Montag, 8. Oktober 2012

New Zealand Trip 2012

 Hello to the blog!

This year I had the pleasure to spend 2 1/2 months in beautiful New Zealand.

If you are to lazy to read my post, here is the video of the trip:

After spending some time at the famous Kaituna, i worked my days in the Bliss Stick factory to get my hands on the new Tuna. After some good times on the north island, meeting old friends in Okere Falls and running laps on the Kaituna, i decided to go down to the famous West Coast of the South Island.

In Hokitika I soon found myself with a lot of paddlers, exploring some amazing white water and doing my frist Heli Trips (also spending a not so comfortable night in the wet bushes of the coast after getting lost in the bush

a nice slide on the Waitaha, a really nice 1 day Heli-Run on the Coast (2 day in our case, after spending 19 hours and the night in the jungle)

After running some really good stuff, doing a lot of hiking and trying to get around all those scary syphons, we travelled around the South Island all the way down to Queenstown.

the famous 10m Park and Huck Maruia Falls

  Although the water levels were a little to low for some of the good creeks, we could still run famous rapids like Nevis Bluff on the Kawarau River.

On the left is the lower part of Nevis Bluff, awesome rapid - good big water boating :)

the main rapid on Nevis Bluff, looks big from the top, but its nothing compared to when you are down there

Here is another classic on the West Coast. The upper Kakapotahi. Lots of syphons as always ... so you got to make sure you stay on the line.

 After getting back to the West Coast, I soon went up to the North Island to pick up and friend from Austria. We spent some time travelling the North Island, and I also tried my first surfing sessions.

My trip ended where it started, doing some laps on the Kaituna and enjoying the easy life in Okere Falls.
All in all, I had a great time and got to know a lot of nice people. Hopefully be back sometime soon in the next years.
But first, Peru and Chile to come in 2 weeks :)

See you on the river


Donnerstag, 4. Oktober 2012

The South fork of The Salmon River

Dropping into the wilderness of the South Fork. Photo Paula Volkmer
I came to the States in the middle of August to attend a friend’s wedding and with me were Erika Sprunck and Paula Volkmer. After a weekend of parties it was time to hit the river. Idaho and Oregon has great rivers but due to high temperatures and no rain in a long time, most of the rivers in the area were running really low. What should we do? The local paddlers in Banks, Idaho, strongly recommended us to do the three-day wilderness run on the South Fork of the Salmon River even though the river would be low.

The South Fork!
All of us had been on multi day trips before, but as we started sorting out the logistics, we realized that none of us had been responsible for planning a multi day before. And, last but not least, none of us had ever been on a multi day trip without any guys. How embarrassing! It was time to step it up and take some responsibility ourselves.  

Camp life
The South Fork of the Salmon River is a classic Idaho mountain river with pool and drop rapids that runs through a remote wilderness canyon where only a few scattered ranches are the only evidence of human presence. 

Beach camp
We put in at the Secesh River and decided to camp on the first big sand beach. A couple of rangers stopped by our campsite in the morning, highly surprised to see three female paddlers by them self in the wilderness. They had just seen a black bear upstream of the camp and advised us to hang up all the food in a tree.

Sleeping beauties
Due to the low water level the paddling was pretty mellow with a few easy grade IV rapids in between the grade III. We scouted a few times, but that was mostly to make sure that the water was going around the rocks and not just under them. We were expecting to arrive at the confluence with the Main Salmon at the end of the second day, but after a long day in the burning sun, we realized that we were not going to make it. At the third day on the river we finally reached the confluence after 7 hours of paddling. Dinner that night was a random mix of the last food we found in our dry bags, but after a long day on the water, everything tastes good!

Photo Paula Volkmer

On the fourth day we ran out of iodine and most of the food. I didn’t have any clean water left and wasn’t exactly looking forward to 6-7 hours of flat water paddling in the burning sun. After a few kilometres of paddling on the main Salmon, we overtook a group of rafts. It didn’t take us long to charm the rafters and they gave away lots of clean water and booze. As if the European girls hadn’t been lucky enough, suddenly a speedboat appeared around the river bend and we raised our hands to flag it down. The speedboat stopped, picked us up and gave us a memorable ride all the way to take out. God bless America!

Even if the paddling itself wasn’t that challenging, I learned a lot from this trip. Reading maps, planning routes, organising logistics and shuttles, leading on the river, setting safety and taking important decisions are tasks that from my experience, a lot of guys like to dominate. I’m not saying that female paddlers are not able to perform these tasks, but paddling in a strong group of guys, it can sometimes be hard to front your opinions and take decisions. Most likely, there will be more experienced guys on the river with you, and in general, they like to lead, not to be leaded. All of us agreed on that the trip had been an outstanding experience and that we would like to do more expedition paddling with female kayakers because it made us understand that we can perform all the tasks and take all those important decisions our self.

Hitching a free ride with the speed boat!

On the way back to civilization get some food!

- Nini 

Montag, 1. Oktober 2012

Kontraste im Osten Kanadas

Kanada ist bestimmt eines der faszinierendsten Reiseländer der Erde. Eine Mischung aus rauher Natur, überraschenden Landschaften und urbanen Ballungsräumen machen den Osten Kanadas so interessant.

Kajakfahrer finden das ganze Jahr über die unterschiedlichsten Möglichkeiten Flussläufe, Seen und Küstenstreifen zu erkunden. Vor allem aber für seine kleinen und großen stehenden Flusswellen sind die beiden Staaten Quebec und Ontario besonders bekannt.

In Montreal treffen Europa und Amerika aufeinander. Im Schatten der typisch nordamerikanischen Skyline aus Glas findet man zahlreiche Kirchen und Denkmäler verschiedener europäischer Stilrichtungen. Auch der Ruf der Lachine Rapids ist bis über den Atlantik geeilt, allein der St. Lorenz Strom bietet eher amerikanische Dimensionen.

Ottawa City dagegen ist zwar die Hauptstadt Kanadas, bietet aber kaum Möglichkeiten zum Kajakfahren.
Dafür viktorianische Regierungsgebäude – wie im guten alten Europa eben.

Am Ottawa River treffen dann endlich auch beim Kajakfahren amerikanische Dimensionen mit europäischen Qualitäten Aufeinander. Drop&Pool mit großen Rapids, großartige Playspots mit Eddy service. Entspanntes Bootfahren auf hohem Niveau. Oder wie die Amerikaner sagen: the Ottawa river is sick for play.

Der Algonquin Provincial Park zählt für viele als die Quintessenz der Kanadischen Landschaft. Im ältesten und größten Provinzparks Ontarios besteht durchaus die Möglichkeit tagelang keine Menschenseele zu treffen. Die Tierwelt ist im Algonquin Park ebenso vielfältig wie die Pflanzenwelt. Bieber, Elche und Waschbären sind hier genauso zu Hause wie Wölfe und Schwarzbären. Nicht nur in diesem Teil Kandas heißt es also nach dem Kochen Klamotten wechseln und nachts die Vorräte auf die Bäume hängen. Im Zelt hört man dann bei jedem Knacken einen Bären kommen, da wird die Nacht im Zelt schnell zum Abenteuer. Dennoch zieht einem die Entspanntheit der Kanadischen Einsamkeit schnell in Ihren Bann.
Das ist nicht wie zu Hause in Europa – und deswegen waren wir dort.