Monday, June 30, 2008

Boats afloat - paddlers are safe

Originally uploaded by Iron Bieso
Jay Heath tipped me to a situation that happened on the Big Sioux River Sunday.

A father and son duo was paddling when they got caught up in the branches of a submerged tree. They were able to get free, but their boats floated downstream.

They were paddling between the Klondike and Canton. Here's Jay's information on the missing boats:

This afternoon, Sunday, June 29, a father and son were in two kayaks on the Big Sioux River heading south past the Klondike toward Canton. They came across a big tree that was positioned as a sweeper across the river; while trying to get past it, they both got caught up in the branches and capsized their kayaks. They made it out by working their way across the fallen tree to the shore. Their kayaks, though, were swept downstream and were not recovered.

So, sometime around 1 p.m. today, two orange Dagger kayaks, one 9 feet long and the other 11 ½ feet, were lost and last seen floating down the river between the Klondike and Canton.

Jeff has contacted the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, but he has also asked if the word might be put out regarding these kayaks. He is hopeful that someone will find them and want to get in touch with the owner. If any of our readers catch sight of these kayaks or hears about them, Jeff has asked that he be contacted at (605) 338-0147.

-Jay's entry ends-

So, folks, if you live in that neck of the woods, keep an eye out for two orange kayaks. I'm sure all of us would like to have help if we were in the same situation.

Thank goodness the duo ended up wet and boatless. It could have been worse. It's another warning that even a mellow river like the BSR has danger.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

This should be you - this Saturday @11

Originally uploaded by Iron Bieso
Hola chaps:

Our bloggo has fallen on summer times, not as much hurry-scurry as earlier in the season, and for that I offer this: Come to the Pow Wow grounds one mile north of Flandreau on 13 Saturday, we're running a nice route in good weather with friends. Should more be said? Well, sure.

We'll gather between 10 and 11 a.m. and launch before noon. The route is similar to the April 20 "Earth Day" one, we'll go past the Flandreau City Park down to a take-out near the low-head dam, about an hour or so downstream of park.

The route hits the fattest parts of the Flandreau-area Big Sioux, and it's supposed to be a bit cloudy but nice and warm, so come out and have some fun with the club.

On a side note, the June newsletter is way behind schedule, but with luck it'll come out on my birthday, if not before, that's next Tuesday. We have a busy July shaping up, so look here for more word as the newsletter gets published and remind your paddling friends who don't come here to do so.

Bies, J.C.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sunday at 1 p.m. - let's paddle

Originally uploaded by jayalbionheath
You can join Mary Finck of the S.D. Canoe Association, and others, at the Garretson City Park, it rests along the Split Rock Creek, where a fun-loving group will do some light paddling on the creek.

Mary, her husband, and a few other members will be at the park about 1 p.m. Sunday and the weather reports are positive. This is a bring-your-own-boat cruise, but as usual, the SDCA welcomes those who wish to learn more about the sports of paddling, so come out and join them.

The total cruise time from the put-in to the "end" of the creek, it becomes too shallow to paddle at one end, is about an hour, and as Jay Heath's photo shows here, there's plenty of pretty scenery.

If you have questions, e-mail Jarett and he'll relay them to Mary.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

We are back ... with plenty of news

Originally uploaded by jayalbionheath
Apologies to all who visit regularly for the week-long desert of S.D. paddling info. I was out of town.

But first, the news:

The South Dakota Canoe Association will host a Big Sioux River cruise, starting at 11 a.m. sharp, June 28, 2008, at the Pow Wow grounds on the Big Sioux River, located about one mile north of Flandreau on Highway 13. The event is free and open to the public, the route is about one hour longer than the cruise on the river in April, so it should take about three hours to complete.

The Earth Day paddle started at the same put-in, but this time we'll paddle to the low-head dam in Flandreau proper. The route leads past a tributary stream that might be full enough to entice exploration, and unlike the Earth Day event, we'll have higher temps and we'll paddle at least another two miles.

The river widens and twists as it goes under the Highway 13 bridge again, and we'll be paddling past that point to a easy-access take-out spot on the bank before the dam.


