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Monday, November 8, 2010

The Paddling Otaku Expedition Skills Camp

This November I will be hosting a small group skills camp - primarily for the Alaska paddlers but some others may be joining us. We are going to be going over various kayak expedition skills, including but not limited to:

Navigation, Packing a kayak, Tent site selection and kayak placement in relation to tent placement. Float plans, On water leadership, meal planning, clothing for paddling and camp, Tides, weather, and safety.

It will be three full days both on the water and on land. A big part of what we are going to be working on is getting people, and their bodies, comfortable with the concept of long days on the water and in a kayak. This is probably one of the biggest challenges. But when you have 350 miles to paddle, and a limited amount of time to do it five or six mile days don't work. You need to be in the mindset of fifteen to sixteen mile days with the occasional 25 mile day thrown in for good measure. The only way to do that is to find what makes you comfortable in your kayak, and getting in the right mindset to do that.

For me a long day in the cockpit is a meditation. Usually groups will determine that every two hours or so, people want to do shore breaks, stretch their legs, and go to the bathroom. I generally don't get out of my kayak on long days. When people are going ashore, going to the bathroom, eating some snack food, I am sitting in my kayak resting, eating and re hydrating. Once I get set, and I am in the right mind set I don't want to mess with it. My body just tends to feel like it just wants to keep going. For me, that is the key to expedition kayaking. Getting in the zone where all that needs to happen is around fifty thousand forward strokes. That is a wonderful place to be.

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