Thursday, March 23, 2006

Making March Slightly Less Mad

March is a bitter sweet month for the Jones family. Winter is ending and the rains are coming to feed the rivers we love to padddle. My wife, college basketball's number one fan, begins her most obsessive season of the year by bracketing away into the wee hours of the morning. All is pleasant until the weekend. Then we must decide what to do.

Option Number One - Stay home and watch awesome March Madness basketball on TV.

Option Number Two - Camp out on some muddy river bank, sleep on the ground and hit the river (any river) first thing in the morning while the light is still magical.

Both of us want to go to Heavan, but neither of us wants to die! However, last night I think we may have found the perfect technology to end our conflict. For the paltry sum of $15 (actually $23 including tax and shipping) we hope to restore the environment of peace and love that fills our home in every month except March. Of course the technology I speak of is the $15 Camping TV: Coby CX-TV1 5" Black-and-White TV with AM/FM Tuner

Maybe I'm just behind the times, but WOW! When did they start making $15 dollar portable TV's? The one we sent off for comes with several different power sources, batteries, A/C, Car or boat! The cute little guy takes video game inputs, is an FM radio and should be the perfect addition to our tent camping arsenol. Frankly, I will feel a little safer being able to access local weather radar on the occasions we get caught out in some of Oklahoma's more exciting weather.


Sorry to do a whole post on an Amazon.com ad, but I am just too amazed. A $15 dollar TV, brand new...what a world!

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Sunday, March 19, 2006

Rain At Last!

The Local Hens Talk Turkey.
The Local Hens Talk Turkey.,
originally uploaded by FreeWine.
The first soaking rains seem to awaken the hope in both people and critters. On the way back from visiting Nuyaka Creek Winery this weekend, I saw some local turkeys out enjoying the weather change.

'To the red country and part of the gray country of Oklahoma, the last rains came gently, and they did not cut the scarred earth.' -- The Grapes of Wrath

April first the Nuyaka winery is having a wine and fishing tackle sale...now that's country!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Defending the Scenic Rivers of Oklahoma

Have you been wondering why there have been so many Poultry industry TV ads on Oklahoma TV these days?

Here's a great site to get the facts the commercials leave out:

Save the Illinois River, Inc., STIR, is the only private, not-for-profit organization chartered exclusively for the preservation of the Illinois River, Flint Creek, Barren Fork Creek, Tenkiller Lake, and their tributaries. It is the voice of Oklahoma Scenic Rivers.

Tahlequah area citizens formed STIR in the early 1980’s in response to a permit allowing Fayetteville, Arkansas to discharge treated sewage into the Illinois River Basin.

Their site is loaded with interesting facts and a timeline of the whole controversy.
http://www.illinoisriver.org/

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Monday, March 13, 2006

Summer Comes Early to K-River Camp

What an absolutely perfect Oklahoma summer weekend...in March!

After seeing a forecast of great weather for this weekend, Dianne, Dylan and I threw together a spur-of-the-moment road trip to K-River Campground near Antlers, OK. You can visit their website at www.KRiver.com to learn more about the Kiamichi River campground we stayed at.

K-River offers camping for both tents and RV's, but we decided to go all the way and rent one of their fishing cabins. The cabins are not exactly luxurious, but their location can't be beat. Our private quarters on the riverside allowed us to get out on the water early and play until late. I'm sunburned and sore but so very satisfied.

We expected to only be able to do a little paddling around the campground this weekend, as there was no detectable current in the river, so no float trips. This proved to be more fun than we thought, as there are several nice creeks to paddle around the K-River camp.

On Saturday, we paddled around the gravel bars just outside of our cabin and then down the river to where Buck Creek enters the Kiamichi. Buck Creek has several small rapids to cross, but the water was so low that we had to portage (a thrilling paddling term for walking) them going upstream so we could paddle down them afterwards. This provided some mild, safe fun, but I have no pictures to show you from that day.

If I am planning to paddle a spot twice, I usually leave the digital camera behind on Day One. I do this is because it gives me time to make sure my camera will be safe and I can think about what kinds of pictures I will want to take. Also, it has been my experience that I see the best sights when I am camera-less. Besides we were planning on paddling the same spot again on Sunday. However, by Sunday morning things had changed drastically.

Two nights of rain and a Friday afternoon water release from an upstream dam brought at least a foot or three of new water down the river. Every gravel bar we walked on Saturday was deep under some pretty swift current and suddenly our plans of paddling around the camp were canceled in favor of our first actual FLOAT trip with current in our new kayaks.

Now, the boys at K-River campground make a little change renting cabins and such, but the main event for them is shuttling folks on float trips and renting them canoes and kayaks. When we saw the high water on Sunday, we asked about float trips and they had several to offer. We would have loved to take the same trip we took last summer from the Pine Creek Put-in down to K-River Camp. Last year it was a fairly scenic paddle trip with some easy, fun rapids and one cool waterfall. However, there was very low water flow on that trip last summer. As they say, you never step into the same river twice!

Since our plan was to check out by noon on Sunday, we opted for a shorter float trip. We paddled the yaks downstream from camp to the Ten Mile Creek take-Out point. This gaves us a short float trip with hardly any need to paddle at all. Ten Mile Creek is very cool looking and when we have more time and water we hope to paddle it again.

It was a fun trip, but the day was so cloudy and gray that there was no good light for taking pictures. However, we did take a few before and after shots of the river that show how much it rose overnight.



As usual, you can see more of our trip pictures on Flickr. If you are hoping to catch some high water on the Kiamichi River near K-River Campground keep an eye on the river gauge.

Look for any CFS level above 50 CFS for good floating...this Sunday it was 719!

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Friday, March 10, 2006

Kiamichi Escape

This weekend we plan to make a trip out to one of our favorite Oklahoma camp spots - The Kiamichi River. Tom at Kriver.com has a nice little paddling campground near Antlers, Oklahoma.

I am really looking forward to bask in some light from the sun as opposed to the PC Monitor light. If the light is good enough I hope to have some nice pictures to share on Monday.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

River Quotes to Ponder While Paddling

Favorite River Quotations

A recent post on one of my favorite local blogs caught my eye and lifted my spirits as only a timely and pithy quote can do. Here's the quote:

'Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth. I sat at a table where rich food and wine in abundance . . . . but sincerity and truth were not; and I went away hungry from the inhospitable board.' -- Henry David Thoreau

Stop by The Conversation Station to read the full post. Babs writes compelling post on a wide variety of subjects.

That got me thinking about another great site for inspiring quotes. The National Wild and Scenic Rivers System website has a page dedicated to great quotes on rivers, water and the environment (www.nps.gov/rivers/quotations.html). Here are two of my favorites that they have posted:


'Who hears the rippling of rivers will not utterly despair of anything.' -- Henry David Thoreau


I never tire of hearing the words of Thoreau, but you gotta give props to some of the modern writers out there. Here's another gem from their website:


'Rivers are inherently interesting. They mold landscapes, create fertile deltas, provide trade routes, a source for food and water; a place to wash and play; civilizations emerged next to rivers in China, India, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. They sustain life and bring death and destruction. They are ferocious at times; gentle at times. They are placid and mean. They trigger conflict and delineate boundaries. Rivers are the stuff of metaphor and fable, painting and poetry. Rivers unite and divide -- a thread that runs from source to exhausted release.' -- Edward Gargan from The River's Tale


The National Wild and Scenic Rivers System website hosting the river quotes page is a nice resource that the National Park Service has created. They gathered all of those quotes on their page from readers sending them in.

If you have any favorite river quotes you would like to share, I'd love to hear them!

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