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  #1  
Old 08-19-2010, 10:17 AM
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Location: Visalia, CA
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Well we finally got our canoe...

We finally have a canoe! I've wanted one for ages, and she has as well. It took us quite a while to decide what to get, and of course no small amount of time to save up for it, and even once we ordered it, it took a long time to actually get it into our hands, but now it's here and we're loving it. With all the other things we've got going on right now, we haven't had the time to take it out to any of the mountain lakes or coastal bays, but thanks to a fairly wet year, there is enough water in the river that we've still been able to get our feet wet (pun intended).

We've gone out twice to our local river and exceeded our expectations each time. The first time we put in just above one dam and paddled upstream and around an island for a round trip of ~2.25 miles, and the second time we put in at the same place but went further, up to the next dam, for a round trip of ~3.4 miles. Using GPS and monitoring our speed while drifiting, it seems that the river has just about a 2 mph current. It's a workout going against it, but a nice free ride coming back. We sure are looking forward to having the time to venture farther.


Me resting in the stern, about a mile upstream from where we started. We're at the foot of a small island, with two narrow channels to either side. The current picks up around the island, and there's less room to manuever, so we wanted to rest and then hit it hard.


This is about where we turned back, obviously there's no way we could paddle over the dam, and though we could have portaged around it, we figured we'd save that stretch for another day.

MV

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  #2  
Old 08-19-2010, 10:20 AM
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Location: Visalia, CA
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update

We're still loving the canoe. We've been out more weekends than we've missed, and even a few weeknights. We opted for a "sunset cruise" one night last month, only to find our plans largely thwarted by nature. I suppose that a bit of forethought might have helped, but there's just no getting around the fact that our local river runs from east to west, so if we put in at our normal spot and paddle upriver (so the trip back is easier than the trip there), well, that means we're facing east, and not in much of a position to watch the sunset. And then when we do turn around to come home, well, not a very good view of the moonrise over the Sierras. But we still had a great time. Pictures didn't really come out well, but that's ok... Next time.

We have managed to get to Shaver Lake:



Where we enjoyed mountain scenery and cooler summertime temps.

My parents stumbled upon us along our local river one day, so we now have some shots of us underway:





Lately we've been expolring a portion of the Kings River, near Lemoore. Noteably different than the mountain portions of the river, here the river is lazy and wide. Thanks to a wet year, it's still very full and there are several channels flowing, and islands and marshes all around.



There are plenty of good areas to explore, both on the water and on land, but in the trees... Well... There are spiders:



And lots of them. We didn't get any real good pictures of them, but some of the areas were so think with them that in a say, 5'x5' gap in the tree branhes, there would be 15-20 spiders. I'm not really afraid of spiders, but that's a little too much for me. The females would have bodies about as big around as a nickel, or maybe a quarter. The males were smaller bodied, but with a similar legspan. We opted not to disturb them.

We still have plans for more trips, if all goes well we'll be watching the Perseids from a mountain lake soon. Enjoy the pics, and be sure to click them, as (if I did everything right) some of them should be links.

MV
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  #3  
Old 08-19-2010, 10:52 AM
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Nice boat. What model is it? You need to photoshop the picture for 7/5 so you're both not paddling on the same side
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  #4  
Old 08-19-2010, 03:57 PM
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The canoe is a Wenonah Spirit II. It's 17' long, and paddles and rides great. Easy to paddle, and stable as can be. Plenty of room for us and our gear. No flex in the waves... We love it.

As for the paddling on one side, well, if we didn't do that when going across the river, we'd end up going down river instead!

MV
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  #5  
Old 08-19-2010, 04:12 PM
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I don't think he's that serious about the "hut" Kerry.

Nice boat, nicer that it's a Wenonah!
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  #6  
Old 08-19-2010, 05:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BAVBMW View Post
As for the paddling on one side, well, if we didn't do that when going across the river, we'd end up going down river instead!

MV
There are ways. . . . .

Is is glass or Royalex?
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  #7  
Old 08-19-2010, 06:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BAVBMW View Post
We have managed to get to Shaver Lake:



Where we enjoyed mountain scenery and cooler summertime temps.
Excellent.

My grandfather built a cabin between Shaver Lake and the town of Big Creek, and my granparents retired and moved there full-time when I was 5 years old. I spent every summer vacation up there until I was about 17 years old, and fished in Shaver Lake every summer. I caught a lot of rainbow trout that my grandmother pan fried for us for dinner.

I am taking the wife and kids up there in two weeks for a vacation.

I know the Big Creek / Shaver Lake / Huntington Lake area like the back of my hand, and it always feels like home.
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  #8  
Old 08-19-2010, 11:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kerry View Post
There are ways. . . . .

