Stormy Days


The outdoor adventure club faced a real adventure this last weekend during an outing to Pee Wee Falls in Washington state.  Our group of ill prepared outdoor enthusiats were planning a fun filled day of BBQ and paddleing on the beautiful river below the falls.  This remote location holds deer, moose and bear along with the frequent cougar sighting. A calm, almost lake like river leads a short distance to a stunning waterfall which you could paddle right up to.  Nearby ice caverns offer more intensity to the daring.

However calm and serene this site seems on most days it was not apparent this weekend.  The first sign that the wilderness had control was the black bear that crossed our path right outside the camp.  I definetly felt more fear than I would have had it been a cat.  The cougar sightings only hightened the intensity.  We had a few moments of reprieve and sunshine to cruise around the camp sites and choose a nice green location on the perimeter of the site. The lovely campground was soon to change to a wild wilderness.  

The rain began falling soon after setting up camp so we moved inside my cargo type snowmobile trailer I use for camping.  We set up our large cots and made comfortable beds, placed our chairs in front of the fold down loading ramp and enjoyed a dinner of chicken alfredo and noodles.  The night was still and cool with rain drumming steadily on the roof.  We went to bed soon after the sun set, tired from the days travels and an long day of work.  

Nighttime was shaken and shattered by fits and bursts of lightning storms.  The rain thundered down on the hard roof of the trailer, frequently interrupted by staccato blasts of thunder. The storms rolled through the valley, each following the last in rapid succession keeping the skies full of light and peals of thunder.  We slept assured the roof would keep the rain off and the warmth of the beds giving comfort to those ensconced.  Although fear of the storm was clearly evident among our small group we still slept between and sometimes through the the storms.

Morning came as it always does with the promise of new hopes.  However this morning was accompanied by a steady slow rain.  The day felt on hold as we awaited the days adventures and a chance to see the sun.  That hope would die a slow but sure death.  

The caves were a great adventure but upon exiting the opening we were struck by a downpour that I cannot describe with the shear volume and power this new storm projected at its victims.  We were crushed under the rain and hail in a steady roaring flow from the clouds.  We plodded down the path, no thought to finding dry shelter or hope for a lull in this storm.  It was clear we were in for whatever the rain had planned. This downpour continues until visibility was virtually wiped away and we had all retreated as deeply into our simple shelters as we could.  

The stunning power of these storms made this trip change from fun BBQ with friend to an exciting adventure to stay warm and dry under thunderous clouds that turned day to night.  What a charged environment to find ourselves in to enjoy the simple things of warm food, cozy beds and good close friends.  


East Side Slough

cedar strip kayak canoe

Sitting along Sherman avenue in Coeur d’Alene eating a ham and cheese sandwich I noticed I had bite on the line set near my kayak. The fish got off the hook but left me with a recommendation for a nice place to kayak. I thanked the man and left him with my card in case he decided to take my bait after all and buy one of my boats. I had a great time looking at some of the cars that reminded me of my fading youth but I had a boat to paddle and beautiful Cheryl to attend to, so off to East Side Slough.

Now I really do not know the name of this area but it is a slough on the eastern most end of lake ‘Coeur d’Alene. Launching near the boat ramp on hwy 97 along the south side of Wolf Lodge Bay we paddled due east into the current of Wolf Lodge Creek. Quickly passing under a low bridge we cleared the moving water and entered the still meandering paths of water in the slough.

We slowly explored the area, paddling through rushes and Lilly pads. We stopped to watch an eagle sit lazily in a tree before swooping out to catch a fish. The seemingly still waters flowed in wide arching paths that begged for exploration and promised a pathway into even more remote country. After an hour of searching for the inlet of the creek we gave up and headed to a nearby campground for a look around before heading out into the main lake to have a cold drink and a little lunch.

Cheryl and I discussed the wonderful beauty and grandeur of Idaho while I tried to suggest the values of living in Kauai Hawaii. In the end she agreed with me that Idaho is a wonderful place to live with lakes in every direction and only minutes away.

The day was a perfect example of lazy exploration in North Idaho leaving me wanting more.

