Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Upper Colorado Mission

Not long ago I had the distinct pleasure to be invited on a Upper Colorado trip with fellow wooden river dory enthusiast, blogger, and all around good man Greg Hatten. Greg and I met at the McKenzie River Wooden Boat Festival several years ago and then connected again at the Snake River Wooden Boat Show last summer. we made off handed plans to try and get together this summer and do some trips. Well winter happened then spring and just about the time I thought to call Greg about boating he called me. 

From the get go I knew this trip was going to be different. I was not in charge of anything, a rare thing in my life and a much welcomed relief.  My only job was to trailer my boat and gear to a place called Pumphouse just outside of Kremmling Colorado. Once their I would meet Greg and a slue of other folks that were just odd phone numbers in a group text.

After pulling into Kremmling and checking my map again I gassed up and headed for Pumphouse. One of the fun things about being around whitewater for such a long time is a chance to experience places around the world that are famous only to the ranks of other river nerds. The upper Colorado is home to the legendary Gore Canyon. While we had not come to run Gore Canyon (don't think I'll ever do that in a wooden boat) it was fantastic to pull out at a overlook and have a look. 

From my vantage point I could see the last of Gore's power meander away into a pristine alpine valley. As the phone in my pocket lost signal I became more and more excited about getting to hang out here for the next couple of days.

Springtime in the Mountains was just getting wound up (a bit of a surprise for some of the folks from lower climates) temperatures at night dipped below freezing and much of the forest was still without leaves.  But everything else had turned emerald green and smelled of fresh sage.

I drove around for a while looking for anyone I thought could be associated with our crew and finally ran into David Ellis of Ellis Canvas Tents. The tents he had set up were instantly recognizable as the type of tent Greg used in the Tetons. I stopped, introduced myself to David and confirmed that this was the place.

I added my gear to the growing pile and got down to some serious lounging about. While hanging out in our five star riverside restaurant I got to know the rest of the group. Along with Greg and David their was Tim, Darrell, Royce, Andrew, Josh and Bill. Everyone but David Tim and I were from St. Joseph Missouri. We had a great time eating and drinking until full bellies, cold, and road fatigue drove us into our tents.

The next two days run together. Cold beautiful sunrises followed by fantastic whitewater all set in two lovely canyons. The run itself from Pumphouse to Rancho Del Rio is spectacular. From the put in the next canyon can be seen yawning up at the sky. Upon entering the current quickly picks up forming fun s-bends ending in a beautiful left eddy above a horizon line. From this eddy you can see the big rock river left that forms the Eye of the Needle. At 3500ish cfs the eddy is deceptive, the cleanest line we found was river right to left passing behind the big rock. Getting in the left eddy makes getting back on line a really interesting speed killing ferry. Once past the "eye" its smooth sailing past some hot springs (they were under water) and into the next park (open area between canyons where the river calms and begins to meander). 

Photo Greg Hatten

On our first run we had planned to take out at Radium but we found that their was to much daylight and fun to be had so to hell with shuttle problems lets run more river. After Radium yet another canyon loomes. The cherry of this canyon is Yarmony. This is a longish rapid with a couple of moves to be made in the top section, then its hold on through its lower wave train.The whole rapid drops along a river left cliff (slight right bend) giving the viewer positioned on the bottom right a fantastic view of the "action". The park, canyon, park, canyon nature of this section seams to set the tone for the whole Colorado, the canyons and water simply get deeper and bigger. The good spring runoff, great scenery and muddy water really drove home that I was on the Colorado, it felt great to finally have a wooden boat on her mighty waters. The take out is located at Rancho Del Rio, its private, cheep, and if you are into river dirtbaggery amazing. This is where the Gore Canyon Race party is held, so...

After the runs we headed back to out camp. Greg had brought along some Pendleton wool blankets, their added warmth very welcome after the cold water on the river. Their is nothing  better than sitting in a blanket next to a fire listening to the conversation drift along.

After a few nights on the river we packed up and headed to YMCA of the Rockies. I was asleep almost as soon as i was settled.

I woke the next morning to smell of coffee and breakfast. The rest of the party (members of Darrell's church from St. Joseph) had arrived in the night to fill out two of the YMCA bunkhouses.

The night in the bunkhouse while not as scenic as the camp at Pumphouse it did help avoid frosty pre-river sneakers.

The Gang from St. Joseph were here for a men's retreat and some rafting. Sadly my only picture is of the riverside lunch provided by Mad Adventures

Photo Greg Hatten

Just about the time I really began to get into the river routine it was time to head home. With a early morning start I put the Rocky Mountains to the left of the truck and headed north.

I'll leave you with a high quality driving selfie from somewhere in Wyoming.

