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JAK
2013-01-20, 13:33
Looking at heading south with the family the March Break to do some kayak training and hiking with my 13 year old daughter. Have a place to stay in Charleston West Virgina. Need to know about water temperature that time of year, first week of March. Is there any ice? What would the current be like, is it easy to paddle in both directions? Kanawha river in immediate vicinity of Charleston West Virgina but also might use that as a base and do some hiking/camping/paddling/trail running further afield. We are mostly flat water paddlers but don't mind a little white water. We will be doing a race in Hull Massachusetts March 2, 2013 on the drive down. We are training for flat-water, downriver, and surfski type paddling, but mostly for general fitness and adventure. Haven't decides which boat or boats bring yet. Building a few this winter.

http://surfskiracing.org/2012/03/sno...exciting-race/

Any info, advice, and revenge humour is welcome...

saimyoji
2013-01-20, 14:20
check out this for some examples of how the locals entertain themselves....

http://www.mtv.com/shows/buckwild/series.jhtml

JAK
2013-01-20, 19:36
Unrelated, but freaky...
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/click_online/9786346.stm

john pickett
2013-01-20, 19:56
Saimyoji, Buckwild has the same realtionship to West virginia that Kim Kardashian has to a woman.

Skidsteer
2013-01-20, 21:40
Hahahahahaha!

Rosaleen
2013-01-20, 22:11
JAK-

Hull, MA! Where do you live (approximately). I'm between Boston and Worcester.

JAK
2013-01-20, 23:51
JAK-

Hull, MA! Where do you live (approximately). I'm between Boston and Worcester.
I'm 3 hours east of Bangor Maine in Saint John New Brunswick. River here is usually sufficiently ice free first week of April. Hull MA is about 10 hour drive so the plan is to drive down after work/school Friday and grab some sleep on the way and have breakfast and do the Hull Snow Row, in our singles or a double. Then on to West Virginia because the rivers there look pretty promising for flatwater paddling, and the weather should be warmer even if the water is still cold. We might go one week or two. 10 hours to Hull, then 10 hours to Charleston and vicinity West Virginia. We have a place to stay there but open to other ideas that are car camp / paddle / trail run / hike friendly. i.e. cheap and can leave a boat or vehicle some place where we can paddle or hike back to it. Bikes option also. Will probably spend most time in Charleston if the Elk River or Kanawha is what we are looking for, and they are looking pretty good.

Rosaleen
2013-01-21, 10:14
We are about an hour and a half from Hull. Probably more if there is any traffic, because of the little winding town roads.

Obviously, you are into paddling...That is a lot of driving and the water, if not the air, will be COLD. 10 hrs of driving for me would get me to Washington, DC, on a good day. You are in for a long haul. I can PM you my phone number in case something comes up that you need a local "friend" to help you.

JAK
2013-01-21, 13:28
Thanks for the info and the offer. Yeah we expect it to be cold, but hopefully not solid, and we will be dressed for a swim. We will be paddling up here in April once the ice clears so we are going south March Break to get a jump start on Spring Training. At her age, and miine, we are focusing more on adventure paddling rather than pure physically training like a rat on a treadmill. So we are looking for scenic rivers and lakes and harbours where she can fall in love with paddling and nature and not focus too much on growing muscles that may not even want to grow yet. That might come later. She is 13, but stil only 4'9" and 80 pounds or so. We expect Hull to be the cold also, and potentially windy and rough, and if it is a storm we will pass on Hull. We will probably take two days to move on to West Virginia if it is more than 10 hours like you say. We won't plan any stops but take a route that is reasonably direct but also passes by potential paddling or hiking spots along the way. We will focus on day hikes and day paddles, but will be prepared for some car camping and away from the car camping also. Might stop in Mystic or New London, or somewhere nice on the Hudson. Playing it by ear, but have a base in Charleston West Virginia as we have some friends that live there. We would prefer water temps above 40F, but can handle colder if it isn't rough and its a nice day. We have cold water gear. Avoiding white water this time of year, but will be doing some downriver races in Maine later in Spring and Summer. Nothing extreme though. For now we are looking for places we can paddle comfortably in both directions, and not too cold. I think in West Virginia it has alot to do with where you are relative to the Dams. We will take pictures and post a vid when we are done. Might pop down to Northern Virginia and the AT. Will see what the weatherman brings.

Rosaleen
2013-01-21, 14:42
I have some kayaking friends in Delaware and Virginia (fairly near the Shenandoah National Park). I can ask their advice about paddles along the way, if you wish. From MA, one of the better ways to drive to West Virginia might be I-90-I-84, I-81, then maybe I-64, depending on what part of WV you wish to reach.

If you take I-84, through Connecticut into Pennsylvania, you will cross the AT near the Delaware Water Gap, a lovely area with possible camping and paddling opportunities. Check on Dingmans Ferry Campground news. I heard that the person running it left the area, so it closed early this year. The hope was that it would be running by spring, but right now and March, who knows? There may also have been road damage from Hurricane Sandy, again check. The I-84 route will take you west of the nasty "Northeast Corridor" which has incredibly heavy traffic. Hubby and I made the mistake of following I-95 past Washington, DC, one summer. After many traffic delays traveling through Connecticut, we finally arrived in New York City and spent 2 hours trying to drive the FIVE MILES through the Bronx (a part of NYC) along I-95. Sure, traffic was extra heavy that day, but still well beyond ridiculous. There was a lot of road construction, it was hot, and there were way too many cars and trucks trying to go through the area. We couldn't see around the trucks in front of us to know whether there was a construction obstruction, or one of the several cars that had "broken down" in the heat. We came to believe that this was not a very unusual situation because there were people walking around with buckets of iced spring water bottles for sale. This had to happen rather frequently for some enterprising people to start doing this.

