Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New post finally! New paddler, too

Originally uploaded by Iron Bieso
Two of my best friends ever - Keith P1050429and BrianP1050393 - joined me for a little op on Grass Lake just west of SIoux Falls last weekend. Keith was a novice's novice, not having paddled in several years and while we considered the Big Sioux River, we decided against it because it is so high.

Grass Lake seemed like a smarter, safer choice, and the pelicans agreed!

We hit the water before noon, and we had the lake to ourselves. The temps were mid 80s but the wind was pretty much non-existent, pry 3-5 mph from the west.

Keith had little if any difficulty making his way down the lake. It was fun to watch him learn, and I took care not to over-coach, as that is all one needs when they are learning something, to have someone constantly shouting new advices.

We covered the length of the lake, but we saw no critters on any banks. We did have pelican accompaniment, and that was pleasant, and we were able to hop out at one point and stretch and just relax.

It was a great on the water and a good way to get this blog back on track. Big thanks to Keith and Brian for their journeys to join me in Sioux Falls for a fun day on the water. I think now Keith will pry seek out more paddling operations. I hope so.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Finally - we are back on this bloggo

Hola amigos, amigas!

Been a long time since we got cracking on this blog. Just finished a pool event last Sunday and hope for another one on March 28. Want to join us? Write Jarett at


We'lll update this more often in the near future.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Vikes win for my inaugural Lambeau visit

Originally uploaded by Iron Bieso
Not paddling related, but the nature of the game warrants this transgression.

Got to see Favre return to Lambeau. Got to see that, and watch the Vikes establish the distance between themselves and their archrival.

It was awesome. Here's some pix.

Video coming, including my first-person take on the "First Snap of Favre" which is cool.

Praise Cheesus!



More pix at Iron Bieso on Flickr.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Lake Benton - Found the island

Originally uploaded by Iron Bieso
I took off about 4 p.m. Sunday, July 19, and drove to Lake Benton, determined to find the island all the maps show on the far northern/eastern end of the lake.

But I had no idea where to put in to best reach the island. I drove through town, then past it a little ways and took a left to head towards the lake. P1010963

I hit water and a nice little beach perfect for kayak launching. The area was dotted with benches but there was really no one around, so I got unloaded and on the water. P1010967

Conditions were ideal - little if any winds, mild temperatures and plenty of sun. I was not alone on this long lake in Minnesota, there were plenty of folks out and about on boats either fishing or skiing. I guess the green hue of the water did not dissuade anyone from getting out on a summery afternoon.P1010973

I made good time up the southern/eastern shore of the lake, passing mostly cabins and boat docks. P1010977I kept reaching points and thinking "The island will certainly be around this one" but after about four of those, I was ready for a leg-stretching break, so I took one.

I finally rounded a bend and noticed what appeared to be an island off to the left. I headed out to it to make sure, then stopped on a strip of sand.P1010995

Sure enough, it was the island, and it has its own pond/swamp. P1010997 There was also a cabin out on the island. I circumnavigated the whole thing - be careful, motor boats, there's a ton of shallow water around this isle - and shot this cool "from the deck" video of the back side.

I saw a few herons, a few sea gulls, and then it was time to gun it back to the car some three miles down the shore.

Lake Benton is cloudy with algae now, but it's still a good place to paddle for me.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Been a while - catching up

Originally uploaded by Iron Bieso
Summer has taken flight, leaving me away from the keys and this blog.

Hope everyone's been on the water a TON.

We have. Here's some bringing you up to speed stuff. The viddy above is from the Missouri River and our trip with Jimmy Z.

I just realized I have not posted since the May trip. That's sucky. Sorry.

We went to Verm to see Jim and the rain let up later on Saturday and we did High Lines to Clay County. It was great. Look how close we were to this eagle.

There were two that day, and we saw a deer swim across in front us, all the way across a good 50-yard stretch. It was pretty amazing. Herons galore, too.


We had good weather, pry cause we dressed for rain. It was a fun run, and that route takes about 90 minutes to 2 hours. It's an easy put-in and take out.


The following weekend we were out in the Hills, had a great time on Pactola. We considered Deerfield Lake, but the reservoir was a half-hour closer, and it was just gorgeous.

Panorama 1




We met some Black Hills paddlers on the lake, and that was nice. The water seemed colder than East River lakes, but it might have been my imagination. It temped out on my thermometer at about 60.

We had hoped to hit mucho water, but did not make it to other lakes, we were too busy enjoying time with the family.


The following weekend found us in Chamberlain for a wedding, and look at my friend, Chris, seconds after getting in the kayak for his first ever paddle.

