Monday, December 20, 2010

Winter Weather Advisory

Typically December is great month to be a kayaker in Alabama. Frequent rainfall and mild temperatures usually result in lots of river days without much discomfort. However, December 2010 started out with a deep freeze that swept mercilessly across the southeastern United States. Alabama is typically around five to ten degrees warmer than the rest of the southeast paddling scene, but even here nighttime temperatures dipped into the single digits and daytime temperatures stayed below freezing for days on end.

What’s a paddler to do when the water is low and the weather is unkind? The same thing we do the rest of the year, of course! Go kayaking! The lack of rainfall has left many rivers too low, but Little River Canyon in the northeastern corner of Alabama remains runnable at quite low flows. A trip down Little River Canyon at higher flows is usually characterized by pushy water and big holes (lots of fun in its own right). However, at low flows it channelizes between the huge boulders and creates a run that is more the style of a low volume creek and is a local favorite when most other rivers in the region are too low.

The follow video features Little River Canyon at around 250 CFS. This is about the minimum flow that all the rapids can still be paddled, portage free. Although Terminal Eddy is often walked at such low flows (risk to reward ratio is a little off on that one). The video also features all the mandatory elements to EVERY paddling video you’ve EVER seen… sped up footage of the sky/shuttle/hiking, shameless gear plugs, slow-mo boofing, post credits bonus footage, and even a little carnage. Formulaic, I know, but there is a reason paddling videos follow such a predictable path, because paddlers like them that way.

Additional footage of winter paddling in Alabama is featured in latest issue of LVM, which is available now. See a preview and order LVM 35 “Love Thyself “ here.

Until Next Time…

-Adam Goshorn

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