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A Little Whitewater

I am so far behind in posting. Sorry buckaroos! I coulda sworn I posted about a whitewater trip in April, and a little solo paddling in Inwood last month.

Most recently, for Memorial Day weekend here in the United States, some friends organized a base-camping and whitewater trip on the Lehigh River, near Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania.

My friend LB stayed in my apartment a few days, visiting some friends before we all met up for some easy paddling on the Lehigh River. We ran Glen Onoko down to Dunbars, Saturday and Sunday. It was great to see some folks I’ve not seen since last summer, or at least since a winter get-together we had.

Camp at Lehigh
Our Camp.

On our first day, as we were getting on, I realized Mister Cowgirl and I were the only kayakers: we had five people in solo whitewater canoes. They’re always majestic to see in action, sitting higher in silhouette on the water. We had bursts of rain with interludes of clouds and sometimes a bit of sun, moreso as the day went on. Fortunately, this meant that other than some raft guiding operations, we had the river to ourselves.

At camp, I played with a toy I bought last year: a Biolite wood-burning camp stove, which can generate electricity as well as heat for cooking. While it took a while to get the hang of kindling+fuel, once going, its electric motor would kick in and circulate air to make for a mesmerizing vortex of fire. I added 20% charge to my phone, too, while also boiling water for tea. While it’s neat, it’s a bit bulky for alpine or kayak camping, but works well as something to have in a car camping kit.

Biolite Stove in Action
Biolite Stove.

The second day, we ran the same stretch again, but it was sunny, clear, and quite a bit warmer. We took our time this time and had to manage our pacing with respect to other groups, as well as the rafts. In general, we took our time more, caught more eddies and played what few features were worthwhile.

We also had a different lineup, with two people heading home early while two more took their place. Now we were three kayaks and four canoes.

I have to say that as easy as this was, it was kinda what I needed after tackling (and getting tackled by) a two-barrel release on the Mongaup last month. That was meant to be a single-barrel, but owing to rain that week it was upped to two, and I decided to send it anyway. I had two swims and the second one was very rough. Somewhere between overconfidence and underconfidence, there’s a sweet spot I’m aiming for.

At the end of the day, we broke camp and made tracks for home; unfortunately, neither Mister Cowgirl nor our friend EY had Memorial Day off, so we headed home. We found a good place for tacos though, just a few minutes off I-80 on the way home.

Zach's Taco Shop, Tannersville, PA
Post-Paddle Tacos.

They were so good! And don’t be too worried about their proximity to a custom deer-processing center.

Published in Kayaking Whitewater


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