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Tuscaloosa Canoe and Kayak Club
PO Box 8
Cottondale, AL 35453
Typically, Canoeists and
Kayakers talk either about the water they had, i.e. past
trips, or the water they have (current
water levels) or the water they might get (weather report).
Club meetings are on the second Thursday of each month at 7:00 (*except on holidays).
The meetings are held at the Alabama Museum of Natural History (Rm. 111 of
Smith Hall) on the University of Alabama campus.
The Museum is located on
the corner of sixth street and Capstone Drive on the University of Alabama
campus. To reach the Museum from Hwy 82, take the University Blvd. Exit
and turn right onto Sixth Ave and keep going till you reach a stop sign, just
next to the Museum. If you are arriving on I-59, exit onto I-359 and go
to downtown Tuscaloosa. Turn right on University Blvd. Turn left
on Sixth Ave.
The Alabama Kayak Club (the University’s student club) will be having rolling
sessions for most of the semester. The Sessions will be held at the
University of Alabama Aquatic Center (Bryant X Hackberry). There is a $2.00
charge for club members who are not affiliated with the University.
TIME: on Monday nights from 7:00 till 8:00
In the spring, summer, and fall we will continue to conduct occasional
sessions at Rocky Branch Park when the water is warm enough. We will
send out an email notice if there are schedule changes for the pool or if a
lake session is planned.
Check Out These Web Pages
www.americanwhitewater.org (Fights For Our Rights)
www.acanet.org (American Canoe Assc.) Also Fights
www.down-river.com Lots and Lots Of Links and Info
www.alabamawhitewater.com All About Ala. Rivers
www.coloradokayak.com (Colorado Kayak Supply) Online Store
www.water.usgs.gov/nwis/rt River Gauges for every State
www.lakeinfo.tva.gov TVA Gauges and Dam Release Schedules
www.noc.com (Nantahala Outdoor Center) Online Store
www.nrsweb.com (Northwest River Supplies) Online Store
www.alsmallboats.com (Ala.Small Boats in Helena, Al)
Trocafest (this event
replaces Alabama Small Boats Paddle Splash, outdoor gear expo and gear swap
in Helena, Alabama).
Please check out the website at http://www.trocafest.com/
This will be the first time we have this kind of event in Alabama.
Contact Tony Diliberto at (205) 223-7094 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
CANOE AND KAYAK CLUB EVENTS
ALABAMA MUSEUM OF
NATURAL HISTORY EVENTS
TCKC will plan most of its trips early in the year. We take
most of its out-of-state trips during the summer and early fall when there
is not much water in Alabama. If you have ideas for trips, please
contact Greg Hester at 553-6187 or e-mail at email@example.com.
The Alabama Museum of Natural History offers a wide
variety of programs and trips to the community. For more information
contact Judy Everett at 348-9473 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Day Trips and the Cruisemaster Program
TCKC will take many impromptu day trips when conditions are favorable,
so watch the Weather Channel and be ready to go. When there is water
and you are looking for someone to paddle with, call one of our
cruisemasters. Cruisemasters usually know when and where club members
are paddling, and they can put you in contact with other paddlers.
Greg Hester is cruisemaster for easy floats, class I and II. For
class II, III and IV, call Tom Land at 345-6257. For Class III and IV
plus, call Bill Dement at 752-2824.
P.S. Most cruisemasters are desperate to paddle, so please, be
compassionate and give them a call.
Trip by Michele Fogle
On October 11th, I took my first club trip to the Nantahala River in North
Carolina. I was joined by my three “instructors”; Ed Gates, Tom Land
and Bob Wood.
We camped at Lost Mine Campground, and if you have been there before, you
know of the nice little stream that runs by the campsites. The sound of
the water was very relaxing, but it made me feel like I had to pee
(especially the one night when I awoke delirious, left my tent and nearly
fell in the stream).
There’s nothing like being able to get away and paddle two days in a
row. Of course, the only drawback is putting on that cold and wet
paddling gear the second day. Even though it was cold, I had a great
time and I even learned a few things (like how to jump off rocks and how to
get along with bears). I also learned who my best friend on the river
was. It was Ed - he likes to stop and snack on the river as much as I
Coast Trip by Greg Hester
The first weekend in Nov arrived with several members headed south to feed
the mosquitoes of the Florida panhandle at St. Joseph State Park. Jeremy
Williams, Milton Crawford, Chare Hester and myself convoyed down together
where we met up with Derek Williamson and Sue Hartley. Derek and Sue had
arrived a day earlier to slip in an extra bit of floating. After we set up
camp we headed to the Indian Pass Raw Bar for the best oysters to be had
anywhere. This is a very "local" place that you would normally
drive past without a second glance. When we returned to camp we discovered
that we had been broken into. Tents had been unzipped, coolers opened and
food drug under the table. Fortunately the masked bandits were not smart
enough to open the Torengo's can to get to the chips. After breakfast
we met up with members of the Birmingham Canoe Club at the put-in to explore
the upper end of St. Joe Bay. Horseshoe crabs, Flounder, Hermit crabs and an
assortment of small fish were all seen in the shallows around the tall
grasses. We paddled out to an "abandoned" island across the bay
only to find "NO TRESPASSING" signs by the new owner who had just
built a new house there. That was ok, as we were fortunate to see dolphins on
the way out to the island. The upper end of the bay is extremely
shallow and the water crystal clear. Grass beds make the water look
deeper than it is as a few of the "local Bubbas" ran aground in
powerboats. The wind was out of the north so it was an easy return trip. All
we had to do was turn our boats sideways to the breeze to be blown back
across the bay, On the return trip we crossed the path of a sea turtle. After
supper we visited the BCC camp where Ted Sparks had prepared a delicious
shrimp Creole dish.
