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Random thoughts, rants, raves and photo opportunities

2010 - Minnesota's 3rd Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event

Minnesota's 3rd Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event was held today, Saturday, August 21st, 2010.  It's been such a fun experience the last two years that we just had to plan the third annual.  Like the two previous events, it will be held in Dakota County's Miesville Ravine Park Preserve, located about four miles south of Miesville and six miles northeast of Cannon Falls.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

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Minnesota's 3rd Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Bowersm on the river.
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Minnesota's 3rd Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Some of our event crew getting outfitted.
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Minnesota's 3rd Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Thegilby4 coming out from the channel finding a geocache.
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Minnesota's 3rd Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Jam of Zoejam72 showing off his boat.
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Minnesota's 3rd Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Headed down the Cannon River.
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Minnesota's 3rd Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Troyml in his inflatable kayak.
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Minnesota's 3rd Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event
The flotilla headed down the river.
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Minnesota's 3rd Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Headed down the river.
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Minnesota's 3rd Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Headed down the river.
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Minnesota's 3rd Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event
A quick stop on Kid Island.
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Minnesota's 3rd Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event
A quick stop on Kid Island.
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Minnesota's 3rd Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event
A quick stop on Kid Island.
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Minnesota's 3rd Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Headed around the bend on the river.
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Minnesota's 3rd Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Paddling past the bend.
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Minnesota's 3rd Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Geocaching at Cotton Picking Goodness.
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Minnesota's 3rd Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Geocaching at a Secret Grotto.
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Minnesota's 3rd Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event
A view up river.
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Minnesota's 3rd Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event
A self portrait on the Cannon River.
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Minnesota's 3rd Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Watching our caching team from a distance.
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Minnesota's 3rd Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Thegilby4 checking his email.
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Minnesota's 3rd Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Paddling through the storm debris.
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Minnesota's 3rd Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event
The finish line is in sight.
   

2010 - Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

Click thumbnail for larger viewDuring my visit to Minnesota's north shore over the Memorial Day weekend, I hosted and attended Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event (GC23RM5).  Following the event, all of us event attendees day-tripped into the wilderness for a gruelling but adventurous ride.

The first leg of our adventure was to visit the virtual geocache Mystical Dolmen Rock (GC587F).  We departed Sawbill Landing at 8:05AM. We arrived at the dolmen rock at 10:00AM.  We spent about 30 minutes at the rock exploring, socializing, snacking and taking photographs.  We departed the rock at 10:30AM and arrived back at Sawbill Landing at 12:40PM.  Total distance paddled on this leg was 5 miles each direction for a total of 10 miles. Total time paddling was 4 hours and 10 minutes.  Our average paddling speed was a little over 2 mph.