There is a BEAUTIFUL section of I-68, heading west from I-81 where WV, PA, and Maryland more or less meet. I don't know if you want to drive that way into Morgantown, WV and then south, but it is pretty, and the Potomac River runs near a portion of it. There are some campsites and likely places to put in for a comfortable paddle. Driving from the area of the Shenandoahs to Ohio, I decided to take that route and was just awestruck at the beauty, crossing the mountains at the WV visitor center. I looked along the way for a campsite and later realized the river I was looking at was the Potomac. There were some rather primitive sites for camping. The one I looked at and left had portable potties and not much else. The C&O Canal tow path has been developed into a 90 or so mile hiking and biking path. If you stop in the Harpers Ferry, WV, area you should be able to find another part of it.

JAK
2013-01-21, 17:32
That is great information. Thanks Rosaleen. I am so used to heading down the I95 and navigating by way around NYC but since I am not ultimately heading down the I95 it makes alot more sense to cross the Hudson further north like you suggest, even if I want to catch Mystic Seaport or New London I can scoot back up to the I-84, and might get enough of the ocean this time of year at Hull. The places you suggest along the way to West Virginia sound awesome. Will try and follow the AT for awhile also, maybe cross it more than once, before going over to the other side into West Virginia. Will check out some of those links, plans some routes, and bring a water thermometer. :-)

JAK
2013-01-21, 17:56
Going down to -8F this week by Thursday morning. Wednesday is forecast for a daily high of -2F. That's keep the cats in weather.

Rosaleen
2013-01-21, 19:31
Brrr! We are getting snow right now, but we are probably 20-30 F warmer.

If you wish to visit Mystic Seaport, you may as well get back onto I-95 to I-287, then take I-80 west. It will cross the Delaware River and go right by the Delaware Water Gap Visitor Center. They will have up-to-date info as to which areas are accessible and I picked up a free map of local hiking trails there. Mohegan Outdoor Center is nearby. They have bunks and campsites (fee). If you drive up Rt 209, there is another visitor center and Dingmans Campground. A lot of damage was done by some of the hurricanes in the last 2-3 years, so you will want to check on road closures. I-80 should be open, but not all of the small roads: Even Rt 209 was closed.

If you decide to travel I-90 all the way across MA, rather than picking up I-84 west of Worcester, the AT crosses I-90 near Lee. There is a foot bridge across the the Interstate that always makes me smile to see it. There are also several points close to I-84 and I-81 where you could stop and access the AT. Let me know later if I should PM you more info.

JAK
2013-01-22, 19:49
Thanks Rosaleen.

Rosaleen
2013-01-23, 14:14
JAK-

Another suggestion for you and all travelers: GasBuddy.com or a similar site. Their prices are not always accurate, but should be close. When I last drove home from Ohio, I was able to click on a city along the route, then continue to follow each road to see not only prices, but WHERE the gas stations were with respect to Interstate exits. Sometimes gas is shown as a service avaliable at exits, but the providers are MILES away. What a pain! Also, not only do gas prices fluctuate greatly from state-to-state, but sometimes by county. Considering driving miles left in my tank compared to miles to the next stop shown on my GPS, I was able to determine how much "expensive" gas I needed to buy to get to a fill-up point. CT, and NY gasoline taxes are much higher than MA (which are high) and PA, WV taxes are much higher than OH. VA varies widely by county. Let the Internet help you figure out how to best manage yor travel expenses.

JAK
2013-01-23, 22:36
Great stuff. Thanks.

JAK
2013-01-27, 10:50
After more research looking at maps, don't know the area and never really studied the geography just know a little from history, and after Rosaleens great input I am compelled to do the Shenandoah starting at Harpers Ferry and doing daily upstream then quick back downstream paddles once or twice a day, and some trail running and hiking and camping in the nearby AT up on the ridge. Not sure how far we can get upriver doing it in stages but we can skip bits. Downriver Margaret tends to rest too much. Me too. Not sure how cold the water is first two weeks of March, and whether there is any ice coming down from the streams ( Runs? ) but I think it should be doable as we will be training here starting first of April when he river breaks up here. We could do some of the Pontomac and the Canal but something about a single focus on the Shenandoah is appealling. Some parts might be hard to get by upriver but it looks like a river you can stay out of the current even during Spring highwater and just go hard or portage past the difficult parts, or us that as the turn around point for that section. If by a road we could run back for the car and move on. Would like to do some hiking and camping up on the AT, not sure what sort of drive that would add mid-day, and then back the next morning. Want to use as much daylight as possible for activity. 12 hours that time of year. But sunset up high would be awesome and we could hike a little after dark.

