Wednesday, June 18, 2014

I'll be a guest blogger at Wanderlust Tremblant, August 21-24, 2014

The power of the pose. You can strike a powerful yoga pose, or notice it in something else.

It can create an opening. It opens a door. You'll have to step through that door to see what's next.

This morning, I stepped outside 10 minutes before my yoga practice to have a look at the day and what it might bring.

Before we step into a new space we normally look down to see what we might be stepping onto.

I saw a toad sitting upright, enjoying a warm, dry spot on the stone patio. He was facing North.
When I came back with my camera minutes later to capture his focused, meditative sitting pose, he stood up on all fours and held this fierce, confident pose for a long time.
It reminded me of several yoga poses: Table top, Plank, and Up Dog.

Then I realized it was his Warrier pose. I was in his space.

I've never seen a toad do this before. Usually they just hop away or sit still when they realize you've spotted them.

After my own morning yoga practice, I turned on a favourite TV channel and saw a random quote flash across the television screen:

Today is your day. Your mountain is waiting. So get on your way. Quote by Dr. Seuss.

Today, it seems I'm being sent some strong reminders not to forget to get online and schedule the classes and events I want to attend at this year's Wanderlust Tremblant yoga festival than runs from August 21-24.

For those of you that don't know the mountain or the region, Mont Tremblant Resort (known as Tremblant) is a beautiful, world-class, year-round resort in the Laurentian mountains of Quebec, Canada. It's about 80 miles northwest of Montreal. Tremblant is best known as a fantastic ski and snowboard destination, but also has a large lake (Lake Tremblant), excellent for water sports, private resort beaches, and several outstanding golf courses. Everyone loves the brightly-colored European-style resort village where pedestrians rule, shops, pubs, restos and family activities abound, and vehicles live and travel with care on the outskirts where they belong!
The name of the mountain, Mont Tremblant, came from the local Algonquin natives, who called it the "trembling mountain". The summit is some 875 metres (2,871 feet) high, making it one of the tallest peaks in the Laurentian mountains. It's fantastic for skiing in the winter, and trekking the mountain trails along waterfalls in the summer.

Last year I missed Wanderlust Tremblant because I waited until the last minute and all the classes were sold out.

But this year, I'm happy to say that I'll be one of the guest bloggers at Wanderlust Tremblant. I'll be attending the event every day and writing a daily story.

The event organizers want us to step out of our comfort zones and be creative.

I'll provide a link on my BaffinPaddler blog to my articles on the Wanderlust website if you'd like to follow along. I've never participated in a Wanderlust event before, so it will be a new experience for me to jump in head first and share it with you.

The Wanderlust motto is Find Your True North.

Why did the toad's powerful standing pose and Dr. Seuss's quote remind me to get off the fence today?

Who knows. But I got the message! Time to schedule some classes!

If you'd like to find out more about Wanderlust Tremblant, and book your classes sooner than later, here's the link. It's an experience, it's a festival, it's a journey, it's a celebration, it's yoga and more . . .

Wanderlust Tremblant, August 21-24, 2014

Happy trails!
The BaffinPaddler

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

When the wind is up - kayak surfing on Lower Beverley Lake

Here's a little kayak bite from me to contribute to the love of paddling. It's National Paddling Week in Canada from June 6-15 so it makes me think, "Do something with one of your kayaks!"

If you can't find any organized paddling events in your area, you can create your own paddling event with the wind. It's often abundant and free!

That's what we did at Lower Beverley Lake, from the Village of Delta, Ontario (Canada) when we had a forecast with a 25 km/h north wind blowing us south across the lake towards Lyndhurst Creek.

But, it was the 40 km/h wind gusts blowing behind us that gave us the surfing power.

These conditions are my maximum for my smaller girl size, strength, and skills.

It's a lot of fun to get a feel for kayak surfing on lakes in moderate conditions if you've got good surf sea kayaks, some decent paddling skills, and the proper gear. If you don't know what stern rudder is yet. . . and have no rescue or rolling skills, it's not a good idea to give this a try.

If you don't have access to ocean waves and tides to surf on, and you're looking for a fun lake to kayak surf on, Lower Beverley Lake is a good candidate when motor boat traffic is low and the wind is up.