The second leg of the journey was to visit the virtual geocache Kelly-Jack (GC2878).  We drove from the Sawbill Landing to the Baker Landing and arrived at 1:55PM.  After getting our gear unloaded and prepared, we started paddling about 2:15PM.  We arrived at the portage between Kelly and Jack lakes at 3:40PM, which is where the hike in to Kelly-Jack begins.  In all, we spent 40 minutes hiking to Kelly-Jack, exploring, taking pictures, and returning to our boats.  We departed the portage at 4:20PM.  We arrived back at Baker Landing at 6:15PM. Total distance paddled on this leg was 3.9 miles each direction for a total of 7.8 miles. Total paddling time was 3 hours and 20 minutes.  Paddling to Kelly-Jack our average speed was 3 mph and paddling back was a slower 2 mph as a headwind had picked up from the south.   The total distance paddled today was 17.8 miles.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Our boats parked at Sawbill Landing awaiting departure.
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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Group photograph of event attendees.
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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Norvina smiling not realizing the gruelling paddle ahead.
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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
A view from Bart's boat.
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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Entering the actual BWCA Wilderness.
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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Norvina coming down the first portage.
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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Aix sponsa at the first portage preparing her boat.
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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
A view of Kelso Lake.
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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
A view of the lilies on Kelso Lake.
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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Another view of Kelso Lake.
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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
The gorgeous view at Kelso Lake.
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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
More Kelso Lake beauty.
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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Approaching the mystical dolmen rock.
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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
The mystical dolmen rock balancing on all threes.
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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Another angle of the dolmen rock.
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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
A group picture at the mystical dolmen rock.
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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Another angle of our group at the mystical dolmen rock.
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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Our boats parked on shore beside the dolmen rock.
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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Norvina on the rock.
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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Bflentje and Norvina on the dolmen rock.
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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Closeup of Bflentje and Norvina on the rock.
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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Bflentje imitating but not replacing Doublemoose as the Thinker.
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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Glacial erratic on Kelso Lake.
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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
A closeup view of glacial erratic on Kelso Lake.
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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Evidence of the 1999 straight line winds in the BWCA.
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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Damage from the 1999 blowdown in the wilderness.
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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Unbelievable damage from the 1999 storm.. that was 11 years ago.
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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
More damage from the July 4th, 1999 storm.
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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
A sheet of ice inside of the Kelly-Jack mining cave.
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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
A view looking out of the Kelly-Jack cave.
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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Another view looking out of the Kelly-Jack cave.
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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
And another view looking out of the Kelly-Jack cave.
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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
A group photograph at the Kelly-Jack cave.
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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
We made it to our second destination.
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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Norvina stretching or holding up the cave?
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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Bflentje outside of the Kelly-Jack cave.
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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
The entrance to the Kelly-Jack cave.
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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
A view of Jack Lake from the portage.
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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
A view of the portage from Kelly Lake to Jack Lake.
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Minnesota's BWCA Canoe-in Geocaching Event
The final group photograph after having completed the entire journey.
   

2009 - Minnesota's 2nd Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event

Last year I hosted Minnesota's First Ever Canoe-in Geocaching Event.  It was such a success that this year, on Saturday August 22nd, 2009, I hosted Minnesota's 2nd Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event.  The venue was the same this year and was held on the beautiful Cannon River.  We dropped our boats in at the Cannon Falls landing and paddled to the landing at Miesville Ravine Park Reserve.  Paddling geocachers had fifteen geocaches, eight of which were new, to find along the 6.5 mile journey.  Festivities following the run down the river included a picnic and social hour.  A new addition to the event this year was the sweet corn feed, of which everyone seemed to enjoy.

I do not have a precise head count of event attendees but there were 43 RSVPs, 38 geocachers logged the event electronically, 54 individuals signed the paper log, and the shuttle bus was standing room only.  The event was attended by some geocaching legends, a handful of fresh, new, geocachers, and every level in between.  It was difficult to get a boat count this year but I do have confirmation that the Cannon Falls Canoe Rental shop ran out of canoes and had to place inexperienced paddlers in kayaks.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

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Minnesota's 2nd Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Gathering at the top of the river.
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Minnesota's 2nd Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Who's riding with who?
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Minnesota's 2nd Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event
My paddling companions, my little Laura and friend Ryan.
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Minnesota's 2nd Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event
A geocache stop along the river.
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Minnesota's 2nd Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Landing near geocache Cotton Picking Goodness.
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Minnesota's 2nd Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Paddling down the lazy river.
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Minnesota's 2nd Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Relaxing after the long paddle.
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Minnesota's 2nd Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event
A view of the picnic.
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Minnesota's 2nd Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event
The attendance log.

2009 - The Kinnickinnic River, River Falls, WI

I had the privilege of being invited along on a paddle of Wisconsin's Kinnickinnic River today.  John Simpson and children were in one boat and Anna and me in another.  The paddle from River Falls to the confluence at the St. Croix River was just over 12 river miles in length with an elevation drop of approximately 130 feet.

Overall the trip was very enjoyable but a lot of work.  It is safe to say that this was the toughest paddling adventure I've ever been on.  The river was a bit on the low side.  Four more inches of water, or even lower draft kayaks, would have made a world of difference.  Generally, the river was fairly clear with only a few obstacles.  There were a few occasions where we had to drag the boat over sand bars or around the fallen tree.  But those times where the water was perfect and your boat was shot down stream more than made up for it.  The toughest part of the journey was getting the boat out of the water and up to the parking lot at Kinnickinnic State Park up above.  If you review the elevation graph, you'll notice the two peaks at the end of the trip.  Those peaks represent the brutal 1690 foot (.33 mile), 160 foot elevation change, portage up to the lot (some of us made the trip twice).