Rosaleen
2013-01-27, 11:21
In March, both the air and water are likely to be cold. The air even more so as one moves up in elevation. How cold, I can't say. The climb from Harpers Ferry on the AT is a tough one. After climbing down, I looked up and was shocked at what I had just traversed. That was over 10 years ago. In case you need to escape the cold, check to see whether or not the hostel near Harpers Ferry is open in March. It might be less expensive than a motel. There is also a KOA campground in the area, opening/closing dates should be available. Depending on the gear you have with you, you might be able to plug in a heater to warm your tent. Sportsmans Guide may be the place where I spotted a 12 VCD warming bag. One of the 12 VDC blankets that plug into your car's outlet might be a good thing to have. I keep one in my Chevy HHR. I chose that car for its 30 MPG or better gas mileage and the fact that I can flip the back seat flat to sleep in my car. I haven't been so cold as to need the electric blanket, but it is a good safety feature. A battery power pack could keep the blanket going in your tent, if you can find an AC-available place to recharge it. The campground host charged mine for me when I used it to power other devices. I suspect you are creative enough to apply any suggestions to your personal best advantage. As always your and my "MMV."

Also, if you are near Harpers Ferry you are in-range of Gathland State Park in MD which has a good parking lot not too far from an AT access, Adirondack-style shelter, and camping are via a blue blazed trail. Plus, the C&O Tow PATH and its trail should be nearby. It will offer a smooth trail paralleling the river for a walk back to a camping area, and your vehicle. Most of the water spigots are likely to be turned off that time of year, so be prepared to filter or obtain water in towns.

Enjoy!

JAK
2013-01-28, 05:35
Gathland State Park sounds good, and that whole area sounds great for flat water paddling

JAK
2013-01-28, 05:44
Thanks Rosaleen. We would like to see how far we can paddle up the Shenandoah Valley, in stages, but there is a good chance it won't be much farther than Front Royal and it will be good to have Harper's Ferry area to fall back on. Don't want to spend too much time driving once we are there, so will probably not be heading up into the hills every day. Maybe finding a few hikes up into the park, so will be looking at access trails that are also hand to launch sites, and then zigzagging with the car up the valley, launch site / access trail / launch site / access trail. Camping somewhere up the access trails or on the way back down or back in the car and on to the next launch site.

Rosaleen
2013-01-28, 08:22
I hope you can find time to check out the National Historic Park at Harpers Ferry, as well as the ATC center in town.

Enjoy!

JAK
2013-01-28, 15:21
Will do. Hope to plant some seeds for Margaret to develop a life long interest in history and trails and outdoor adventure.

Rosaleen
2013-01-28, 15:33
Great! I can't say that it worked so well for my kids. They don't seem to be pursuing outdoor interests, beyond paintball and watching sports. I can say that the kids did draw on their experiences visiting National Parks to beef up their school reports. Somethings, at least, clicked. My parents used to take us to many of the same Parks. Great memories!

JAK
2013-01-28, 20:39
Maybe they will change when they have kids. Not sure I am getting through to Margaret either. All I can do is expose her to as much of it as I can, and hopefully nature will do the rest, without much consequence. She goes to public school, but the way I keep dragging her off into nature it's kinda like she is getting home schooled.

“If one's different, one's bound to be lonely.”
― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

Rosaleen
2013-01-28, 20:57
Not seeing grandkids in our future. May have to work on neices and nephews or friends' kids.

JAK
2013-01-29, 09:01
Bummer. I like your attitude though.

Found an excellent online resource for historical water temperatures and water levels...
http://maps.waterdata.usgs.gov/mapper/index.html
It's a bit spotty, but you can get good a good idea by checking different data sites.

Another good online resource, this one for launch sites...
http://www.paddling.net/launches/
It doesn't have every possible launch site, but it gives you socially acceptable ones which is what I'm after. lol

JAK
2013-01-29, 09:12
Thinking now about spreading our adventure out a bit, maybe a day at Delaware Water Gap, the Harper's Ferry, then work the Shenandoah, and play it by ear depending on rainfall forecasts and water levels. Still looking into access to the AT from various points in the Shenandoah Valley, should we want to paddle and hike up high on the same day. Might have to make the access the major part of the hike depending on road closures and gates or what not. Not sure yet. I don't think we will be able to get too far up the Shenandoah South Fork during spring runoff as we are not interested in whitewater, and don't really want to be on rivers when we can't paddle up them, then turn around to head back to our launch site. We can handle some current especially if there are bends to stay out of main current, and short portages, but will basically turn around once we see something we don't want to run down. This is in part for safety and also because we both get too lazy if we do all our paddling downstream, even though it is the best way to cover more territory.

There is a race in Maine end of March, and in Rhode Island the following weekend, so if I can't get the first week of March off work I will try and get the first week of April do the St.George River race on the way down and the Narrow River Race on the way back home. Water should be warmer by then and should still have time to drive, paddle, and hike our way down the AT on the week in between and get up the Shenandoah.

http://maine-matters.blogspot.ca/2012/04/st-george-river-race.html
http://www.surfskiracing.com/

JAK
2013-01-29, 09:35
I think I found the access maps, and the trails once I get up into the park from the valley...
http://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/mapshiking.htm

Hog On Ice
2013-01-29, 09:37
there are four main access points for Shen NP - Skyline Drive off of 340 in Front Royal, 211 crossing Skyline Dr up from Luray, 33 crossing Skyline Dr up from Harrisonburg / Elkton, and Skyline Dr off of 250 / I64 up from Waynesboro at Afton Mtn. The AT is generally fairly close to Skyline Dr., other access points for other trails in SNP can be found from http://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/upload/SHEN_Boundary_Trailhead_Access.pdf - these other trails usually connect to the AT after a few miles of up hill hiking.

