Sunday, February 22, 2009

Bagels and Barges in Burlington

In trying to scope out the weekend, I asked if there was any good skating ice on the lake. My friend said her kid had just been to a skating party on the barge canal and it was pretty good. We made plans.. the bonus is that the parking access is right at Meyer's Bagels.

Meyer's is a relatively small, decidedly informal bagel joint. They have a big wood fired oven right behind the counter and the baker pulls out a dozen at a time with a long peel that somewhat resembles a Greenland paddle. I'm never really sure what their hours are, but "breakfast rush" is pretty reliable.

The Pine Street Barge Canal doesn't really go anywhere like the Erie Canal (Albany to Buffalo). It is more the nautical equivalent of a railroad siding. It is a few hundred yards long and was put in to give barge access to the line of industrial buildings along Pine Street in the 1800's. If you google it, most hits have some reference to it being a superfund site, thanks to a coal gas plant that dumped a bunch of coal tar. That is now pretty well capped off, but they are considering the site for a connector highway which would mean a lot of excavation (and opening the can of worms).

The canal connects to the harbor under this railroad lift bridge:

Since the kid's skate party there had been a little snow. Still skatable, but you can't see the bumps, so I wasn't being too bold WRT triple axels or even backwards crossovers.

Saturday night was a Vermont Paddle Club pool session. They are mostly a whitewater crowd, but through conspiracy most of the people this night were Greenland paddlers (aka the "Boyz in da Hoodz" (not all boys though.))
One social difference is that the VPC folks were there maintaining an off-season link with their sport and we had been out on the lake paddling and rolling within the last week.

So why go to the pool? I got to use the skin boat, which I haven't in a few months because, among other considerations, it is too tight to wear neoprene booties.
It's also an opportunity to try other boats. I managed norsaq and hand rolls, and upside-down paddled the length of the pool (not eager to do that in 32 degree water!)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

President's Day

At Shelburne Beach yesterday there were a bunch of ice sheets to negotiate, like thie one Dave is drifting away on, so there was some use for the shortie ski poles and/or nail boards. This picture was at the end and he's looking for the pole he dropped.

It was a nice sunny day, around 20F and 15 kt breeze. This eagle stayed with us through most of the trip. Maybe thinking we were predators and would leave some dead fish floating in the water.

A cool-off/rest stop at about our farthest point:

Tom took some pics of me rolling, but kept asking me to do them over so he could, say, reframe the shot:

This inevitably lead to a brain freeze headache:

I caught Tom in a reverse sweep:

Sunday, February 08, 2009

January Thaw, in February

The temperature peaked at 50 in the way dark early morning, and started coming back down. The scouting call came around 8:30 AM: "Meet at Coast Guard at 9:30"
Not much notice, but OK, I guess. I asked how clear the harbor was.
"Oh, did I say Coast Guard? I meant Coach Barn (@ Shelburne Farms)."

Glad I found out!

Shelburne Farms is on the outside of the point that forms Shelburne Bay. Driving by, I could see the bay was still frozen up enough for trucks to drive out on the ice for fishing or whatever (safely? I dunno!) The one in the picture is a 6 wheel dump truck.

The cove by the barn was full of nominally loose chunks, but packed too tightly to paddle through.

There was clear enough shore closer to the point.

Soon we found ourselves in a windy wavy sleet storm. Fun, but decidedly camera unfriendly. By the time we got back. the wind had blown that packed ice in the cove off shore and it had spread enough to paddle through.

Look closely (or click on the pic) and you see above a pair of cut down ski poles on the back of Dave's kayak. They seem to be more effective than nail boards in moving across sheet ice (and decidedly less dangerous to neoprene)

Back at shore a seal landing finished the trip.

On the touristy side, the farm has this sleigh to give rides around the grounds. It might look nice with 3 or 4 kayaks in the back.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Freezing up

A couple of weeks ago we started having to hunt for clear shoreline. The beach at Oakledge park had a hundred yards or so of ice, but we trucked through the woods to some clear shore near the point. Headed south to SHelburne bay which was mosltly iced. A south wind was calving some off so we ran up on a sheet and rode downwind on it for about 20 minutes.

This past weekend it looked like solid ice out to Juniper Island.. no kayaking unless we were willing to trek a while.

Things look a little better this week. It is supposed to be above freezing part of the weekend. THey are having a Penguin Plunge (swim in the ice water) Saturday at the Coast Guard station, which means they will clear enough ice for us to go rolling Sunday if nothing else is available.