Enjoy the photographs..

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The track log of the Kinnickinnic
River paddle
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An elevation profile of the
Kinnickinnic River paddle
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Anna and the Simpson gang
taking a break

2008 - Minnesota's First Ever Canoe-in Geocaching Event

Minnesota's First Ever Canoe-in Geocaching Event was held on Saturday, September 27th, 2008 on the Cannon River.  Although there were many unknowns, the event worked out well and those of us that participated had a grand old time.  The service provided by Cannon Falls Canoe Rental was excellent and helped eliminate the uncertainty I had considering it was so late in the paddling season.

We ended up with eight boats on the river being paddled by Knowschad, Withoutapaddle, Birdin' (of Trekkin' and Birdin'), Sparkyfry, Twood80, XZQ&Dad, Mutsley & Crew, and myself.  My beautiful daughter Molly was my paddling companion and she did a great job.  Norvina was back at basecamp setting up the shelter for social hour.  We also had visits from Silent Bob (of Marsha and Silent Bob), Good-boy along with Good-girl, and T&J.  There were a total of two incidents on the water.  Dad from XZQ&Dad thought the waist deep water was only up to his knees... he went for an early swim.  And Mutsley decided to go for a surprise swim as Crew watched on with his normal calm and cool composure.

This stretch of the Cannon River provided a perfect venue for our event.  There are 9 geocaches on this 6.5 mile stretch of the Cannon River.  There is a geocache at each of the landings, top and bottom.  There are five geocaches in the primary end of Miesville Ravine Regional Park.  And there are two PREMIUM geocaches located about two miles (by road) northwest in the upper end of the park, off of Michael Avenue.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

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Minnesota's First Ever Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Some of us gathering before the paddle.
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Minnesota's First Ever Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Bflentje on the Cannon River.
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Minnesota's First Ever Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Only Birdin' of Trekkin' and birdin'.
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Minnesota's First Ever Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Twood80 showing us how to paddle.
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Minnesota's First Ever Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Knowschad is a natural.
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Minnesota's First Ever Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Molly taking a rest at the second cache stop.
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Minnesota's First Ever Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Sparkyfry conquering his new kayak.
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Minnesota's First Ever Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Another cache stop.
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Minnesota's First Ever Canoe-in Geocaching Event
A view from the bflentje boat.
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Minnesota's First Ever Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Our good friends Mutsley & Crew.
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Minnesota's First Ever Canoe-in Geocaching Event
NEWS ALERT: Withoutapaddle shows up to the event WITH paddles.
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Minnesota's First Ever Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Molly taking a breather with Norvina.
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Minnesota's First Ever Canoe-in Geocaching Event
Three fifths of the XZQ&Dad clan.
   

2008 - Paddling the Cannon River

Click the thumbnail for a larger viewDuring Jane's short stay, someone came up with the wild idea to run the canoes down the Cannon River.  My mother was reluctantly interested, Jane thought it was a fun idea, and I needed to do some maintenance on a few geocaches I have placed on the river.  Chad happen to have the day off and was interested in joining us too.  Overall, eight of us headed to the Cannon Falls canoe landing.  It was myself and four year old Laura, Jane and son Devon, Chad and two sons Leo and Dominic, and our mother, Norvina.  Perfect, two trucks, two canoes, six paddles, and eight thrill seekers.

It happened to be pretty late in the canoe season but this was the first time out this year for both Chad and myself.  I know Jane has canoed in the past and Mom has never been in a canoe and was really nervous.  The river is about 2' low at the moment and aside from a few shallow spots, was running nice and tame.  We canoed from Cannon Falls down to Miesville Ravine, which is about 6.5 river miles and usually takes about three hours to paddle.  We were able to stop and manage my five geocaches on the river and placed two new caches. 

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..