Lower Beverley Lake is an an awesome lake for day tripping with kayaks, wind surfing, boating, and fishing, with 28 kilometers (17 miles) of diverse shoreline adorned with granite rock formations, forest, marshland, small sandy beaches, and some cottage development.

Lower Beverley Lake has open water, large and small bays to hide in on windy days, 14 islands to skirt around, and several adjoining creeks that are interesting to explore (Delta, Lyndhurst, and Morton).

It’s a fairly deep lake with an average depth of 9.1 meters (30 feet), the deepest parts are 28.7 meters (94 feet).

There are some limestone shoals to watch out for. Most are marked with small white rock buoys with reflectors and lights.

You can launch from a public boat launch on Delta Creek.
The public boat launch is only a few paddle strokes from the beautiful Old Stone Mill, in Delta, Ontario. Although, if you see the Mill from the water, turn around and paddle the other direction out to Lower Beverley Lake. You can visit and tour the inner workings of the historic grist mill, built in 1810, but not by kayak. The entrance is at the front at 46 King Street (County Rd. 42). Don't get too close to it by kayak. The Mill has a working water wheel.
Delta Creek is short, sweet, and narrow with a bit of current and lots of cottages and campers surrounding it. But the giant willow trees along the route make it worthwhile for a short visit.
Now, how long did it take us to cross Lower Beverley Lake from Delta Creek to the opening of Lyndhurst Creek with a big push of wind? Only 30 minutes.

The orange boathouse on the southeast shore of Lower Beverley Lake in Halladay Bay sits at the opening of Lyndhurst Creek. It was our marker for finding the opening of the creek from the lake with no GPS.
You can paddle down Lyndhurst Creek from Lower Beverley Lake to Lyndhurst (or vice-versa). We were much more protected from the wind once we entered the creek, and the kayak surfing was over. Lyndhurst Creek is about 4 km (3 miles) long from Lower Beverley Lake to the public boat launch at Lyndhurst. The total distance one way from Delta to Lyndhurst is about 7.5 km.

At Lyndhurst there's a public boat launch with free parking, a waterfront gazebo/picnic shelter, a few picnic tables, and a public restroom.
You can't paddle past this point, there's a small dam. But, you can enjoy the views of the historic Old Stone Bridge, the oldest bridge in Ontario, built from 1856-57.  Don't get too close, the wind and the current may push you towards it.

Lyndhurst Creek is an outlet of Lower Beverley Lake. The creek is wide enough, the current slow moving, and the water fairly deep that it feels more like a little river (with no rapids) than a creek. The shorelines have marshland and some cottages along the way, and is populated with snapping turtles if you like to catch them sunning on fallen logs.
I know what you're thinking, "Oh, yeah. It was a fun ride down in the wind, but how was the ride back to Delta!" 

On windy days, and depending on the direction of the wind and where you launch from, you may want to shuttle a car between Lyndhurst and Delta, or earn your paddling points by paddling back against the wind, curse the gusts - they are wicked, and duck into a bay or hide behind an island when they hit and wait for a break. Then paddle like mad back to your cabin or take out before another wind gust hits. This will test your best paddling hat!. Luckily mine had a neck strap. I wore my paddling hat around my neck on the way back.

On calm days with little wind, this is an enjoyable paddle without the kicks! Bring friends. This makes a great day paddle for groups.
Love your kayak . . . or keep shopping!

Happy and safe paddle trails.
The BaffinPaddler

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Good News - More campsites you can reserve in the 1000 Islands

For you kayak campers out there, here's an update on some good news in the 1000 Islands National Park (along the St. Lawrence River, Ontario, Canada).

Remember the old days when you couldn't reserve any campsites on the islands and had to paddle out to a few, cross your fingers, and hope for the best? Times are not only changing for us, but improving.

The number of campsites that can be reserved in the 1000 Islands National Park of Canada has increased to 36.

You can now reserve a campsite on Beau Rivage, Camelot, Cedar, Milton, McDonald, Gordon, Georgina, East Grenadier, Central Grenadier, Aubrey and Mulcaster Islands, with the remaining 25 campsites still available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

oTENTik accommodations on McDonald Island, Gordon Island and Mallorytown Landing (on the mainland) are also reservable, so you don't need to pack a tent!
Now, let's wish for even more great news that generators will not be allowed on any camping islands! And, that more and more motorized craft will rely on solar power. Call me greedy, or call me hopeful. But I know park staff are working on phasing out generator use on all islands bit-by-bit.

