Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Reducing, renewing, recycling some gear

A while back, I decided to sell the two kayaks. I found the Pelican 10’ a bit small, at least when spending more than a few hours in it. The Mad River 12’ was more comfortable, but either it had growth heavier or my elbows have growth weaker; it was becoming difficult for me to lift it to the roof of the X-Terra. My goal was to use the sale proceeds to find a solo canoe, bigger than the 10’ kayak, but lighter than the double-hulled 12’ hybrid kayak. Turns out that everything sold a little quicker than I thought it might, including the Thule kayak racks on the roof of the truck.

Here is happiness: The Pelican went to a first-time kayak owner out of southern Minnesota, and the Mad River went to the younger of a father-and-son team who paddle the North Shore of Lake Superior. (Let the enjoyment continue.)

All of that equipment has been replaced by a used Old Town Discovery solo canoe; an 11’9” boat that was manufactured in 2003. Like the goods I sold, I found this craft through Craig’s List. It was owned by a gentleman who works part-time for a new company called Clear Waters Outfitting Company. While he was selling the canoe “private party,” the store had allowed him to display it in their warehouse. (They were smart to let him do this; I did not know about their shop until after meeting Todd, the gentleman I bought the Discovery from. I'll do business with them in the future, as they have a great store in Clearwater, MN.) It has abundant scratches on the hull, but more to illustrate the boats character than to indicate any serious damage. (The owner of a an old canoe that is unmarked by contact with logs and rocks has cheated himself and his boat from the privilege of a fast romp down the river.) It features a hand-made canvas cover, to protect packs and equipment from the elements on longer trips.

As far as transporting the boat is concerned, I gave my daughter a few bucks for an old set of Yakima cross-bars, and bought the appropriate mounts to make them work on my truck. Having already registered the boat in my name, I hope to float it for the first time this weekend.

Also last week, I pulled out an old Minolta X-700 35 millimeter camera (yes, film) that we've owned since the late eighties, and took it to a local camera shop to be reconditioned. Turns out that by the time the camera was moved through the shop, a small tear had developed in the shutter fabric… one that would only grow as used over time. Graciously, it was the shop’s decision to offer me a trade: They gave me a fully-reconditioned version of the same old camera to replace the one that had been damaged. Since I already have a number of lenses for the unit, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse. So on an upcoming river trip—or as I see critters far-off in the meadow behind our house—I’ll shoot some prints in traditional 35 mm film. (This re-purposed camera will allow me to try-out a used tele-photo lens I picked up more than a year ago!)

With all of this new (or used) outfitting, I must now get more aggressive about finding time on the river, as the paddling season is fast dwindling here in Minnesota.

© 2010 Mike D. Anderson. All rights reserved.

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