Sunday brought the departure of Derek and Sue. A stiff breeze was causing
whitecaps in the bay so a day of exploring was in order. We found the
lighthouse at the end of the cape, the remnants of the Shrimp Festival in Apalachicola,
the new bridge to St. George Island, an eco-tour kayak shop and St.George
Island State Park. That night brought more fun as the campground
emptied and we were all that was left. You might be a "Redneck" if
you go coon hunting with a coffeepot or a stick. Milton had the most fun, as
he didn't secure his ice chest well enough. The raccoons untied the rope
enough to reach in and try to pull the eggs through the crack. It was an all
night fight as wave after wave of coons decided upon our campsites. The
Ranger said that they could get a little pesky. All and all it was a great
trip. Next year I will remember to bring my 1001 ways to prepare raccoon
Colorado Trip by Chris
On July 3 Tom, my family, and I left for Colorado to meet Ed Gates, who had
left Alabama in June to do his job (paddling, backpacking, and bike
riding). Ed has been doing this every year since he retired a few years
ago. This year he talked Tom and I into coming out and meeting him and
we were really glad that he did. The only drawback to the whole trip
was that it took us two days to drive out there, but it was well worth the
drive. We settled on Breckenridge as a base for our activities. I
put my family up in a condo, while Tom and Ed camped just outside of town.
On the way up to Breckenridge, we stopped at Colorado Kayak Supply in
Nanthrop, CO. The helpful people at CKS gave us advice on which rivers
to run and which water levels were suitable. With our river info in
hand, we embarked on five straight days of western whitewater.
Tom Land running on Brown’s Canyon
The folks at CKS suggested
we try the Blue River, which had just started dam releases on the
weekends. The Blue was a fun, fast, and cold, with solid class 2+ and 3
rapids - comparable to the Nantahala in North Carolina. The most
memorable part of the Blue was the put-in; a six to eight hundred feet carry
almost straight down. The next day we paddled the Pumphouse section of
the upper Colorado River just below the class five section of Gore
Canyon. This section was a drop and pool type run with class 2 and 3
rapids. The dirt road to it, which was probably thirty-plus miles long,
were smoother than many paved roads in Alabama. Ed informed us that
many of the dirt roads out there are that way. I wish they could show
our counties in Alabama how to maintain a road. Anyway, on the next
day, we settled on the Shoshonee section of the Colorado River. It runs
along I-70 and through Glenwood Canyon. The first two miles of this run
were something like the Ocoee, a class 3 to 4 that was fast and had lots of
volume. After that it settled down quite a bit to a class 2+
float through some nice countryside. Near the end of this section, we
could see hot springs coming up from the ground. Sometimes these
springs even came up in the middle of the river. Now that is something
you don’t see very often. We took-out at Glenwood Springs, the home of a hot
springs pool that is two city blocks long (longest in the world).
For our next day of paddling, we decided on the Brown's Canyon section of the
Arkansas River. It was a solid class 3 run. We had been told the
Arkansas was running low, like most rivers were, due to one of the worst
droughts in Colorado history. We talked to the people at CKS again and
they told us that Brown’s Canyon was runnable because it has a narrow
streambed. We were not worried about low water since we were from the
south and are accustomed to rock scraping and dragging. So we gave it a
try, and we were happy we did. It was a boulder-choked drop and pool
run, which was fun and very challenging. After running this section, we
determined that the rapid rating system in the eastern and western parts of
the country are a little different. A western class 3 run seemed a
little harder than a 3 back home in Alabama.This was to be my last paddling
day because I had to do the family thing with my wife and kids. I was
curious to see where Ed and Tom would paddle next. They said Royal
Gorge, which was further downstream on the Arkansas. The gorge is a big
tourist attraction, so we decided to follow them. While Ed and Tom
paddled the gorge, I was able to film them from a suspension bridge that was
over 1,000 feet above the river. They said the gorge was a solid class
4 and it was the most challenging whitewater we had paddled since we came to
Colorado. At the end of the day we parted and went our separate
ways. Tom went to a conference in Denver, but he and Ed did get
together and paddle one more time. They paddled the South Platte River
- a narrow, challenging class 3-4 run near Denver. My family and I went
sightseeing and drove to some isolated ghost towns. While driving, we
saw wild buffalo and elk. Some of the roads carried us through some
beautiful countryside, and others over 12,000-foot mountain passes.