I'll be posting more kayak bites during Canada's National Paddling Week, which runs from June 6-15, 2014.

Get out there and paddle or join in some paddling festivities in your area and enjoy!

Happy paddles and safe trails.
The BaffinPaddler

Credits: Thanks to Parks Canada for providing me with information and updates about the 1000 Islands National Park.

Monday, June 2, 2014

I love it when my sea kayak takes me to the beach - Rivière Rouge

It wasn't my idea. The wind and the current of the Rivière Rouge (Red River) were pushing us towards this long, white, soft, sandy beach, so I agreed with my kayak, "Hey, let's stop here." Why resist. There are so many sandy beaches along the shores of the Rivière Rouge, I have trouble choosing which one to visit. 

My kayak picked this one. 
Seems my kayak not only has good timing, but also good taste. It picked the nicest stretch of beach along our route that day.

A few minutes after landing on the beach, a big wind gust picked up and we had a sudden 5-minute sandstorm. Say what! 

Then the wind fell quiet again. Thank you kayak. How did you know? After the surprising wind gust, we continued on our way with a little extra grit in our teeth.

We were paddling against the current, launching from La Conception, Quebec heading upriver (NW-N) towards Labelle (about 15 minutes north of Tremblant, Quebec).

There's about 20 kilometers (12 miles) of winding, twisting river with current, and no rapids along this section. Paddling some distance against the current is a great way to get in shape and test your power strokes and torso rotation.

If you want to add more distance to your paddle route, you can include the stretch of Rivière Rouge from Brébeuf further south downriver.

If you don't want to paddle against the current, you can shuttle a car at a pick-up point downriver, and launch from upriver and go longer distances with the flow. It's fun and much easier.

You can also rent basic rec kayaks or canoes from a local outfitter with a shuttle service, like Kayak Cafe in Labelle, Quebec, and they'll pick you up at several points downriver.   

With big, lightweight, fibreglass paddle spoons and two high-performance sea kayaks and relaxed power strokes, we didn't have any trouble paddling against the current the first day of June with a moderate to light wind, and a few strong, sudden gusts. 

All the people paddling downriver from Labelle in canoes and sit-on-tops seemed to look at us in surprise, as if to say, ''Aren't you going the wrong way?" 

Nope. This is good training. And, we're wearing PFDs!

You don't need a kayak compass to navigate this stretch of river. There aren't any islands or big bays to confuse you, just farmland, cottages, trees, beaches, and mountain views. You can't get lost. 

But, I find it more interesting to always know the direction I'm going, and where the wind is actually blowing. The weather report doesn't always get it right. 

My kayak compass showed the true twisting and turning of the Rivière Rouge. We went NW, N, NE, SW, S, SE, E, and W. The compass readings are not necessarily in that order, I just remember, we did them all. Upriver or downriver, you'll have views in all directions. On windy days, you can test your skills and paddle strokes with headwinds, tailwinds, and crosswinds. Enjoy! You may visit a few extra beaches. 

After 2 hours of paddling against the current came the reward. Turning around and going with the current! But the wind had other ideas! It decided to make us work a little. No free rides!

The Rivière Rouge is a beautiful, clear river to paddle, with a slight red tinge from the sandy, shallow bottom. The bottom is mostly sandy - not rocky, and very shallow in many spots along the way. In the summer months, you may need to get out and carry or drag your kayak a bit. Watch out for fallen trees and the odd deadhead. 

The Rivière Rouge always inspires me to do a little impromptu yoga in the outdoors.
Just be extra careful paddling or swimming in this river in the spring (the water is cold) or after lots of heavy rainfall. The current, or an occasional cross current can surprise you. You can't swim against the current. You can swim or float with the current or swim perpendicular to the shore to get out of the main current and seek shallow footing where you see beaches. 

And, in the true spirit of a good kayaker who loves the water, I did pick up some Budweiser along the way! Although, it was not mine . . . 
Happy paddle trails!
The BaffinPaddler