He was a natural. He was fishing and drinking a beer and rolling a cigarette all while we bounced in the Missouri River. It was impressive.


We did not have success with the fish, but it was a fun op and I am sure Chris will want to go out again. Hopefully we'll do it soon. Keep fishing, DPZ.




I gave an intro session at Garretson the following weekend, and then over the Fourth we went to Vermillion and ran High Lines to Clay County Park again.


Laura and I, along with Dawn and Craig Myron and Bret Menard, we had a hootenanny out there on the water, and there were tons of boats and floaters and campers and such. Good action, though, that route is easy Japanesey and we enjoyed our day.

Mad world-saving props out to Rick Johns - he let us borrow a paddle because yours truly forgot to pack five - P1010640and to Jay Heath for the kayak loan so all five of us could go.

Rick's paddle is really cool, Craig and I both used it. I liked trying something new, but Craig, who was on his second-ever paddle, said he preferred the traditional wide-bladed paddle.

Thank you, Rick. Saved our bacon.


Laura is now 1 and 1 with the red boat we call Wendy, or Tippy Wendy, or Red Wendy. May 2008 she dumped in Lake Benton but rocked it and set pace all the way down the Mo on July 5.



Where will we end up next? Mille Lacs? Superior?

Not sure. Big Sioux for sure on Saturday - and there's an SDCA event at 9 a.m. Sunday, July 12, at the Klondike dam, South Dakota side, below the dam, paddle to Canton, about 3 hours.

Larry Braaten is running that show. Go join him. Why not?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

We conclude our story ...

Originally uploaded by Iron Bieso
Can't say enough how much we owe our skins to Caleb and Chris, who dialed us in before we left and literally pulled us out when we were done.

We had a nice night of camping the second night - this time along the Cheyenne River. P1000361

Caleb was right: We never suffered for a need of fuel for our fire. We could find all sorts of logs, some jammed into other trees from the recent flooding.


We awoke on Sunday - Jim led the way on getting up and at them - to another glorious morning in West River, no wind, mild temps, and another boat-load and go ... we were going to make our noon hook-up time at the SD Highway 34 Bridge.



We were making good time, but it wasn't long before we realized we would be late. Had we put in an extra hour before camping each night, perhaps we'd have been closer. Could have been the wine at night ... or the need to sleep in a bit, after all, we were on vacation.


We called a halt even though we were running behind and luckily we got a signal on a phone, texted Caleb, and had him meet us at the Four Corners Bridge instead of the one at 34. We were all pretty clueless as to how easy/hard it'd be to take out there.

It was not the former.

We originally went to the left side (west) of the bridge, but Caleb hollered down to come to the other side at the last minute. Brian and Jim made it but I was caught up in some shallows and had to hand-fight my way back into the channel. From start to finish - challenges.

Since it was almost a quarter mile from the water to the ends of the bridge (showing just how high the Cheyenne can get) we opted for a tow strap extraction.

It worked slick with the dry bags and packs ... but then up the boats had to go.


Chris and Caleb showed those SCUBA diver muscles and after the first two boats went up, it was time for my slightly-longer, heavier fiberglass job. No photos - it was hard to watch. I am sure it would have survived a fall, but alas, not fun to imagine as we watched them fight it up over the edge.


Then we were off - back to Pierre - then back to Elkton. It was a long trip - a great one though. Something to remember. We'd lost some gear, faced some challenges on the water and in the wild, but we made it home with stories, photos, and video.

Plastic boats are the way to go on gravel-bottomed trips like this. My glass boat sustained a few scars but she's fine; we needed her for her freighter-like qualities. Plus fiberglass can be buffed out and touched up ... no big whoop.

The twin MVPs of the trip are Jim and Brian. No doubt. Their combined stick-to-itiveness, good humor, patience - and of course plenty of hours of hard paddling, gear hauling, and wood gathering - really, it would have been impossible to make the trip without 'em.

I'm sure all three of us will continue to visit the USGS and consider the flow rates on this route. It's an amazing trip - seems like you go to Mars - but it's not even out of the state! We owned it, learned to respect it, and probably will never forget it.

Thanks, guys - and thanks to you kind reader of this blog. If you are ever considering this same route, feel free to contact me and I'll do everything I can to help.


Monday, May 25, 2009

No hawks ...

Originally uploaded by Iron Bieso
But Hawks Nest Lake is home to hundreds of cormorants and egrets, and we saw 'em up close as the video shows. This little lake is near Ivanhoe, Minn., and it's not easy to access, but to be this close to so many waterfowl is indeed the reason kayaking is awesome.

More on the Belle Fourche conclusion soon!