the name "Trempeleau" means something like "The Mountain Whose Foot is Bathed in Water"). I plan to find a quiet corner and sleep aboard.

    Here's the spot:

    Trempeleau.jpg

    Depending on how things are, I might even sail/row over to Winona for a taste of the big city. I figure this early in the season (late March) it shouldn't be too busy.

    Tom
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on the West Coast

    So, I was ashore, and contemplating a leisurely exploration, when this sight caught my attention from the beach:

    2.3.jpg

    Hmm... I had kind of forgotten what day it was, but mulling it over, I figured out it was Saturday. Apparently powerboaters don't hit the water until the late morning, and my beach would be their first stop. So...

    2.4.jpg

    I shoved off, hoisted sail, and was away before they hit the beach. Better to leave something to explore for next time, anyway, right?
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on the West Coast

    It was windy, and getting windier. Some cold spray, not much sun. The Alaska design, essentially a narrow-beamed pulling boat that trades sailing ability for ease of rowing, can slog along to windward OK as it breezes up, but it tends to be a slow process both in terms of boat speed and pointing. It was windy enough that a reef wouldn't have been out of the question, and I had been beating dead to windward all day long. So, when the next sheltered point appeared--Lake City's Hok Si La Park--I headed into the lee for some shelter. And maybe, just maybe, a place to camp--I had done my usual amount of pre-trip research (i.e. none) and wasn't sure what COVID-19 was going to mean for official camping.

    6.jpg

    I did know Hok Si La a bit from the couple of times I had managed to attend the Lake Pepin Messabout, though, and knew it had a stretch of nice sandy beach, at least. I figured I might be able to row up into a creek or backwater and sleep at anchor.

    2.5.jpg
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on the West Coast

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Bruce,

    my first planned outing--as soon as I pull the boat out of winter storage on March 27--will be a 1-2 night trip to Perrot State Park on the Wisconsin side--I was there on foot last weekend with my wife, and it's just gorgeous. Lots of migrating cranes (though they might be gone by the time I get back) and eagles, and turkey vultures. And of course the featured "mountain" itself--Trempeleau Mountain, which gives its name to the nearby town of Trempeleau, Wisconsin--is accessible only to boats (the name "Trempeleau" means something like "The Mountain Whose Foot is Bathed in Water"). I plan to find a quiet corner and sleep aboard.

    Here's the spot:

    Trempeleau.jpg

    Depending on how things are, I might even sail/row over to Winona for a taste of the big city. I figure this early in the season (late March) it shouldn't be too busy.

    Tom

    Tom, I've been as far as Winona by powerboat so not quite to Trempeleau. Sounds interesting. I'm hoping to squeeze in a weeklong downstream row this summer and call home for a pick up from wherever I get to so maybe I will check it out on the way. So far it's an early spring and water levels are dropping already so maybe the nice sandbars for campsites will easier to find than the last couple summers. If you ever get to Winona check out the Minnesota Marine Art Museum https://www.mmam.org/exhibitions, it is very impressive and located right on the river just upstream from the bridge.

    Bruce

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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on the West Coast

    The campgound at Hok Si La was eerily quiet--unsettlingly appropriate for a post-apocalyptic ambience. The normally busy swimming beach was almost empty; there was a lone pontoon boat on the sand, and maybe three or four people.

    My little bay just to the south--underneath the campsites just at the top of a low ridge--WAS completely empty, with the exception of this guy spearing frogs from the creek:

    2.9.jpg

    It was only mid-afternoon, with plenty of daylight left, but if anything the winds were even stronger--whitecaps everywhere out on the open lake. In no hurry for more windward sailing, I anchored the boat just offshore.

    2.8.jpg

    And then, still not sure if the campground was even open, I decided to go off exploring the strangely silent Hok Si La Park to see what I would find.
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on the West Coast

    Here's a closer look at Hok Si La:

    7.jpg

    There were a few quasi-official trails up from my little beach to the southern campground loop. The campground itself was empty, all the buildings closed and locked except for one pit toilet. No one about, at all. Same thing at the main day use area--probably fewer than a half dozen people, on a Saturday in the middle of summer season. Empty parking lots, empty campsites, empty beaches. The unaccustomed solitude here at a busy campground and park really underscored the vast changes sweeping through the world with the COVID-19 pandemic. I did find one small put toilet open for day use, and that was enough to decide things for me--with no one about to bother me, I'd be able to anchor out and sleep aboard.