JAK
2013-01-29, 21:10
Excellent resource. Thanks Hog On Ice.

auburnbreeze
2013-01-31, 12:37
I paddled the New River Bridge area in West Virginia once on March 15th! It was COLD! Even in wet suits! Had a great time and it even snowed while we were on the river! Took a bunch of teenagers and lots of them were saying they never wanted to do that again! Me, I'd go back tomorrow. The air temp is what was killer. The river was cold but with the wet suits, it wasn't too bad. The greater challenge was coming out of the rapids getting wet, then the air temp would hit you even harder. Lots of chattering teeth!

JAK
2013-02-01, 04:16
Great stuff. Thanks auburnbreeze.

JAK
2013-02-01, 04:30
The Strength of Fields
BY JAMES L. DICKEY
... a separation from the world, a penetration to some source of power and a life-enhancing return ...
Van Gennep: Rites de Passage
Moth-force a small town always has,

Given the night.

What field-forms can be,
Outlying the small civic light-decisions over
A man walking near home?
Men are not where he is
Exactly now, but they are around him around him like the strength

Of fields. The solar system floats on
Above him in town-moths.
Tell me, train-sound,
With all your long-lost grief,
what I can give.
Dear Lord of all the fields
what am I going to do?
Street-lights, blue-force and frail
As the homes of men, tell me how to do it how
To withdraw how to penetrate and find the source
Of the power you always had
light as a moth, and rising
With the level and moonlit expansion
Of the fields around, and the sleep of hoping men.

You? I? What difference is there? We can all be saved

By a secret blooming. Now as I walk
The night and you walk with me we know simplicity
Is close to the source that sleeping men
Search for in their home-deep beds.
We know that the sun is away we know that the sun can be conquered
By moths, in blue home-town air.
The stars splinter, pointed and wild. The dead lie under
The pastures. They look on and help. Tell me, freight-train,
When there is no one else
To hear. Tell me in a voice the sea
Would have, if it had not a better one: as it lifts,
Hundreds of miles away, its fumbling, deep-structured roar
Like the profound, unstoppable craving
Of nations for their wish.
Hunger, time and the moon:

The moon lying on the brain
as on the excited sea as on
The strength of fields. Lord, let me shake
With purpose. Wild hope can always spring
From tended strength. Everything is in that.
That and nothing but kindness. More kindness, dear Lord
Of the renewing green. That is where it all has to start:
With the simplest things. More kindness will do nothing less
Than save every sleeping one
And night-walking one

Of us.
My life belongs to the world. I will do what I can.

JAK
2013-02-01, 10:23
Impressive stuff:


IN THE LAND WHERE WE WERE DREAMING
by Daniel Bedinger Lucas
(1836-1909)

Fair were our nation's visions, and as grand
As ever floated out of fancy-land;
Children we were in simple faith,
But god-like children, whom nor death,
Nor threat of danger drove from honor's path --
In the land where we were dreaming!

Proud were our men as pride of birth could render,
As violets our women pure and tender;
And when they spoke, their voices thrill
At evening hushed the whip-poor-will,
At morn the mocking bird was mute and still,
In the land where we were dreaming!

And we had graves that covered more of glory,
Than ever taxed the lips of ancient story;
And in our dreams we wove the thread
Of principles for which had bled,
And suffered long our own immortal dead,
In the land where we were dreaming!

Tho' in our land we had both bond and free,
Both were content, and so God let them be;
Till Northern glances, slanting down,
With envy viewed our harvest sun --
But little recked we, for we still slept on,
In the land where we were dreaming!

Our sleep grew troubled; and our dreams grew wild;
Red meteors flashed across our heaven's field;
Crimson the Moon; between the Twins
Barbed arrows flew in circling lanes
Of light, red Comets tossed their fiery manes
O'er the land where we were dreaming!

Down from her eagle height smiled Liberty,
And waved her hand in sign of victory;
The world approved, and everywhere,
Except where growled the Russian bear,
The brave, the good and just gave us their prayer,
For the land where we were dreaming!

High o'er our heads a starry flag was seen,
Whose field was blanched, and spotless in its sheen;
Chivalry's cross its union bears,
And by his scars each vet'ran swears
To bear it on in triumph through the wars,
In the land where we were dreaming!

We fondly thought a Government was ours --
We challenged place among the world's great powers;
We talk'd in sleep of rank, commission,
Until so life-like grew the vision,
That he who dared to doubt but met derision,
In the land where we were dreaming!

A figure came among us as we slept --
At first he knelt, then slowly rose and wept;
Then gathering up a thousand spears,
He swept across the field of Mars,
Then bowed farewell and walked behind the stars,
From the land where we were dreaming!

We looked again, another figure still
Gave hope, and nerved each individual will;
Erect he stood, as clothed with power;
Self-poised, he seemd to rule the hour,
With firm, majestic sway, -- of strength a tower,
In the land where we were dreaming!

As while great Jove, in bronze, a warder god,
Gazed eastward from the Forum where he stood,
Rome felt herself secure and free, --
So Richmond, we, on guard for thee,
Beheld a bronzed hero, god-like Lee,
In the land where we were dreaming!