Safe Kayaking Practices

Wood strip kayak canoe wood building

Most kayaking accidents happen to recreational kayakers. That probably means you. professional kayakers or adventurous sportsmen are so highly prepared with high end products and tools to compliment there sport that they can enter the water with preparation equal to a space launch. Kayakers with less skill and fewer kayaking accessories in their personal arsenal to choose from can still be perfectly prepared for an adventure on the water.

Lets address water temperature first. Low temperatures lead to hypothermia and shock. This can happen within seconds of hitting the water and if unprepared the kayaker has little chance of saving himself. Properly dressed in a wet suit or a dry suit is critical if you are planning to boat in cold water temperatures. Remember, a dry suit will keep water off your skin but will not keep you warm unless you dress appropriately underneath. Keep in mind that you are preparing for finding yourself IN the water for an extended time period, at least until you can self rescue, reach shore or receive help from other boaters.

A great many tools are available at reasonable prices. Life preservers, paddle floats, emergency whistles, throw ropes, dry and wet suits, gloves, booties and much more. Outfit yourself with a selection of these items that suit your needs to be prepared for your worst case scenario. I have an outfit suitable for boating on Idahos lakes but I am not properly prepared for a trip on the ocean. Determine your needs and get the items you need to address an emergency situation in cold water before you are in the water.

I use the following checklist before kayaking in cold water
1) Check water temperature before boating.
2) Dress to stay Warm and Dry or warm and wet while IN the water.
3) Boat with a friend.
5) Emergency whistle, Pump, paddle float, throw line, spare paddle.
6) Lots of common sense and understanding of the danger present.

Sure I am talking about the downside of kayaking and the danger involved but driving is dangerous too. Just remember to be prepared for your adventure and enjoy your kayak in warm and cold conditions. A little preparation will pay off big on that one day you take a spill when you least expect it.

Why’s your boat on top of the car?

By Kurt Canfield of

Heirloom Kayaks is not a misnomer—they really are among the most
beautiful kayaks on the market today, and are truly heirloom pieces built to last generations. Robert Lantz, the owner of Heirloom, puts in an extraordinary amount of time, effort, and skill into building these wonderful kayaks.

To protect any heirloom, you have to take care when transporting it.  Kayaks, which get transported frequently, need even more attention. You want to make sure it arrives at your destination undamaged and ready to take on whatever body of water you’re going to be kayaking!

Many kayakers choose to buy a roof carrier and transport their kayaks on the top of their roofs. This works just fine if you have a kayak that’s made out of fiberglass. When you are driving 60 miles per hour on a highway, the headwind created is about 50 miles per hour, which is close to tropical storm strength winds! A fiberglass kayak is designed to bend and sway without breaking, and can handle those kinds of wind speeds.

However, if you plan to purchase an Heirloom kayak, I would strongly recommend that you purchase a Malone Kayak Trailer to protect your investment. Malone is the industry leader in kayak trailers for a reason—their trailers are sturdy, reliable, well-designed, and made in the U.S.A.  But most importantly, by having your Heirloom kayak safely attached to a Malone Kayak trailer, you ensure that the wind shear from driving on the highway will be completely mitigated.

The trailers have some other great features as well. One of the most convenient is that the trailer is designed to be submersible. That means you can back your trailer right into the water, detach the kayak, and be ready to go, all without having to worry about lifting your kayak and hurting your back!

Please feel free to check out our Malone kayak trailers at If you have any questions about kayak trailers, please contact me at:

Inlaying the Tuxedo’s deck

The inlay of the deck has been going very well, stripping without staples and continuing to hand bevel the strips.  The colors of the cedar compliment each other well, having enough contrast to clearly reveal the pattern while showing off the beauty of dark chocolate old growth cedar and a more typical western red.  The bass wood is a clear white and will show well under the glass with a slight golden color after varnishing.



The stripping is time consuming as usual but is one of my favorite aspects of wood strip construction. Primarily because this is when I am actually forming the shape of the boat and watching the graceful lines of the kayak develop. Careful fitting of each strip requires patience that pays off in the long run as each step that follows will be easier if care is taken were it is needed.