Gunnison River, Float – 2019


It’s a little later than normal for our first river float, but the water levels in the reservoirs are really high this year (2019) and additional water is being released causing some rivers to have higher flow rates than I’ve seen since I began floating rivers around 10 years ago. We planned to go a few weeks ago, but weren’t sure about safety, and this week it looked like the water levels Continue reading

Add a Woodstrip Deck to a Kayak

Today someone asked me how I added a custom woodstrip deck made out of Western Red Cedar, to my Mill Creek 13 kayak. What follows is the process I used.

The process involves making some forms to support the deck, give it some shape and allows for a place to staple the deck in place while the wood glue dries. Once the deck is finished being built and sanded,  I remove the deck, and thus removing all of the staples, flip it over and sealed the underside with epoxy and glass. Once it’s cured I use fiberglass cloth and epoxy to glue it onto the shell.

First, create the forms. I used MDF I had around the garage left over from some cabinets I made. The forms are only temporary so use what ever you have available. I used the original templates used to shape the shearclamps to transfer the arc onto the forms, and then cut them to shape with my bandsaw (if you have a jig saw that works too. I used hot-melt glue to hold them in place in the boat shell.


A close-up of the forms during a test-fit

I spaced the forms about 12″ apart   Continue reading

Eleven Mile – Trails, and quick trip to Brush Hollow

We were struggling with the decision of what to do yesterday. The weather forecast didn’t look promising, but we wanted to get outdoors. Go for a hike or load up the boats and go paddling. Lisa doesn’t enjoy paddling in strong winds so a hike would be okay. But, if it turned out the weather was nice when we arrived at our destination paddling would be nice, maybe even in addition to a hike.

I’ve been going to Eleven Mile State Park for years. It has a large reservoir and some relatively short hiking trails, in addition to lots of camp sites, including a backcountry camping area. Every time I’ve been there I’ve thought about hiking the trails but always end up doing something else. On Saturday,   Continue reading

Colorado Spingtime Kayaking – Brush Hollow and Eleven Mile

Last weekend I went kayaking/fishing in Brush Hollow Reservoir near Penrose, Colorado, and yesterday, I went to Eleven Mile Reservoir near Lake George, Colorado.

I prefer to use my CLC Mill Creek 13 for fishing and river trips, but when I’m just out to paddle I use the sleeker/faster CLC Chesapeake 17LT. I built both of these boats myself (see previous posts).

For both trips I followed the popular wisdom of, “When heading out in small boats, dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature”. The water in Brush Hollow was cool so, I wore mostly neoprene, however the water at Eleven Mile was quite cold so I wore neoprene gloves, sea hood, top, pants, and boots and then added a dry top and dry pants over that. I was warm.

Dressed for cold water at Eleven Mile Reservoir

Dressed for cold water at Eleven Mile Reservoir

Brush Hollow is a State Wildlife Area and is pretty small. The water   Continue reading

Sea Kayak – Refinish 2014

I built a Chesapeake Light Craft, Chesapeake 17LT sea kayak back in March of 2007. I use it every year, though mostly on lakes, so it doesn’t get much abuse. The intense Colorado sun probably takes its toll more than anything else. Periodically, these wooden boats need to be refinished because the sun will break down the epoxy covering the boat and the varnish offers UV protection.

CH17LT Sea Kayak before sanding

CH17LT Sea Kayak before sanding


Sun and weather dulls the finish

Sun and weather dulls the finish








I sanded down the entire hull and deck with   Continue reading

Kayaking Columbus Day – Pueblo Reservoir

Since I had the day off at work for Columbus Day I decided use the opportunity to go kayaking again. This year, I was able to convince another co-worker (Tom) to go with me, although he didn’t kayak. He took his 300HP, super-charged, jet-ski. I pulled his jet-ski with my truck and we headed out to Pueblo Reservoir State Park.

As you may have noted in some of my earlier posts, it’s been kind of windy this year along the front range of Colorado and Columbus Day was no exception.  In fact, according to my Kestrel weather station, there were sustained winds of 18 mph with gusts in the 20s. Wind can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your attitude and skill level. I’m not the most skilled kayak paddler, so I must confess that I was a bit nervous. Of course, Tom was quite excited as jet-skiing over three-foot swells is an absolute blast.

Paddling Windy Pueblo Reservoir

Paddling Windy Pueblo Reservoir

As I exited the marina I hit the stronger wind of the open water and got down-right worried. I was having trouble turning the 17-foot long sea kayak and as I got sideways to the wind . . . and waves, while turning around, almost lost it. I have paddled in this kind of wind before, but it’s been a while and all of my other trips this year have been on rivers (using a 13-foot boat) or much calmer water. After 30 minutes or so I got comfortable with the conditions and the trip became more enjoyable. The temperature was in the 60s, and as you can see by the photo, very sunny. It wasn’t long before I was shedding layers. We ate lunch in one of the coves, then continued on with our day. Tom had no trouble out in the middle of the reservoir, where the swells reached three feet, according to him, while I stayed within 100 yards of shore where the swells were under two, in my estimation.

We paddled for a couple of hours and it was me who called an end to the day as paddling in the strong wind is exhausting. I really enjoy paddling a kayak and while I can see the draw to powered craft, like Tom’s jet-ski, I still prefer my kayak. A great day for both of us.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Elevenmile Kayaking – July 2013

Drove up to Elevenmile Reservoir and State Park today with my wife. We brought my 13 foot Mill Creek and her Sea Island Sport. I built both of these boats side by side several years ago and both are a pleasure to paddle. We spent a few hours paddling and then visited with some friends who were camping there tonight. The weather was good while we paddled, but just as we finished our lunch on the shore, the sky grew dark and decided to put the boats back on the truck.
It only rained a little so we could have gone paddling longer, but frankly, after climbing a few days ago I realized that the muscle groups are similar and mine could use a break. Nice day.IMG_3558