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Salt River - New Kayak upstream and down, AZ
mini location map2020-06-29
6 by photographer avatarazbackpackr
photographer avatar
 
Salt River - New Kayak upstream and down, AZ 
Salt River - New Kayak upstream and down, AZ
 
Kayak avatar Jun 29 2020
azbackpackr
Kayak5.60 Miles
Kayak5.60 Miles
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
I went down to the Valley on Monday, can you believe that? I didn't have time to visit all of you, sorry. I was buying a kayak from a friend. I saw the ad on Craigslist, I emailed to inquire about it, and it turned out I knew the guy, Bob, and his wife pretty well, having been on a number of kayak trips with them. The boat is an Impex Montauk 16-foot fiberglass sea kayak. This one has no rudder, but a skeg instead. Having no rudder will help me to improve and learn various skills such as edging turns, rolls, etc. This is my 3rd sea kayak, but the first without a rudder. Rudders are nice, but they also make you lazy. You can get away with not knowing some key skills that are good to have. The storage capacity in the Montauk isn't much better than my 15'3" Necky Eliza. But I've always done fine on long trips using backpacking gear in my boats. My main interest with this boat is to start improving my skills. The problem in Arizona is finding instruction. There are some whitewater people around, but they usually don't know the Greenland rolls or other sea kayak skills. In fact, most of them have never heard of Greenland style. I may just have to watch a lot of videos and go out and try stuff.

Here's what we did for the trial run: We paddled UP the Salt River, from Granite Reef to Phon D Sutton. Bob is an old whitewater dude, so he has a big skill set. We eddied and ferried and eddied and ferried up, all the while he was explaining to me how the boat can actually find a sweet spot ferrying up the current, and just glide up without a lot of effort. Then we got to that little bitty rapid just below where the Verde comes in. He showed me several times how to surf up a little wave around some rocks, into the next eddy. I just couldn't seem to get it, the current would catch my bow, and around I'd go, swinging downstream into the rapid. I tried it several times. He said my angle was off a bit. Then I crossed the river there, and tried to eddy up on that side, but there was no eddy there. So, I sort of gave up, and we turned around and paddled back to Granite Reef. He said most people he takes upriver don't make it as far as I did, so that made me feel a little better.

He also showed me an area of shoreline he had been working on for a long time to get rid of the giant cane, which is invasive. He talked about the Forest Service and Game and Fish doing tamarisk and pink snail eradication. We spent time removing pink snail egg cases. He said if everyone who came down the river just spent 15 minutes scraping those things off with their paddles it would make a big difference, although he was pleased that there weren't very many on this day. He said that at one point he was trying to convince the Forest Service to have stewards for short sections of river, to remove the cane, snails, tamarisk, etc. He said if you cut the cane about 6 times with a hedge trimmer it loses its root energy, and eventually will not come up again. The one place he had worked on had very little. He said that last year he had made some progress with the cumbersome federal and state agencies, but then the Covid came, and kind of shut everything down.

It was a great day, fun, not too hot, very instructive, and I went home with the Montauk. I don't have a name for it yet. I'll listen to suggestions. The boat is red and white. I thought of Ibis, because there is a Scarlett Ibis, but it doesn't feel quite right.
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