As wakes the soldier when the alarum calls, --
As wakes the mother when her infant falls, --
As starts the traveler when around
His sleepy couch the fire-bells sound, --
So woke our nation with a single bound --
In the land where we were dreaming!

Woe! Woe! is us, the startled mothers cried,
While we have slept, our noble sons have died!
Woe! Woe! is us, how strange and sad,
That all our glorious visions fled,
Have left us nothing real but our dead,
In the land where we were dreaming!

And are they really dead, our martyred slain?
No, Dreamers! Morn shall bid them rise again,
From every plain, -- from every height, --
On which they seemed to die for right,
Their gallant spirits shall renew the fight,
In the land where we were dreaming!

Unconquered still in soul, tho' now o'er-run,
In peace, in war, the battle's just begun!
Once this Thyestean banquet o'er,
Grown strong the few who bide their hour,
Shall rise and hurl its drunken guests from power,
In the land where we were dreaming!

john pickett
2013-02-01, 10:44
JAK, you've GOT to stop watching Dead Poets Society!
It's like meth, only takes one hit to addict.

sheepdog
2013-02-01, 11:05
ahahahahahahahahaha

Superman
2013-02-01, 11:06
Way too many words.

JAK
2013-02-02, 18:56
Yeah those pastoral poets must have had a lot of time on their hands.

JAK
2013-02-02, 19:19
So it's official. Got the first week of March of work, same as Margaret's week off school. Heading south for hiking and paddling. Just gotta fix the boat, put some wheels on the truck, and fire up the thirteen year old.

JAK
2013-02-07, 20:31
ok. Now I am seriously looking at Fontana Lake and the BMT within GSMNP. It's a bit farther than West Virginia or Shenandoah as originally planned, but the lake looks better for the flatwater paddling we would like to do, not having to worry about Spring Runoff effecting water levels and flow rates in a serious way, and the hiking trails would be right there, so we could leave the car in Fontana Dam or whatever and kayak and hike all week Monday-Friday. Lake and trails should be pretty secluded that time of year I should think. We would be leaving New Brunswick Friday after work and its about 24 hours of driving one way so without letting the 4'9" 13 year old do any driving we should roll into Fontana Dam Sunday night or Monday morning and pulling out the next Friday night or Saturday morning for the drive home. So we would paddle out of Fontana Dam assuming that is the best place to leave the car for the week, and pack everything for 5 days 6 nights, with paddling clothes to leave with the boat or boats and hiking clothes for day-hikes away from the boats. Any problem leaving kayaks at trail heads on the North Shore? I see there are some boat only camp-sites. Would it be best to use those or campsites at trail heads and would we still have to pick 6 different spots, I think we might want to anyways. Normally it is awkward to combine hiking and paddling but this is looking better and better.

The boats are functional, but unattractive, and an adult would not even fit in Margaret's so I would not be worried so much about theft or damage, we would just have to hike out if something happened to the boats while we were hiking. Any ideas best place to leave car for week not too far from the lake. Boats are easy to carry. Any other safety concerns, other than cold water, snow, sleet. Bears? People? What's up with the Bears in early March. My usual course of action when hiking with Margaret is to carry a large stick and hang food and share a tent. Any idea which campsites if any to avoid near Fontana Lake because they might be too popular with sketchy bears or people? Will probably still do some hiking and paddling on the drive down and the drive back, to break up the drive and see more of the country along the way. Delaware Gap, Harper's Ferry, etc. Researching the driving plans and stops now. Getting the 13 year old ready for boot camp. Plan is 8-10 hours of hiking and paddling each day. Paddle - Hike - Hike - Paddle that sort of thing. Low intensity, high volume. Then again she is 13, and has a mind of her own. There is that. lol

Roots
2013-02-07, 20:43
the problem would be with the private land around the lake. you might want to research a little more into it just to make sure. Fontana is a great place to leave a car for a week but I honestly don't know or have heard of anyone doing the lake and camp thing for a week. PLUS the GSMNP borders some of the lake. If you'd like to hike, try looking at the Lake Shore Trail. Nice trail and not too tough.

Rosaleen
2013-02-07, 21:11
I'm not going to be any help from the kayaking aspect. I will tell you that parking is very close to the shelter at Fontana Dam. In case you haven't heard, the shelter there is gorgeous. Hikers refer to it as the Fontana Hilton. The parking lot is huge and is actually not one, but several. There are showers near the dam. Actually, there are showers near the shelter, IIRC, but I they were turned off when I was there several years ago. I hiked between the Nantahala Outdoor Center and Fontana 3 or 4 years ago. I seem to remember the AT crossing a road maybe a mile or two before the shelter area and walking past quite a few small boats-like maybe kayaks being transported. My friend stayed there as I continued to the shelter area where my car was. I was booking it to come back and pick her up, so wasn't much paying attention. Possibly an outfitter used that space as a drop-off or pick up. There is a motel that is hiker-friendly near by. They might shuttle you to a point where you can hike back to your car or kayak. Ask around some more, I would imagine there are lots of possibilities.

BTW-Even though the Smokies are on the TN/NC line, it can be cold there. Mountains are tricky. Thru-hikers have gotten into trouble with snow storms even later in the year than March. I thru-hiked The Smokies in August close to 8 years back. Even with 90 F afternoons, I used my Montbell down sweater when I first got up in the morning. When I went to bed, it was too hot for my sleeping bag and I slept in a silk tank top and shorts. Crazy temperature changes...