**I will be posting some other pictures of this trip in a later post, stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Enki Drawings Done

Well I made it back from the upper Colorado. It was a fantastic trip, I am still working on the post so it might be as bit as I wait on photos. After getting home from the trip I got back to the Enki drawings with the intent to finish them off. So here they are. 
Aside from the larger scale (1 1/2" to 1' ) I also updated the Table of Offsets putting the station lines and frames into alignment. This will simplify the lofting process down the line.
Normal body, profile, amd plans view.
Profile view with possible arrow detail on hull and with interior layout cutaway.
Plan view with decks on and cutaway with decks off.
Profile view of strong back and hull cutaway.

Finally after all of that hard work Lea and I needed some time on the water and Elsie needed a nap.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Yellowstone Season Starter

With the wether has come boating season. Were not done with the snow yet but the rivers have come up a little and the birds returned so it's was high time to hit the water.

I always love put in drives.  Juniper and the Crazy Woman Mountains.

Another year on the Yellowstone and I can't wait.

The usual runaround setting shuttle, rigging boats, and setting up camp.

There was a little time to stretch the arms before sunset.

Unlike any of my past adventures this one was my daughters first. She had a great time, especially the part where she got to sleep with Mom and Dad in a tent. Hey at least someone slept.

Along with Lea and Elsie our friends Jaclyn and Johnathan came along for the fun, add in the three dogs Nellie, Corky, and Ullr and we had quite the crew.

Nellie, always ready to take a nap got right down to business.

Jonathan put the IRH through her paces. There are some great waves on the Yellowstone.

When not surfing the front deck also makes a great place to lie down.

By far my biggest worry about Elsie was keeping her from getting any sun. I was worried about this until the dawn of the second day.

I woke up in the middle of the night. I thought the campfire had gotten out of control. Upon inspection the river had come up and the boats needed some tending but the campfire was out. Dawn the next day told the story of the smoky smell. The Canadian Fort McMurray fire 980miles north provided the smoke screen.

With the smoke and cloud cover the sunburn concern vanished and the lounging continued.

Uller and Corky had it made on Jacqueline's cat couch.

After a longish day we pulled into a island that I have yet to camp on. Not only was it grassy with great access it was also full of morels, bonus.

Even though I make a great rock hound I was the only one who couldn't seem to find any morels, glad they shared.

Islands on the Yellowstone particularly in the evening are some of the most magical places I know of. Even though civilization is never far off it is easy to imagine what this place was like 100, 200, 500, 1000 years ago.
 With the night also comes the campfire.

It was a fantastic trip, Elsie got her first river miles and the rest of us had another great adventure.
Back home, boats put away and a good nights sleep reveals another spring snow. Montana wether is not boring.

I am headed to the Upper Colorado in about a week. I will be sure to put up a post shortly after getting home. By that time I should also have some boat shop and Enki related news.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Enki drawing continues.

So I needed to create a new table of offsets to match the frame spacing on the second construction drawing of Enki. This will allow the frames to support the deck of the boat as well as eliminate frames in foot-wells.

After finishing 90% of the second construction drawing I knew the frame placement worked. I liked the location of the rowing-well and seating areas, it was time to up the scale of the drawing and make the last set before finishing the build plan and beginning construction.

The final lines drawing is 1 1/2" to 1'.

I plan on creating construction drawings at this scale as well, so stay tuned. Also the Table of offsets is complete however I have not added it to the drawings yet.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Builder Friendly Waterproof Hatch, Episode 1.

If your looking to put large "dry" storage onto your boat this post may help you out.

This all started when I decked my last two boats. To provide access to the space created by the decking I used round plastic hatches and semi dry hatches made of plywood secured with thumb screws. The time spent on these boats has made me realize the hatches need improvement.

Working on the build plan for Enki I began to puzzle out how to build flush water tight hatches for her large storage compartments. Even though this build might be a little ways off I couldn't resist doing some drawings and making a model.

My idea behind the design was to create a gutter system using strips of 1/4" plywood. I am planning on using 1/4" plywood for the decking hopefully most of these strips come from decking scraps.

I started out by deciding where I wanted the hatch edge to be. Using a pocket saw I cut the Hatch out. This will save on plywood by using the wood removed from the opening as the finished hatch top.

The deck beam layout is important to support the finished hatch. For the model I installed the beams after cutting out the hatch. In a boat the beams would be installed before the hatch gets cut out.

After removing the hatch top I glued the gutter strips onto the deck and the lip on the hatch.

Once this all set up I dry fit the hinge and the latch.

Well this all worked so good I couldn't just waste the hatch.

Now I have a really great box and I learned some stuff. First off there should be a gasket in the gutter. For the final build I'm going to try and find a durable gasket material and add it into the design. The latch itself never needed the handle on top of the upper round so I never built it. I also see a very easy way using a spring/bungee to hold the latch closed (good if the boat is capsized in the river). I also have some ideas to reduce the amount of water that can leak in through the bolt hole in the latch (in reality I don't think its enough to worry about). Another thing to think about is structural framing under the hatch itself. If its a big hatch this will not only stiffen up the hatch but it will help keep it from warping.

Ok so there it is. Hopefully this all scales up nicely.