we tried out our new used canoe

yesterday. it’s a royalex something or other. it is a lot more sensitive than our expedition canoe. if i leaned a little, the canoe followed. i have to say, i NEED better seats. my heinie hurts. i think it’s gonna hurt a long long time. it was fun however being on the potomac. that’s big water for me. the fog was exciting in the am. couldn’t see the bridge at all. felt like we were on another planet. when the sun broke through, the bridge was only a few hundred yards downstream! big fish weren’t biting. we took a siesta right on the banks of the river. i was so tired, i didn’t even care about all the spiders crawling around the tree roots i was laying next to. of course my man took a lot of “flattering” pictures of me while i was asleep. no worries, i have a delete option on the camera. wouldn’t want any of those to be next years christmas card.

the 1984 Old Town Acadia is …
… is a tad sliprier , a tad faster and manuvers quicker with less paddle force … the seats have got to go though !!!

It carves a nice turn with some lean , good intial stability I’d have to say because it finds a quick stop in the lean well before any test of the secondary , but is tippier than the Expedition … I acually believe this 16’-10" canoe would solo well … the bow’s going to get a cush custom seat treatment and lowed some as well , so while I’m at it the bow seat is moving rearward some .

early a.m. fog was incredible , thick as pea soup … too bad it had to lift after the first hour .

Welcome to my home river
I hope you weren’t on my home stretch and didn’t contact me for a shuttle.

  • Big D

we paddled and fished upstream …
… from Brunswick all day D … the water was really skinny there that day , hope the rivers come up some for the autumn .

Now look at that.
Right there on my home water and you didn’t call me. I may have even done an apres paddle beer delivery right to the ramp, but you’ll never know now.

I haven’t been out much at all this year. The water was too high basically from mid-April right through early July. Then I got caught up with house repairs and my Alaska trip. I’m looking forward to Fall.

  • Big D

so we take off from Brunswick …

– Last Updated: Aug-05-09 12:56 PM EST –

..... it's about 7 a.m. , fogged in (deep and thick fog , cool !!) ... no plan , just go easy , fish some and keep generally paddling upstream for the day .

We keep on paddling upstream (she helps me over the skinny stuff if I ask her to , but mostly on these kinda trips I just paddle her around as much as possible , I like to do that) , down a little , upstream farther , down a little , upstream more and so on ... anchore here and there ... shore lunch and siesta mid-day , probably made it not quite two miles upstream all day , back down , loaded and catchin a bite at McD's before the storms roll in (expecting some boomers , and that they were !!) .

When (if) the water comes up a tad and the weather cools some , thinking about making the paddle upstream from Brunswick to the Shen and Harpers ??

Probably take all day to get there going upstream , because I won't be busting my arse any more than nessasary . I figure 6:30 a.m. put in , and make the Shen by 3 p.m. ... includes shore lunch ( maybe a 20 siesta) and some fishing / fussing around on the way up .

A few hours later (or maybe more depending on energy level left to play) , I reckon we can be loaded and catching a bite to eat at McD's up the road , then drive on home to kick the heels up .

Another opt. is just stay up the top end all night , and paddle back down next morning ... might be more fun and get more fishing time in that way ... I've never found the Brunswick stretch to be a hot spot anyway , always just so so , on the fishing part .

Two rapids of significance
Between Brunswick and Harper’s Ferry/Shenandoah confluence, there are two rapids of significance. One is a Class II with a sneak route on river left. The other is a Class III at most water levels, or slightly less if the water is low. No sneak route or decent portage. It would be arduous to paddle to Harper’s Ferry from Brunswick. One of my summer workouts, though I haven’t done it this summer, is to put in at Brunswick and paddle up to the rock garden about two miles above then float back down. It takes me a little over two hours of steady paddling in a 13’ kayak to get that two miles, and that’s the ‘slow’ water.

I’d recommend going the other way. Start in Harper’s Ferry and come downstream. Coordinate with me when you’re coming and I’ll pick you up in Brunswick and shuttle you back to Harper’s Ferry. My truck can handle a large canoe and up to eight recreational kayaks without having to get creative with the rope.

Have a bilge pump handy, some float bags in the front and rear if you’ve got them, and everything tied down well until after the second rapid. After that, it’s flatwater all the way to Brunswick.

There’s good fishing above and below both rapids. I do not recommend anchoring there for obvious reasons, but depending on the flow and your agility with the boat, there are good opportunities for eddying out and casting from the eddies. Tubes, jigs, and “bean” style crankbaits seem to do well in that area. All of it worked fast. I’m not going to give up any secret holes on that big river over the internet, but if you can read water and know smallie behavior, you’ll find fish. And I know from our previous conversations that you know how to do both of those things.

  • Big D

hey D , reading your discription of …

– Last Updated: Aug-07-09 7:02 PM EST –

..... my proposed route ... doesn't sound as if we could make it paddling our canoe going upstream .

There is no way I could take her downstream through anything near class 3 , or at least yet , and wouldn't be sure if I would attempt it with someone else (more experienced) in one of our canoes until I was there scouting it , so ...

I've looked it over from a birdseye view and see the rapid sections , but they didn't appear as class 2 and 3 ... but you know how that goes when looking from a computer .

I've paddle up from Brunswick into the stretch that has lots and lots of rocks from side to side ... getting near two miles upstream I think , I could see farther up from there and it looked about the same as what I had just paddled through , which wasn't a problem (except a couple skinny ledges that took some extra umph) .

I think I'll try to paddle upstream as far as I can , and if we run into unpassable rapids , then that's it , won't try for farther ... just have to see how it goes I guess , but that's the way of it when paddling upstream ya know ...

Appreciate the shuttle offer , but I won't be taking her down anything I can't get up for awhile yet , excepting a few things that are safe enough to go down with her but to difficult (strength wise) to paddle back up through .

I agree , about 1 mile per hour paddling upstream is conservetive estimate , that's about what I can do paddling by myself (both of us in the canoe) from the stern . If it starts to get to slow and to hard for me to make headway , she (in the bow) is well able and ready to kick it into the next gear .

I know you prefer going alone

– Last Updated: Aug-08-09 7:48 PM EST –

However, if you'd ever like me to join you on that section, I'd be happy to. You do have a long section of a rock garden, but above that you get into a few pretty big ledges.

Of course, I've got an outboard...

The Class III is a shoals wave train. If you can keep the bow to the front and you have flotation, you could probably make it. And if you can't, you just wash out down through and pick up the pieces at the bottom.

Always wear a PFD in that section, especially the rock garden section. The current is stronger than it looks, but if you've paddled against it you already know that.

- Big D

Gel seat-pads…you’ll like em’
The gel seat-pads are Mandatory if I suspect I’ll ever be forced to sit on a factory seat… So much better.