Bears-Around the dam, I didn't see any warning signs or hear about problems. Check anyway...

I could be developing some envy for your trip...

JAK
2013-02-07, 21:15
I was thinking of doing all of the hiking and camping in GSMNP. Paddle from Fontana Dam and camp, hike up a trail and have lunch, hike back down and paddle to next site and camp. Repeat 5 times. So looks like camping at 5 or 6 of the trail heads on the Lake. 90 87 86 81 77 76 98 74. or maybe some of the water only campsites. 87 73 72. Do they all need to be registered in advance now with the new rules? May as well I guess. Good to have a float and hike plan. What is cell phone coverage like on the North shore of the lake, for emergency use?

http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/upload/BC-Map-july-11.pdf

JAK
2013-02-07, 21:22
Planning on temperature range of 20F to 60F, but the plan would be lunch up at elevation and camp at lake level Paddle. morning and evening hoping to avoid higher winds mid day ??? or at least to have 2 chances of good paddling weather instead of one. Assuming 12 hours of daylight. 2-3 hours for morning paddle. 2-3 hours for late morning hike. 2-3 hours for afternoon hike. 2-3 hours for evening paddle but close to camp. Move camp in early morning paddle so delays will be into daylight hours. Again, have to be flexible depending on the needs of the Little Grandmother. Hoping for water temp 45-50F by then. Weather, who knows. If too windy for paddling then we hike, or rest. Any idea of prevailing winds on the Lake? Mountain winds? I'm going to youtube to look around.

This would be a cold wind in early March, especially with rain or sleet or snow with it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSr_A-eqaN0
I'm sure we will see some of that, and with lakes and mountains it can come unexpected.
I would presume the rangers would understand if the camp plan changes with the weather.

Pretty spot, even without the Mountains.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAPg79cW1ww

generoll
2013-02-07, 21:43
check out this site for water temps.

http://www.fishingnotes.com/lakeinfo.php?id=19953

Roots
2013-02-07, 21:58
Also, early March can bring late snow storms. Just make sure you have what you need in case that happens. :)

Skidsteer
2013-02-07, 22:08
JAK, in case you aren't reading between the lines here because everyone is trying to be polite there is something you should know and I'll just tell you straight up.

We all know you're from Canada and are thick blooded and thick headed and all that but here's the thing. It can get ass-clenching cold in the mountains down here in Winter and early Spring. And you won't believe the wind out on the water.

You might luck up and have really mild temps but don't plan your trip based on that. Bring your warm stuff.

Have fun.

ed bell
2013-02-07, 23:01
I'll help with the paddling aspect...a few points to consider.

The water is cold even during summer in Lake Fontana. Winter/Early Spring air temperatures will not be warm and may be frigid. Tipping over without a SOLID plan for that could get very messy. You said the boats are "functional but not attractive". That isn't a very good description of your boats. I believe the boats will be key to your enjoyment/ success with this plan. I would want sea-kayaks with full winter paddling dress and spray skirts for 5 nights/ 6 days on Fontana considering 6 hours EVERY DAY paddling. Shores are steep and water levels are very much influenced by the Dam. In winter, there is often more than 25 feet taken out of the lake and I've seen pictures that look like 50+ feet out.

Wind will absolutely keep you from paddling in the condition you showed under the caption :"This would be a cold wind in early March, especially with rain or sleet or snow with it." You won't be on the water if it's like that, unless you are very experienced, and even then, you would most likely say....eh, not worth it....

I'd totally recommend your choice of destination, but I'd encourage you to be far more conservative with the plan of 6 hours a day on Fontana for 5 or 6 days. Choose a reasonable camp for day 1 in the Smokys...stay there for two nights and hike/camp while based there. Move on forward from there, repeat. Just something to consider.

Hog On Ice
2013-02-07, 23:16
wrt to cell phone coverage - I do known that there is coverage at least for Verizon along the Lake Shore trail - that is to say I made a call from one of the Lake Shore campsites with no trouble (good thing too I had done a face plant and was trying to decide if I had broke my nose or not - talked it over with my support person, Fridge) This was back in '09 - coverage is probably better now.

ed bell
2013-02-07, 23:20
Like so...this is lower than normal for winter, but the lake is always lower in winter.

4703

ed bell
2013-02-07, 23:58
Tough as hell to get camp set with a beach like that......Levels might be far better in March, but I don't know. Worth considering.

JAK
2013-02-08, 05:10
Thanks for the excellent information on the lake and the high probability of encountering extreme conditions which can come unexpected and steep shorelines which make emergency landing difficult. We will be prepared for capsize and wet recovery in rough conditions, but there are limits on how long you can endure them even with enclosed boats and winter clothing. The potential for steep lee shores and low water levels concerns me as much as getting blown across or down the lake. It's a big lake, in mountains, in March, and I've never been on it, and I'll have Margaret with me. I'll take another look at distances. On a good day we could potentially paddle half the length of the lake, but on a bad day, we could find ourselves fine one minute and in real fix the next with wind out of nowhere and no place to get to.

