ASCI Course as you've never seen it before!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

I found I was having a difficult time finding friends to paddle with on Easter weekend. Something about spending time with family or something....

I spent Saturday outfitting my boats, and cleaning out my truck, made a stop for dinner with a friend in VA, and continued on in my search for whitewater. I found myself in Friendsville, MD within spitting distance of the Yough, Big Sandy, Cheat and Tygart.

My friend John Mason is hanging his hat here for a few weeks, building sprayskirts and taking care of his business at the Upper Yough takeout. He had never seen the ASCI Course, and I was wondering when they were going to open for the spring.

So we drove up the mountain and took a look-see. It was exciting to see the same course I had navigated last fall without any water. It was very interesting to see how the course was built and what the waveshapers actually looked like.

So here's a refresher of what the ASCI course looks like WITH water: Disneyworld of Kayaking

Now, the behind the scenes look at the whitewater course in the winter/early spring :-)

The first waveshaper

The river

The riverbed

Easter Weekend Rain Chasing

Friday, March 21, 2008

Rich and I had planned a trip south on Easter weekend to get our first spring season paddling in, but Rich's shoulder is still bothering him a lot so he wasn't able to go.

I left Cornwall around noon yesterday solo, planning on meeting up with fellow paddlers in warmer climates.

I met up with Jeremy this morning and we headed on down to Holtwood on the Susquehanna. This section was running high, and we actually had to run shuttle instead of being able to attain back up to the put-in. We paddled with Garret, Sam and Brenton, and were joined later by two other eager paddlers whose names I didn't catch.

Holtwood was just as I remembered it, except with more water. I would describe Holtwood as a whitewater playground. This section of the river is SUPER-wide, and there are fun surf spots that form at different levels in different places. For an idea of its vastness, check out Jeremy's Holtwood Surf Guide here:

Garret surfing Playspot

Sam showing us how it's done

717 crew making their way back up the eddy

Even though I had plenty of gear, somehow when I grabbed my kayaking bag from my house in Beachburg, it didn't have any of my underlayers in it. So I was early spring paddling sans fleece/rashguards. Ken had sent me some neoprene layers, so I wore a thick neo-shirt under my new drydeck! It worked fine, I was warm and only started feeling the chill of the air after being out for a few hours when I was starting to get tired.

We finished the great day on the river (my face is sunburnt bright red by the way) with an awesome steak dinner courtesy of Jeremy's awesome parents, and I enjoyed a toasty night in my old stomping ground, the Airstream Van.

Canadian Cold

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

It's so cold up here in Canada. I'm stuck here for work on an important course away from home and any whitewater. I can hear the wind blowing against my hotel window. It feels like a vast and barren wasteland. My boogers are freezing my nostrils closed and I have to breathe out of my mouth.

The good news is that there are still fun things to do in the cold, like snowshoeing, watching ice racing, snowmobiling and sitting out on the frozen lake in lawn chairs drinking beer. We've also made some road trips into the big city!

It won't be long now, we're almost a month away from MACKfest (, and then the festivals, events and water will pick up.

Snickers is really excited to get back in the water. No Snickers! You can't paddle today, it's too cold!