But wait, there is more news on cruises:

On July 26, Larry Braaten will host a cruise for the SDCA on the Big Sioux from the Klondike down into Canton. It's a nice leg of the river, and we'll start at 11 a.m. that morning. There's an organized benefit paddle in Canton on July 19, too, so call Mac's in Canton, the bar there, and get information if it piques you.

Before Larry's cruise, there are two eco-events on the docket: July 12, at Grass Lake, we'll be doing a lake water monitoring project, and Mary Finck of the SDCA is hosting a BSR clean-up on July 17 in Sioux Falls.

Lastly, we are taking submissions for stories for the June newsletter, it'll be out with more details about all of these events, and more, within a few days.

Paddle on, South Dakota.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

No disrespect intended

A family member of the man who died kayaking posted a comment on our blog. It is listed in the comments in the post below.

In mentioning his death, I had no intention of making light of or being disrespectful in the face of this tragedy. My post mentioning this accident was meant to remind everyone who kayaks and canoes that conditions are currently dangerous. It was not meant to cause harm.

As the writer of that post, I apologize to the family for an unintentional harm the post may have caused. The post has been updated to omit the gentleman's name.


Monday, June 9, 2008

An unhappy reminder

Sad news for paddlers today. As the Associated Press reported over the weekend, a kayaker drown in the Bad River when he was trapped between trees.

High water levels across the state make any and all river trips dangerous. In this case, conditions were deadly and sadness descends on all of us who travel the water.

Here is the information from the AP:

Kayaker Drowns on Bad River

A man drowned in a kayak accident Saturday in the Bad River about 70 miles southwest of Fort Pierre.

Jones County Sheriff Fred Koester says the man was in a kayak following two female staffers in a canoe.

The women were about one mile ahead of him and waited. They saw a paddle float by and later found the kayak submerged between two trees in the river.

His body was recovered in the kayak.

Please let this be a reminder to everyone who paddles, regardless of skill, experience, or talent: flood-level rivers are dangerous.

The earlier report said the rushing water forced the paddler into two trees and that the boat was bent or crushed, trapping him in the cockpit.

God bless the family and friends of the man who lost his life on the river. Let us all paddle with caution in the days and weeks ahead.


Saturday, June 7, 2008

Dangerously high

Originally uploaded by Senor Velasco
The SDCA wants to remind paddlers to beware the Big Sioux River, along with other waterways in the state, due to all the recent rain. It doesn't take a meteorology degree to know the ground is soggy, we've had a lot of precip, so the river could be dangerous.

The USGS link on the National Weather site reports BSR river levels southeast of Brookings are now past seven and one-half feet. Flood stage is nine feet, and the projection says the water levels will increase over the next 24 hours.

It may seem counterintuitive to think more water is bad, esp. with a river like the Big Sioux that gets downright dry later in the summer. But when it is near flood stage, like it is now, more debris, strainers, and other potentially dangerous elements are more common.

Plus the water will be really rapid, so a mistake that'd be no big whoop in lower water could be something that ends up getting you wet or worse.

Take caution and hit a lake this weekend, or use extreme caution on any river you might run over the next few days. Better to paddle again later this summer than to toss dice and end up trapped under a newly submerged cottonwood branch.


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Like no other

Originally uploaded by Iron Bieso
Sunday's weather - look at the sky in this photo - made the annual paddling fair out at Alvin a blast, tons of people came out and tried a few different boats, or paddles, and a kid had a birthday paddle, and the sun shone and wow, it was just a hoot. This photo shows one of ShaRon Kelly's canoes with an outrigger attachment.

We do it every year, but don't always get such a nice day!

Waters downstream: We need to set a SDCA cruise for late June. I propose an 11 a.m. Saturday, June 28, 2008, Big Sioux Cruise, from Flandreau Pow Wow grounds to the take-out near the low-head dam.

The put-in is the exact same one used on Earth Day cruise. The June 28 cruise would go past the Earth Day take-out, about one river mile, under the Highway 13 bridge, where the Big Sioux braids.

It would at least an hour to the original cruise, more if paddlers explored the river area before the take-out.

We'll hang it on our calendar if people can make it; e-mail me if you want to join this cruise.