Photos of my first week paddling!

-- Last Updated: Mar-16-12 4:22 PM EST --

Everyone here has been so great over the last month with helping me pick a canoe, advice, etc. I thought I would share some photos of my first week in the new canoe. Temps have been near 80F all week, we've been on the water nearly every day. We started with just my wife and I, and have progressed to the whole family. We've been practicing hard, manuvering around obstacles, putting in as many miles on the water as time allows us.

The canoe, a Bell Eveningstar, has more than surpassed our expectations. It seems remarkably stable, yet very nimble, and actually pretty speedy when we get in sync.

We don't have very many photos yet, just concentrating on paddling, managing the kids, and keeping everyone right side up.

Here's the photo link. When the page opens, in the upper left hand, under Canoeing 2012, you can click "view as slideshow" for easier viewing.

nice. (cute kid!)
Nice shots. I especially like the 5th and 15th shots.

Is that limestone? Where did you paddle?

Harlan County Lake, Nebraska.
All our paddling is on or around Harlan County Lake, in south central Nebraska. It’s a pretty big lake, about 9 miles long and 2 miles wide. Lots of bays, coves, and backwaters add up to about 75 miles of shoreline. We’ve been trying to go to a different area every day.

In picture 15 the dark rock is Pierre Shale. It’s overlain by mostly windblown silt. The shale is marine in origin. This area used to be a large inland sea. Lots of cool marine fossils have been found here including a mososaur and several large sharks. Other fossils found around the lake are an American Lion, camels, Dire Wolf, mammoths, miocene horse, bears, and wolverine.

My wife and I were both geology majors, although neither of us work in that field. We spend a lot of time pursuing it still as a hobby. Those beaches you see in the photos can only be reached by flat bottom boat or canoe. Most are blocked off by steep cliffs that go right into the water. You can’t reach them from the top because no roads or trails lead there, it would be a long bushwack. The tops of the cliffs are too unstable anyway.

Now that we have the canoe, we’ll be doing lots more exploring!

Good to see
a young family enjoying the outdoors in a canoe.


– Last Updated: Mar-16-12 6:08 PM EST –

Well, according to recent discussions here, you guys are too young to be interested in canoeing. Thank goodness you are bucking the trend.

That looks like a relatively young reservoir, based on all the standing timber and the fresh look to the timber piled on shore. I have a very amateur interest in geology myself (but very little education in the subject), and could recognize what's likely a point bar (or mini-terrace of similar origin) in a shot of the river, but I'm puzzled by the exposed rock alongside the reservoir. I bet there must be an interesting story there, even if it's just the edge of the original river valley. Lesser amounts of that same wind-blow silt made it out here to Wisconsin, but here it's only four feet thick on average and has weathered to a lean clay. I've seen immense loess hills in western Iowa though, and the remarkable way that it erodes to a vertical face which is stable and more weather-resistant than the original slope.

I hope you are lucky enough that some of the interests shared by you and your wife rub off on the kids in some positive way. I lament the way more kids than ever have no exposure to the outdoors anymore and thus have no opportunity to discover outdoor interests of their own, so it's really good to see what you are doing.

Glad you like the boat too!

Gotta love a red canoe…
…they go faster than other colors :wink:

Paddle and carry on opposite sides, and even one lesson with an instructor will help a lot…at least it did for me and the wife.


God will Bless You…
…for keeping the kids in their PFD’s…

Pretty Canoe, the inside is so clean in those photos I just wanna throw mud an’ rocks in it, an’ mebbee scratch the bottom a little…:slight_smile:

S’all right, you’ll do that fer me before long…

Wait till the first camping trip from the canoe…when you figure out how much gear that boat will haul, you will wonder why you waited so long to try it.

and the KIDS…well, the future is our children.

Welcome to paddling

very cool, thanks
I just learned something new about Nebraska. Sounds like a great place to paddle!

echo that last paragraph

You’ve Got Great Times Coming…
…and I envy you.

Our kids grew up canoeing, hiking, camping, skiing and sailing with us; one now works in a national park, the other is a very keen hiker and camper, and wants to get into sea kayaking this summer. Best of times, best of memories. Keep paddling, camping, wearing those PFDs, and take lots and lots of pix - both generations will come to treasure them, believe me…

Number 6
Too precious for words.

Pretty canoe, beautiful family. Wishing for you many wonderful days on the water!

Well, Alright!
Enjoy it. You got to get over to the Neobrara when you get your “Sea legs” and some time in the boat.

Harlan County Geology

– Last Updated: Mar-17-12 1:15 AM EST –

The exposed promontories are in a state of constant erosion from waves, ice, and landslides. The rock (mostly shales and chalks) is all very soft, very deep here. We saw many chunks falling down to the water this week. I wouldn't want to stand near the top or bottom of any of these cliffs.

What you are seeing is the edge of the Republican River Valley, the bluffs originally overlooking the valley. The bluffs and hills were formed by receding waters from the Kansas-Nebraska Sea, and numerous faulting activities. 19 fault lines have been found along the south side. There may be more, as this area really has not been studied that much. What info I have is from observation, and from "The Field Guide to the Geology of Harlan County Lake" published by the University of Nebraska.

The reservoir was completed in 1952. It was built in response to the Republican River Flood of 1935. 110 people killed, 20,000 head of cattle dead, 275,000 acres of cropland damaged, 800 miles of highway and 170 miles of railroad damaged, 600 bridges damaged or destroyed. It was big water. The highest streamflow ever recorded in Nebraska, 280,000 cfs. Pretty interesting history.

I know the reservoir went nearly dry during a 10 year drought that ended about 5 years ago. It receded back nearly to the original river channel. I think most of the timber is due to that. It is at full pool now and has been for the last couple of years, although we are on the drought watch list. Who knows what the future may bring.

I really would love to get some lessons, but I think this may be the only canoe for about a 4 hour drive in any direction.

Thanks everyone!
Thanks for the kind comments and helpful advice. Hope I have the opportunity to paddle with some of you in the future!

Great pics
Thanks for the pics.

Looks like You are off to a great start at canoing.

Happy paddling!

I was prepping for a
different reaction than I got by looking at your pix… Pleasantly surprised; it looks like you got a canoe for all the right reasons. Good family, good territory, it’s what I term “Huck Finn” time. Makes me want to go paddle some flatwater and just explore…

nothing better with 80deg weather than
getting out to do some paddling with the family. Nice pics.

It’s great to see a family out in a canoe. That’s how we started. It was one of the best decisions we ever made for our family. I hope you enjoy many wonderful outings together.

very nice… Great to see people doing stuff when their kids. Photo 17 bugged me tho. I would suggest to keep the little guy’s life jacket on at all times near the water. Better safe that sorry.