    I spent the afternoon lounging about onshore, enjoying the not-entirely-appropriate-to-minimalist-cruising comfy camp chair I have sunk to bringing along on my trips., reading a book or two. At some point I cleaned up the boat a bit--that mud back at the Rush River delta was persistent:

    2.6.jpg

    And spread out the 85 sq ft mainsail to dry:

    2.7.jpg

    And that was how that day went.
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on the West Coast

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom
    For a while I've been wondering how to attach the side benches so they don't slide around, plus where to store the extra planks to make a sleeping platform. I see you just strap them together on either side of the cleat. Consider that idea stolen!

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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on the West Coast

    Quote Originally Posted by The Jeff View Post
    For a while I've been wondering how to attach the side benches so they don't slide around, plus where to store the extra planks to make a sleeping platform. I see you just strap them together on either side of the cleat. Consider that idea stolen!
    Yep, that works well for me, and no hardware needed. I also find the straps are a perfect for tucking a corner of a chart under to keep it from flying away.

    Tom
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on the West Coast

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    So, I was ashore, and contemplating a leisurely exploration, when this sight caught my attention from the beach:

    2.3.jpg

    Hmm... I had kind of forgotten what day it was, but mulling it over, I figured out it was Saturday. Apparently powerboaters don't hit the water until the late morning, and my beach would be their first stop. So...
    Were they flying Trump flags?
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on the West Coast

    Quote Originally Posted by UCanoe_2 View Post
    Were they flying Trump flags?
    Around here, sadly, that would not have been too unlikely. Either way, I was trying to keep more of a quarantine-style cruise going, so I didn't stick around to find out.

    Tom
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on the West Coast

    Tom, your boat, your adventures, and your sage comments on the forum are just marvelous. But my dermatologist would freak out if she saw how much skin you are exposing to the sun, especially your head. I have had several pre-cancerous keratoses removed from my bald head. A friend had skin cancers removed from an eyelid, which left his face badly disfigured.

    We would like to have all parts of you here on the forum for many years to come. So please wear a hat, cover up, and use sunscreen.
    "George Washington as a boy
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on the West Coast

    Thanks--much appreciated! I use a good sunscreen that blocks 93% or so of UV-B, so I'm not completely ignoring the issue. On sunny days I wear a hat.

    There's an interesting relationship between sun exposure for vitamin D, and overexposure for skin cancer risks, but I agree that full exposure for protection with nothing is a bad idea, even at latitudes of 45-50 degrees N where I sail.

    Tom
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on the West Coast

    Cloud doesn't stop UV apparently.
    be modest, and be proud of it.

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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on the West Coast

    So, the third day of the trip started afloat--here's my current sleeping set-up (photo from a different trip):

    boat tent.jpg

    I broke down the tent and got my gear stowed for traveling on. It was still 10 miles to the mouth of the Chippewa at the southern tip of Lake Pepin, the next stage in the trip. Early morning sun, and a quiet start to the day in my little bay at Hok Si La.

    2.8.jpg
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on the West Coast

    Quote Originally Posted by WX View Post
    Cloud doesn't stop UV apparently.
    Nope, that's a good point. But sunscreen stops a lot of it. A good reminder to make sure to keep some on my head on cloudy days--on sunny days, I wear my brimmed hat.

    Winds were still going pretty strong on day three of my "west coast" trip, and seemed likely to get stronger as the day went on--and still pretty much a dead beat to windward to make more progress. I was re-thinking my goal for the day, not keen to spend another long day tacking. But I figured I would head out and see if it was as bad as I thought it might be. Not bad enough to be dangerous, but tedious seemed likely.

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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on the West Coast

    Actually, not tedious at all--not for a short while. I tacked down the lake as far as nearby Lake City, Minnesota (the birthplace of water skiing, apparently), checking out a few possible landing spots along the way. One boat ramp on my map seemed to have disappeared, so I continued all the way down to Ohuta Park at Lake City, where there was a nice beach. I anchored in knee-deep water and waded ashore.

    3.1.jpg

    It was plenty windy out there. I decided to take a break ashore to see how things went. The main highway along the shore was closed, so I wandered down some side streets and eventually arrived at a Subway and bought a couple of sandwiches--that's what passes for luxury on one of my trips. Then back to the park to have a lakeside lunch at a picnic table, and a bit of reading.

