Saturday, March 7, 2009

Launch Dates, a Warm River in Winter, and the Endless Prep

It's a beautiful day in Tucson, about 70 degrees under clear blue skies. It has been full too- the kind of day you plan on spending in a lawn chair and end up on your feet and jotting numbers until your brain hurts from breakfast 'til dinner. Still, that usually makes dinner taste better.

I am in Tucson at the NOLS Southwest base after having worked a wonderful course on the Rio Grande in west Texas. I had never paddled the Rio before but was excited to do so- in the winter months when most other classic rivers are covered with ice and snow, the Rio is 70 degrees and running well. We had a strong student group, fair weather and good flow, all this in February. Here are a few shots from the course:

Pretty spectacular. There were semi-wild cattle and gun-toting Border Patrol about as well, but nothing we had to worry about.

Next up is 14 hour drive north to Utah and a course on the Green River in Desolation and Gray Canyons. After the warmth and sun of the Chihuahuan Desert, Utah in March is surely going to be a doozey. Racing ice flows through whitewater has its charm, however.

Things are coming together on the ARE, dates are firming up, food is being purchased and support arranged. With the close of the Desolation Canyon expedition, I fly to Portland, OR on March 31st, and after a few days of prep in the city, I launch in the early afternoon on Sunday, April 5. If you are in the Portland area, there is going to be a little send-off party on Saturday, and the launch of course on Sunday.

On a final note, we are excited to partner with Bell Canoe & Cooke Custom Sewing for the expedition- more on that soon.