Is is glass or Royalex?
Glass. They call it Tuff-weave, but basically fiberglass. We were originally thinking Royalex, but in the end decided against it. It was heavier, and while better for heavy-duty whitewater, more than we needed for our purposes. The Kevlar offers even more of a weight savings, but not much in the way of color choices. We could have gone lighter weight in construction style even with the Tuff-weave, but liked the additional strength. Someday perhaps we'll opt for an ultralight weight canoe for different trips and/or reasons, but this one seemed to be the best all-around choice we could find. Save of course for other manufacturer's similar choices. There are several others we could have easily gone with, and likely been just as happy, but we've got no regrets.

Suginami, if you're familiar with the area, there's a good chance you've made it to the top of Bald Mtn... From which you can see Shaver nicely:



Seeing it for the Fourth of July fireworks over the lake is even nicer:





We're growing to like the area more and more. We're from Visalia, so it's a bit more northerly than the closest of the Sierras, but I think it's worth it. Our local mountains are mostly National Park, which I'm not too fond of, I prefer the National Forests. Dinkey Creek is one of our favorite spots. The store appears to be for sale, and that is certainly a tempting idea...

MV
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  #9  
Old 08-19-2010, 11:45 PM
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I've been to the Wenonah factory and watched them make their boats. Very high quality work. I've got an 18' Wenonah Jensen in foam core fiberglass. 54lbs.
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  #10  
Old 08-20-2010, 12:25 AM
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I'm going to have to ask, since a quick glance at their website didn't provide an answer... What's a "Jensen"? I'm going to guess a tandem, what sort of dimensions, other than length?

Our Spirit II (at 17'), in Tuf-weave Flex-core, listed as 63 pounds in the 2010 catalog. I notice now that the same model in the 2011 catalog weighs in at 58 pounds... Great, now I have to figure out how to weigh the canoe. Or maybe I"ll just call it 60 pounds. I also notice a new construction material, "Barracuda". I don't know what that is yet. It seems to weigh less than the Kevlar Flex-core but more than the Kevlar Ultralight, which it costs the same as. Hmmm...

We did opt for web seats over the molded plastic buckets that were standard. We also went with the black trim. Now we're shopping for good gear to pack into the canoe, and some sort of strap or net to keep it there should something go wrong! So far we're happy with our bowbag and thwart bags from Cabelas for small items, and we picked up some drysacks for the larger stuff. Eventually we'll get a system worked out, but we're not letting the little things keep us from getting out there.

The question now is "Where to next?"

MV
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  #11  
Old 08-20-2010, 01:26 AM
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If you want to weigh it, just balance it on a set of bath room scales.
Nice looking boat.
I learned a long time ago, best do down stream trips on hot days. If you want speed, get yourself some kayak double ended paddles. Thats what we use.
"Where to next ?" ~ try an over night trip or longer. We have done a few up to 10 days.
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  #12  
Old 08-20-2010, 02:52 AM
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Layback, I have but one bathroom scale. And one food scale with nowhere near the capacity for this task. I do however know of several truck scales about the area I could likely use. I'll have to make that a task for an upcoming weekend.

Meanwhile, you might want to check out my other thread"...and we canoed the Dusy-Ershim for the tale of last weekend's trip, our first overnighter.

MV
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  #13  
Old 08-20-2010, 07:09 AM
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The Gel Coat adds a lot of variability to the weight. I have a Wenonah Champlain in Tuf Weave too. Big wide semi truck of a boat at 18.5 ft but good if you want to carry a cooler on long trips.

You might as well go ahead and get the skid plate installed now.

And don't let them steer you to the dark side (kayaks)
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  #14  
Old 08-20-2010, 08:40 AM
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Gene Jensen was a marathon canoeist, probably the best the US has ever seen. He designed a lot of fast canoes for Wenonah. I think most of their early designs were Jensens. Some had his name on the design (17' Jensen, 18' Jensen) others were designed by him but had other names like the Whitewater I, II, X. He came up with the idea of bent shaft paddles. All of his designs were very fast but didn't turn worth a damn. I also have one of his Whitewater III boats, built by Mohawk. It's similar to Wenonah's Whitewater X but without as much flare in the center. It's a great tripping boat, probably my favorite.

Tie downs for gear are never really simple. In a glass boat, I think some kind of loops or d rings glassed to the bottom are the best choice. In my Whitewater III, I took nylon webbing, frayed out the ends and used epoxy to glass them to the bottom of the canoe. In the loop, I had the female end of a fastex buckle so I can either clip gear directly to the fastex now tightly affixed to the bottom of the canoe, or I can use straps which go over the gear and clip into the fastex. The nylon webbing/fastex buckle is the lightest system I've seen.
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  #15  
Old 08-20-2010, 11:39 AM
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I have an old Alumacraft canoe we use whenever we can. It is at least 30 years old and is dented, patched and otherwise weathered, but it provides a great deal of enjoyment. Nothing like the silent scooting across the water provided by a canoe. every outing is an adventure because of the personal involvement. Wonderful pictures, BTW....

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