Monday, May 28, 2012

Drag Racing Spring Creek

It's been almost two years since I had Firefly in the water. After a hard week (plus one easy but LOUD night) I finally decided enough was enough and put Firefly back in the water.

Approximately 4" of water.

The flow rate was only 59 cfs but I was hoping that was enough to paddle in. It wasn't, except in very rare occasions. Basically, I'd have to rate this as my WORTST ADVENTURE EVER! I'm currently sunburned, my back is a mess, and my legs keep cramping up. Towing my kayak through 11 miles of sand and mud really did a number on me. Most of the time I was in a panic because I had to get to the takeout at Jesse H. Jones before 4:30pm otherwise I'd have to carry Firefly a half-mile down an asphalt trail to get her to the parking lot. Running through quicksand trying to beat the clock while dragging a boat is not fun. Things seemed okay at the launch point at Riley-Fuzzel road. SpringCreek1 Misseswether and the Wethergirls dropped me off and hung out a bit while I secured everything. Misseswether even came down to the water's edge...while wearing her usual high heels! There's an underwater "gully" here that was misleadingly easy to paddle, so it seemed like it'd be a good adventure. Less than 50 yards downstream I hit the first sandbar that I had to drag the kayak over. After that it was paddle one minute, drag three minutes, repeat for 11 miles. A few shots from times I could paddle: SpringCreek2 SpringCreek3 SpringCreek4 Normally it's only an hour's paddle from Riley-Fuzzel to the takeout at Pundt park, but it took me almost two hours of slogging to get to this point. I almost called the girls to come get me but I kept hoping it'd get better. I'm pretty dumb that way. PundtParkLaunch One cool thing that did occur was finding some dodder plant (Cuscuta californica). This parasitic vines is actually edible and it's high beta-carotene content gives it an orange color and makes it taste like carrots. Dodder I also saw this dragon, which was cool. SpringCreekDragon As far as wildlife goes, I found one snapping turtle, assorted other red-ear slider turtles, a bunch of alligator gar, plenty of tadpoles...and had to beat away one water moccasin with my paddle. That freaked me out. It kept coming at the kayak! Eventually I made it to the intersection of Cypress Creek and Spring Creek. For years a huge, white tree trunk stood sentinel at this point. I was afraid hurricane Ike had brought it down like that storm had so many other trees along Spring Creek. I was right, it was gone. This made me sad. No sentinel. SpringCreekCypressCreek Once Cypress creek joins Spring creek the water finally was deep enough to paddle. However I was stiff, sore and late so I couldn't enjoy it. I had to paddle-paddle-paddle as hard as I could to get to the takeout before closing. Paddle-paddle-paddle! SpringCreek5 I made it. As usual there was a family fishing right at the base of the takeout point so I had to try and get between all their fishing lines to land Firefly. They were annoyed with me, I was mad at them. It's not a fishing spot, folks!! Rather than deal with them I dragged the kayak up the hill and waited for the Wethergirls to arrive. Misseswether doesn't like driving my truck, especially not down a tiny trail filled with hikers and bikers. Rescue! The adventure from hell was over! SpringCreek7 For those of you who'd like to copy this trip: SpringCreek6 Adventure! Excitement! Hell!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

iPhones destroyed the mosh pit.

Long time, no see. Sorry about that, I've been insanely busy. Luckily a friend saved me from this life of labor in one of the best ways possible: RAMMSTEIN!! Yeah, the peaceful rhythms of the natural world being calm, but sometimes I need flamethrower-wielding German psychopaths rocking out in a post-apocalyptic industrial wasteland.
Yes, the concert was in German. It didn't really matter.

 Ready to rock! Of course I had to wear my Zombie Squad t-shirt! Rammstein1
 The show was amazing. I've seen U2, KISS, Neil Young, Stone Temple Pilots, and many other concerts, but these guys (literally) blew all the others away, at least when it came to excess use of pyrotechnics. There were times when I was concerned my cell phone would melt and I was half-way across the arena from them.

 Stage goes BOOM...over and over!! Rammstein7

Back when I was up in Albany, NY I occasionally would hit the mosh pits of some dive bars with live thrash bands. Those days are long over to me, but I was curious to see current-day moshers. Turns out, there weren't any. Everyone just stood there down in the pit...holding up their cell phones to record the concert.

See the small lights? iPhones. Lots and lots of expensive iPhones. Rammstein2 Rammstein5

 Most people were in leather and combat boots and politely arranging themselves so as not to block anyone's view. The guy behind me had brought binoculars and was offering them to everyone around him to look through. People were saying "excuse me" as they moved down the row to their seats. Times have changed.
Half-way through the show Rammstein movved to the center of the arena. They tried to get a pretty girl to come up on stage with them but she refused. No matter, they continued to rock like I've never seen rocking before! I lost count of how many encores they did, but it was at least four. After the last one the crowd roared, stomped, and clapped for more but the house lights came one, the amazing show was over. I pulled out my ear plugs. Hey, I wasn't the only person their wearing them! During the show the music was so loud it interfered with my heart beating. It was like repeatedly being punched in the chest, which was really cool.

 Time to go home.

Outside the Toyota Center an old man was playing a sax for pocket change. I stopped and listened for a bit...the juxtaposition of he versus Rammstein was bizarre but somehow it worked, judging from the money in his hat.

Adventure! Excitement! BOOM!!