JAK
2013-02-08, 05:13
Thanks for the excellent information on the lake and the high probability of encountering extreme conditions which can come unexpected and steep shorelines which make emergency landing difficult. We will be prepared for capsize and wet recovery in rough conditions, but there are limits on how long you can endure them even with enclosed boats and winter clothing. The potential for steep lee shores and low water levels concerns me as much as getting blown across or down the lake. It's a big lake, in mountains, in March, and I've never been on it, and I'll have Margaret with me. I'll take another look at distances. On a good day we could potentially paddle half the length of the lake, but on a bad day, we could find ourselves fine one minute and in real fix the next with wind out of nowhere and no place to get to.

and Holy crap...
http://hikinghq.net/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=4703&d=1360293581
It's like the Bay of Fundy at low tide.

How much can the water level drop overnight if they open the sluice gates in advance of a heavy rainfall warning? I read someplace they rarely do that, like once in 10 years or so for flood management, but it happens. It wouldn't be the worst thing, but it is one more thing.

JAK
2013-02-08, 05:32
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tm5sL2U_lgw

So I guess it has already been done this past January, just a few weeks ago. I presume they will keep the water low until the threat of spring flooding subsides, so they can hold back water when needed. So that is what we will be looking at pretty much everywhere until maybe after we are gone. Unless of course we are there when the heavy rains come. lol

Well that could change things. Great pic by the way. Good to know what we are UP against. I wonder what it looks like where the mountain streams enter the lake and at the various campsites I was hoping for. Might have to scout first, paddle second weather permitting. Maybe get a power boat to give us a quick tour of the lake first day and get some local knowledge in the bargain. Local kayak outfitter would be a good source also. Might be worth the rental fee just for the information and support even of we still bring our own boats.

JAK
2013-02-08, 06:06
p.s. Thanks for the vote of confidence about thick blood and all, but I'm getting old enough now to know I am dumber than shit when it comes to places I haven't done or been yet, and the second time is usually worse than the first. lol

JAK
2013-03-05, 20:24
Had to postpone until after some car repairs.
Probably just as well until lake fills back up some.

Rosaleen
2013-03-05, 21:17
Bummer! I understand about the car repairs. My son is taking over my car until he can procure another and hubby had mine a few weeks ago while his was in for repairs. I was driving to meet some friends and maybe from there to see my mother. At least I found a decent air fare for the first part. Now we have a big snowstorm coming, so as long as my flight goes, at least I'm not trying to drive through it. I don't remember if you gave a date beyond "March," but this storm would mess up travel from at least MA through VA for a few days, which would be hard on you going through the Delaware Water Gap and down to the Smokies. Be sure to recheck road conditions where you wish to drive, other than Interstates. Some of the smaller roads have had washouts, landslides, etc. (I-40 is an exception to Interstates unlikely to have issues. They can have rockslide problems, IIRC.) It could be worse, we at least don't have huge numbers of people freezing to death or injured by meteor strikes...

JAK
2013-03-06, 20:59
Looks like we missed some snow this week, depending on how up we might have ventured. Wonder what the water levels are like on the lake. Still hope to make a trip south once we get the cars settled. Also working on motivating the teenager. Tricky business. She is a great kid, but it's like changing operating systems every 3 months.

Skidsteer
2013-03-06, 21:03
Looks like we missed some snow this week, depending on how up we might have ventured. Wonder what the water levels are like on the lake. Still hope to make a trip south once we get the cars settled. Also working on motivating the teenager. Tricky business. She is a great kid, but it's like changing operating systems every 3 months.

I don't think you understand.

The water levels on the lake are low right now. They are always low this time of year no matter how much rain we receive. And the technical term for this year's rainfall is a shit ton.

Why are lake levels always low this time of year? Because people with pointy heads decide to make it so.

SGT Rock
2013-03-06, 21:38
They need hats.

Rosaleen
2013-03-06, 22:18
Hmm-Teenager and "operating system shifts." I'm thinking fluctuating hormones. It is a tough time for her as well as the family. At least it can be so. I am convinced that once the hormones hit, oxygen perfusion to the brain is over until about 25 YO, boys or girls. It is probably why the Armed Forces take 18 YO recruits. They still think they are invincible. Once blood flow to the brain is restored, people start realizing their own actions have tangible (and painful) consequences and a lot of things around them are ridiculous. (bull****) Notice that car insurance rates go down for 25 YO drivers, many car rentals and hotel rooms are not available to renters under 25, or at least 21 (rooms).

It sounds as if you are continuing to work on your relationship with your daughter. good for you! It is likely to pay off in the long run.

mudhead
2013-03-07, 19:06
I don't think you understand.

The water levels on the lake are low right now. They are always low this time of year no matter how much rain we receive. And the technical term for this year's rainfall is a shit ton.

Why are lake levels always low this time of year? Because people with pointy heads decide to make it so.


Aren't they required to release a certain amount of water?

Skidsteer
2013-03-07, 19:43
Aren't they required to release a certain amount of water?

I suppose you could state it that way. They're required to release as much water as TVA decides to release.

Hog On Ice
2013-03-07, 19:54
which I think is somewhat determined by the need for electricity but I could be wrong

JAK
2013-03-08, 07:16
The pictures of the lake levels earlier in the thread are really freaky.

Big Mac
2013-03-08, 08:04
That lake is there for flood control and electricity generation. Recreation is just a byproduct. They aren't going to keep it full just for all y'all.


😀

john pickett
2013-03-08, 09:01
Don't tell the politicians that! They'll pass a American Recreation Access bill and the lakes, streams, parks will all be screwed up!