All in all it was a great trip. We can't wait until we get the chance
to do it again. We made it back to Alabama with all our gear and bodies
intact. We had great video, pictures, and memories from the trip.
I personally would recommend everyone make at least one trip out there in
your lifetime if you have a love for the outdoors.
Chattooga Trip by Tom Land
On Friday May 24th, TCKC members took off for Deliverance
country. A great time was had by all and we did not have anybody get
assaulted by gun-happy inbreds, although some of us were tired and/or bruised
a little more than others. There are at least seven different versions
of the events that took place that fine May weekend, and here is my condensed
and edited version. If so needed, I will gladly provide space for rebuttals
in future newsletters.
The Harris, Schad, and Voegele families rented a cottage
in the safety of Black Rock Mountain State Park in nearby Clayton,
Georgia. Ed and I braved the elements (and banjos) and camped in the
woods near the put-in of section 3. Saturday morning the paddling group
was to meet us at our campsite. They had trouble finding us since some
of the dirt roads leading to the put-in are not well marked. When the
group got there, they were tired of driving and ready to paddle. So
ready to paddle that they decided on a fifteen-mile trip! I guess
riding around in the shuttle vehicles too long got the best of them.
Even the normally sane and practical Heike Schad wanted the long trip.
Against my better judgement, I went along with the plan since the shuttle
would have been difficult. We did have a great day on the river, the
water was a little low, but the rapids were fun.
Since the water was low, Kelli and Blake had trouble getting their somewhat
large canoe through some of the shoals. At the halfway point they were
pretty tired, so they pulled out at Ed and Tom’s campsite. The rest of
the group pressed on through Eye of the Needle, Bull Sluice, and Woodall
Shoals (our take-out).
On Sunday, we paddled the lower part of Section 3 and the upper part of
section 4 taking-out at Woodall Shoals again. The river narrows down
for these sections, so low water was not a problem. The group for Sunday
included Chris, Ed, Tom, Heike and Rainer. This section is for
experienced paddlers and is everything you want in whitewater – fun, scenic,
and challenging. We had a blast, and by the way, if you see Ed Gates,
ask him about Woodall Shoals.
Blake Harris runs rapid at the approach of the Narrows
Heike Schad running 10 ft drop
Sipsey Wilderness Float by
As daylight broke on Sunday,
April 21 it found a small band of paddlers desperate to find a place to get
their boats wet heading North on US 43. In this group were Connie and Walt
Robbins, Jeremy Williams, Chare Hester and myself. After a hardy breakfast at
the Natural Bridge Restaurant where we were to meet a certain person who
shall remain nameless at this time (who was late) we continued to the
take-out to start our shuttle.
At the Mims Family
take-out we met other people who were also looking for this nameless person
(who was late but remembered the key this time). As we transferred
boats Randy Mecredy from the Museum of Natural History shows up with a load
of boats and we are off to the put-in. When we arrived at the put-in we
ran into the Schad's (Rainer, Heike, Nico and Inge, Heike's mother) who had
been hiking and camping in the Forrest. They wanted to know what we
were going to do with our boats, as the water level was a little low
(65CFS). We said that we were taking the boats for walk before they dry
We put around a
dozen boats on the water counting the Museums. With the water being so low there
was no problem seeing fish in the pools as well pulling over for side hikes
to see water falls. No one was able to figure the meaning of the Totem pole.
Supper at Smokey Hollow BBQ
concluded the trip. 0 drowning, 0 lost boats, 0 broken into trucks +
full stomachs = GOOD Trip.
Locust Fork Trip by Heike
The first weekend of spring
break we took a wonderful trip to the Locust Fork of the Black Warrior River.
We camped at the nearby state park. Chris, Tom and Ed went up on Friday
and spent a rather chilly night out there (but luckily they were not frozen
when we came on Saturday morning). Bill, Gary, Rainer, Nico and I joined them
on Saturday morning.
We had two wonderful trips
on the Locust Fork. The sun was shining and the river was running 3.4 feet on
Saturday and 3.2 feet on Sunday –who could ask for more? We had a lot of fun
paddling, surfing and endering.
On Sunday, we could even
put in our boats at Kings Bend and kayak the part of the river where they had
the race on Saturday. Despite having to carry our boats the whole racing
distance, it was really nice as well.
For all of you who missed
this trip, there are plans to do it again! Maybe we could even camp out at
the river; Tom got in contact with the owner of the property at Kings Bent.
Thanks to Tom for
organizing the trip!
Tom jumping Bull Sluice
Too large a boat (still)