    Still plenty windy, still dead on the nose.
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on the West Coast

    Well, finally it was time to get moving--I can only tolerate sitting ashore for so long sometimes. But I decided I wasn't going to beat 10 more miles upwind; I'd return to Hok Si La and reassess.

    As I was readying the boat, pulling up the anchor, etc., I noticed a young boy drifting away from the swimming area. He started calling to me for help--not panicky, not dramatic--but then, real drownings almost never are. I shoved off and glided over to him, and tossed him a line--by this point he was well over his head, and his mom (I assume) was watching somewhat frantically from onshore. Turns out they were both non-swimmers.

    I pulled him over to the boat, and he was able to climb in over the gunwale without help. I rowed him ashore to find a very grateful mother waiting for him. Lucky I had decided to sail in to Ohuta Beach! They both thanked me profusely (it had been no big deal for me, but very consequential for them!). A great morning after all.

    After they left, I stowed my sandwich and hoisted the sail. Very windy! Reefing conditions, probably, but since I'd have the wind behind me, I figured full sail would be OK for the 2 miles back to Hok Si La.

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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on the West Coast

    Back at Hok Si La to hang out, read, and wait to see what the winds would do...

    3.2.jpg

    If anything, the wind was getting stronger and stronger. Not a day to beat 10 miles down to the mouth of the Chippewa. Hmm... On the other hand, it was a perfect wind to head back to the Rush River, and eventually back to the car and trailer. So, instead of continuing down the Mississippi and calling my wife to deliver the car and trailer, I could just head home on my own.

    So, tying in a double reef, I set out again, downwind, toward my previous campsite at the Rush River delta. It was a heck of a ride!



    Super windy, but with two reefs tied in, pretty much in perfect control. A few miles down the lake, a foiling kiteboarder swept past, circled me with a "Woohoo!" and was gone.

    And me? I headed in to the lee of Long Point at Frontenac State Park--time for a break from the wind before something stupid happened.

    day 3.2.jpg
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on the West Coast

    Yep. A bit of shelter was just the ticket. I figured the wind would drop as evening came on, so I anchored behind the long sand spit and spent an hour exploring the trails through the woods. After a while it seemed sane to head out again--it was only a few more miles back to the Rush River.

    day 3.3.jpg

    Safely back at the Rush River with a long day, with not many miles sailed. It seemed my guess that the prevailing westerlies would sweep me effortlessly down the Mississippi to the Iowa border had been dead wrong.

    Still a fine way to spend time on the water, and away from COVID-19.

    3.3.jpg

    Caught up with some old friends via phone (my little flip phone had decent service here, so I clearly wasn't as remote as I felt), and ended the day with a little reading as the waves kept rolling up the beach.

    3.4.jpg
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on the West Coast

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    So, the third day of the trip started afloat--here's my current sleeping set-up (photo from a different trip):

    boat tent.jpg

    I broke down the tent and got my gear stowed for traveling on. It was still 10 miles to the mouth of the Chippewa at the southern tip of Lake Pepin, the next stage in the trip. Early morning sun, and a quiet start to the day in my little bay at Hok Si La.

    2.8.jpg

    Nice rescue! I'm sure the young man and his mom were grateful, and hopefully inspired to take swimming lessons.

    What's the tent? Any issues with rain leaking inside the gunwales, or coming into your sleeping area from untented parts of the boat?

    This is a great adventure: low budget, close to home, but finding surprisingly wild places in very civilized country.
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    was ignorant of the commonest
    accomplishments of youth.
    He could not even lie."

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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on the West Coast

    That double reefed downwind leg, looked like you were up on the plane there a bit. Either way an exhilarating ride.
    be modest, and be proud of it.

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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on the West Coast

    Quote Originally Posted by WX View Post
    That double reefed downwind leg, looked like you were up on the plane there a bit. Either way an exhilarating ride.
    I was sure paying close attention, I can tell you that! It was surely the fastest I've ever sailed this boat so far. I doubt an Alaska will plane, but I'm no expert on that. I do know that for much of that ride, there were rooster tails of white spray on both sides of the boat, reaching higher than my head, pretty continuously. And yet I didn't detect any tendency to turn and broach, and the helm was still lightly loaded.