JAK
2013-03-24, 21:35
Well it's not Fontana Lake on the BMT, but here it is...

8km Bike / Run / Paddle
Milkish Inlet, New Brunswick
Palm Sunday. March 24, 2013


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glrjjWNC1o8

Rosaleen
2013-03-25, 00:02
Was it fun?

We had a pretty good snow cover this morning here, west of Boston, but with a lot of sun, I saw some large patches of bare ground by late afternoon. Cape Cod was hit again after we were, so it is possible that around Hull, there might have been snow on the ground where you would have been putting your kayaks in. We had a teaser that there may be snow in tonight's forecast, so you may be just as happy not to have made the trip here. TN/NC could be another story.

I've been looking at hiking along the C&O Canal Towpath in May. It looks like a good place to paddle and camp. You might get a shuttle back to your car or just hike back along the path. A quick search should get you to the NPS C&O site, as well as some associations that support it, plus a Yahoo group. Or, PM me and I can send you some links that I've found. I don't have them on this computer or I'd add them now.

mudhead
2013-03-25, 11:33
I suppose you could state it that way. They're required to release as much water as TVA decides to release.

I figured it was a fed thing or a downstream agreement with somebody. Some snail or minnow needs it's water...

JAK
2013-03-25, 20:20
Was it fun?

We had a pretty good snow cover this morning here, west of Boston, but with a lot of sun, I saw some large patches of bare ground by late afternoon. Cape Cod was hit again after we were, so it is possible that around Hull, there might have been snow on the ground where you would have been putting your kayaks in. We had a teaser that there may be snow in tonight's forecast, so you may be just as happy not to have made the trip here. TN/NC could be another story.

I've been looking at hiking along the C&O Canal Towpath in May. It looks like a good place to paddle and camp. You might get a shuttle back to your car or just hike back along the path. A quick search should get you to the NPS C&O site, as well as some associations that support it, plus a Yahoo group. Or, PM me and I can send you some links that I've found. I don't have them on this computer or I'd add them now.Yeah it was a good first paddle of the year. I had to be really careful because the water was as cold as it gets, like 30F because it is a bit Brackish on that part of the river. I know I was dressed for a swim, but didn't really think she was, so I wanted to get her wet enough to break the ice, and understand where she needs to focus more attention on function and less attention to fashion. Next time we must swim. So she will shop and dress with that in mind. She is a stubborn thing, which is just fine, but the river may not always find her as charming as her Mum and Dad. I thing she gets that. She is also pretty smart, and not a boy, which does help some.

Rosaleen
2013-03-27, 09:57
Speaking of the pretty smart and not a boy-If your wife and daughter haven't had much experience with blocks of time living in the outdoors, point them to some reading dealing with female issues. I can PM you some info or connect with them, if you like. I don't want to subject the whole board to such mattters. WomenHikers@yahoogroups.com, a women-only list, is a much better forum for the topic.

JAK
2013-03-27, 20:17
Thanks Rosaleen. Not an issue yet, but something I need to think about.
She has a young aunt and her mother my sister that are very outdoorsy. Thanks.

Rosaleen
2013-03-27, 20:30
Good-These things can sneak up on a young lady. No one wants a surprise on the trail, but it happens even to "experienced" women. Best to be prepared, which it seems you are.

JAK
2013-04-06, 23:02
4886I did it again. Why do I keep falling on my face. Had a great 10 mile hike around Milkish Inlet and Telegraph Hill on the Kingston Penninsula. It is was very windy and cold so we thought we would do a 9km hike before a short paddle, then I fell on my face and we went on a detour and it turned into 17km, 3.5 hours, so we ran the last 7km and still caught the ferry. Girls got stamina. Next time we bring a map, and stuff. Going down to around 18F tonight. Good t hink we are out of the woods dress like that. Should be nice next week so we wilI l paddle some more. :-)

JAK
2013-04-15, 07:14
Got some video of her paddling form from the covered bridge. We have about 20km on the water so far this spring, and some trail running and hiking but no overnights yet. She didn't flip be the bird in this one, so that's progress I guess.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYljBqtN1ww

JAK
2013-04-16, 19:08
Got a 10k run in this morning in 53:26 at 80% heart rate reserve. Happy with that, considering I'm still 50 pounds overweight for best running weight. Not so happy about the extra 50 pounds. Working on that. Margaret and my wife go to the gym in the morning now, so I hitch a ride and run home and we get home about same time. Works out. Need to slow down to 60-70% though if I want to keep this up.

JAK
2013-05-04, 19:42
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83DN6A-yvzY

Rosaleen
2013-05-09, 10:51
JAK-

Nice video. Many of us would be happy to shed a few pounds. Congrats on the running.

I hooked up with some friends and camped a few nights by the C&O Canal. There are some beautiful campsites by the water, some drive-up, some walk/bike-up. It would be a great place for a kayak/hike/bike trip. There is a C&O group at YahooGroups where you can get great info, as well as several sites. No showers, running water, etc., but the pumps water is potable and the portable toilets are frequently maintained (so far). Showers can be had at some municpal pools and at least one bike shop in towns along the route.

If you get down this way, consider a paddle here.

Cheers!

Rosaleen

JAK
2013-05-09, 11:01
will do. thanks Rosaleen.

p.s. Hope you liked the last video. She really gets moving at the end of her last loop 4:15 to the finish.