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Adventures on Sand Creek

It was a busy weekend for me. On Saturday I ran the Tri-Loppet, but didn't do quite as well as I had hoped. This year they combined the solo and doubles divisions, so I had to compete against people who were paired up in 19-foot racing canoes with my 14-foot kayak. Since the paddle is about half the event, it makes a difference! Still, you can't complain too much because there's some inherent "unfairness" from the fact it's BYOB. I ended up coming in 37th in my division, but have to give some shouts out to Justin (who came in 4th), Erl (16th), and Kelly (4th in women's).

But the highlight of the weekend was our Sunday trip down Sand Creek in Jordan. This is a little-known creek rising in the farm country of southern Scott County. It flows north and west into and through the town of Jordan, and then crosses under Hwy 169 and continues to Louisville Swamp and shortly after to the Minnesota River across from Carver. But it has a reputation for good whitewater - and with the plentiful rain this summer, it delivered.


Some pretty tough strainers in this creek.

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Another Year at the Tri-Loppet

It's that time of the year again - high summer. Bright sun, thick humid air, plenty of mosquitoes, and the annual City of Lakes Tri-Loppet offroad triathlon. In a change from last year, I decided not to compete, and instead showed up to take photos and videos of the intrepid MNOC gang and any other folks who happened to wander into my field of view. The decision was motivated by my plan to do the Gnome Hunters All Night Ride that evening, and sealed by letting the June 23rd registration deadline go by without sending anything in.

More photos behind the link.

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Fun on the Kettle River

Yesterday I got together with my friends Stephen, Stanley, and Mark to head up and run the (ridiculously low) Kettle River near Sandstone, MN. Stephen, a freelance outdoors writer, was putting together a story for the Star Tribune and needed to find some people with access to all the riverboarding gear. Luckily, Mark and I had to purchase the gear a couple of years ago for Primal Quest Utah, and ever since, both of us have been trying to find excuses to use it. So we all met up at Robinson Park just east of Sandstone, where I left my car and shuttled up to Head of the Rapids in Banning State Park, about four miles upstream.

Below the fold - more on the trip downstream, and some video I took later in the day after we switched up and gave Stanley and Stephen a chance to try out the boards!

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Gettin' Dirty at the Tri-Loppet

A bunch of us got together on Saturday morning to run the 4th Annual City of Lakes Tri-loppet. It's a summer event hosted by the local nordic ski club, and is run like a off-road triathlon, with paddling replacing swimming.

I also put together a photo montage of the MNOCers that did the event. (All photos are from the gallery at Skinnyski).


View 2009 Tri-Loppet Course in a larger map

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MIX Race Report - Part III

Part II of the MIX race report ended with a paddle down the Manistee River, ready to go into a nighttime trekking section before we'd see our support crew again.

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Some Different Perspectives

(as if I haven't posted enough about MIX already!)

Both Brian and Molly have also put together race reports with their own take on the Michigan race.

Molly's report is aimed for those less familiar with the sport and is set up in a slideshow format, with pictures that she took on the course in addition to pictures from our support crew. See it here.

Brian also posted his take on his Attackpoint log.



MIX Race Report - Part II

Part I of the MIX race report brought us to the beginning of the rafting section on the Sturgeon River. We had just completed a 33-mile overnight trek through the Chandler Hills. It was mid-morning and we were ready to be off our feet.

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6th Place at MIX!


At the finish

We had a good run for our first big race of the year! We arrived in Traverse City on Monday night, checked in with race staff on Tuesday morning, and had our maps and instructions by 3 PM. So that was a reasonable amount of time to plot the points, choose routes, and assemble a course walkthrough in addition to getting our gear set. Chris made us a pan of chicken lasagna to make at the house so we didn't have to waste time going out for dinner.

So at 7 AM the next morning, we're all lined up at the boat launch on Elk Lake, about 10 miles NE of Traverse City. It was a water start, with all of us sitting in 2-person plastic 16-foot canoes on the water. The sun was just up and there was a stiff headwind from the ESE.

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35 miles of the Snake River

I've only paddled the Snake River once, but it sure was a doozy. Our team started the Memorial Day 2008 practice race by putting in the Snake River just downstream of Mora. We had six solo kayaks, for me, Mark, Roz, Dave, Brian, and Rick. The water was up, as usual in late spring, but the section between Mora and Pine City is generally a slow, lazy, winding river with heavily wooded banks hiding the frequent cultivated fields.


View Snake River (lower) in a larger map

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