Saturday, June 10, 2006

06/10/2006 – Dog Paddle Races

Launch: Luscher Park, Dog River. Launch Cost: Free. Route: A little exploring before the races, then around the red buoys and back, several times. Distance: 4 miles. Average Speed: Unknown. Time: Approx 3 hrs. Pace: Leisurely to racing. Weather: Sunny and Hot.

(1) Above left. Another year has passed since I paddled from Luscher Park, located on the upper end of Dog River. Knowing that Dog River usually looks like a garbage dump, I got there early and ended up filling a 48 gallon container to the brim three times with trash before it was race time. The photo speaks for itself. (2) Above right. This event, hosted by the Dog River Clearwater Revival, brings out a wide variety of kayakers and canoeists. Also participating in this year’s event was the University of South Alabama Civil Engineering Department with their ONCA cement canoe. For more photos of the Dog Paddle, click here.

(3) Above left. Some of the regular residents were rather red faced to learn their territory was being overrun by so many kayakers. (4) Above right. This sunken boat, not far from the race site, brought to reality the power of hurricanes.

(5) Above left. There was plenty of help standing by for any emergencies. You could see that A.R. Connor, retired Coast Guard member, has a passion for boating. His miniature boat, named “Tender to the Gloucester,” hosting a Yamaha 50 engine, couldn’t have been much longer than 14 feet. (6) Above right. Some kayakers took advantage of the water to cool off from the late morning heat. No rescues necessary.

(7) Above left. In the ladies race, the University of South Alabama concrete canoe crosses the finish line ahead of a tandem kayak. (8) Above right. You have to wonder how this concrete canoe, manned by four Civil Engineering students, manages to stay afloat.

(9) Above left. The ladies Dog Paddle race gets underway. (10) Above right. Mimi Fearn snaps a few photos while sitting in a finely crafted wooden kayak.

(11) Above left. The Dog Paddle Races had events for kayaker and canoeists of all ages. (12) Above right. Luscher Park is a nice facility for hosting events such as the Dog Paddle.

A year or two ago I voiced my worry over cars parking on the edge of the woods, speculating that people were up to evil over there. I did a little exploring this year and feel it necessary to report how ignorant my pessimism was. People are driving to the west edge of Luscher Park because there is water on that side of the park, too, and that is where they fish. In my short paddle before the races began, I explored a few areas and realize there is much more beauty to Dog River than meets the eye. I’ll be launching more often from Luscher Park and will post visual reports of the trips right here.

So, how did I do in the races? Since my pedal kayak broke last week, I was forced to use a paddle kayak I hadn’t used in about a year, utilizing muscles I hadn’t used in about a year. How is that for an excuse?

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