    I gybed VERY cautiously when it was time to head in behind Long Point--no big deal (of course, if I hadn't been careful, it WOULD have been a big deal, I suspect!)

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  33. #33
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on the West Coast

    Well, somewhat inevitably, I suppose (I think I had already decided back at Lake City), once I was back at the Rush River, it seemed to make more sense to continue 6 miles "upstream" back to my car and trailer than it did to continue down the Mississippi for 100+ miles. Perhaps if the winds had shifted northwesterly I might have pressed on, but I woke (again) to southeast winds--still a dead beat down to the southern end of Lake Pepin.

    So, no. Embodying my usual lack of ambition, I took what the winds were giving me, and set out northward from camp on day four. I'll let this short (<2:00) video tell the story--the story of a pleasant morning sail, bit of a dead-end detour, and a stretch of upstream rowing back to the boat ramp.



    Four days away in the heart of the pandemic summer--not my usual 20-30 day Canadian trip, but well worth while. I came away thinking there were plenty of short-trip possibilities closer to home. (That's a hypothesis I intend to submit to rigorous empirical testing as soon as my boat comes out of winter storage on Saturday!)

    So, what short-term outings (1-3 nights or so) have people found for sailing/rowing in your own backyards? As much as I enjoy getting away--far away--for weeks at a time, I'm also starting to really come back to the notion of an "instant" escape to hidden waters close at home that no one ever notices until you're actually on them.

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  34. #34
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on the West Coast

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    ...not panicky, not dramatic--but then, real drownings almost never are.
    I had a similar experience that I think about often. The kid was probably around 13 and (as best I can recall) identified himself as a decent swimmer. We were in a group on the shore of a cold mountain lake, wading in to swim, when he started making breathy, abstract comments about not being able to feel the bottom under his feet. I told him I'd get him, he ventured that'd be fine, and I swam him the 15 feet back to shore. As he warmed up and calmed down he talked in a dazed, deeply impressed way about how quickly the water had overwhelmed him and how close he was to complete thrashing submerged panic.
    As in your story the significant part of this experience is the subtlety of the warning signs. Because I had just been through divemaster training I intervened early: he was flat on his back and supported before he made any loud or violent movements. It was all so quiet that I doubt many in the group even knew a "rescue" had happened. Even now I'm not sure I would have recognized the potential danger of the situation if he hadn't admitted afterward that he was terrified.

    All this is to say good on you, Tom! It's not every day that a cruise saves a life. Way to keep your head about you.

    And thanks for posting this story! It's great inspiration.

    James
    Last edited by pez_leon; 03-23-2021 at 11:46 AM.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska on the West Coast

    Quote Originally Posted by pez_leon View Post
    I had a similar experience that I think about often. The kid was probably around 13 and (as best I can recall) identified himself as a decent swimmer. We were in a group on the shore of a cold mountain lake, wading in to swim, when he started making breathy, abstract comments about not being able to feel the bottom under his feet. I told him I'd get him, he ventured that'd be fine, and I swam him the 15 feet back to shore. As he warmed up and calmed down he talked in a dazed, deeply impressed way about how quickly the water had overwhelmed him and how close he was to complete thrashing submerged panic.
    The significant part of this experience, like yours, is the subtly of the warning signs. Because I had just been through divemaster training I intervened early: he was flat on his back and supported before he made any loud or violent movements. It was all so quiet that I doubt many in the group even knew a "rescue" had happened. Even now I'm not sure I would have recognized the potential danger of the situation if he hadn't admitted afterward that he was terrified.

    All this is to say good on you, Tom! It's not every day that a cruise saves a life. Way to keep your head about you.

    And thanks for posting this story! It's great inspiration.

    James
    James,

    what you describe rings so true to me--I've been a lifeguard and trainer off and on since 1992. I've had to intervene perhaps half a dozen times, and it's always been the way you describe it--subtle, low-key, based on anticipation rather than on dramatic signs of drowning or trouble. I distinctly remember once "rescuing" a young girl before her parents were even aware she was struggling. Not at all what most people expect to see, I imagine.

    In this case, like I said, no big deal or big effort for me. But I was sure glad I was there! It could easily have brought more people into trouble if the non-swimming mom had tried to intervene on her own (as I suspect she would have done soon if I hadn't been there).

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

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