Saturday, December 28, 2013

Going on an Adventure

I leave tomorrow on a few month long adventure. Not sure how accessible internet will be so I decided to publish all the post I have been working on, despite most of them not having the photos or videos added in yet. Sorry for the lower quality of post.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Hiking Niagara Gorge

My favorite cardio hike in Western New York, the Niagara River Gorge is a mini Grand Canyon. From Whirlpool State Park down to the rocks along the Whirlpool is a mile and a half with a 1,500 foot elevation change. The majority of that elevation change occurs in about a tenth of a mile.

Other than its cardio benefits the up close views of the Niagara River and it's Class V rapids are pretty amazing. You get a real sense of how much power the river has.


SUP Buffalo River

BFLO Harbor Kayak has made Stand Up Paddle Boards available in Buffalo's Inner Harbor. This means that without dragging my board across the country I was able to get some SUP in Buffalo over the summer.

The day I rented my SUP their was some crazy wind about 12mph, so the lake was not looking very inviting. This was fine with me because I was more interested in the river. The river had little wind and has little current so it made for easy paddling. From the rental dock under the skyway, I made my way about a mile and a half upstream just past Ohio St.

On the way back down stream I was facing the wind. Hugging the shore helped avoid the worst of it in my face but standing on the board was making a sail out of my body. Near the Naval Park the wind was strong enough to make some good size rolling waves, maybe a one to two feet. The was were just a little two small and not breaking for me to surf them upstream to the dock.

I'm not sure if it is legal but I think it would be fun to ride a SUP down the Niagara river. There is a whole lot of current and no shortage of place to get out. Maybe next time.


Queen City Mayor's Cup, Buffalo Yacht Club

While I grew up sailing on Lake Erie, it has been a long time since I did any racing. This did not keep me from jumping on the opportunity to join the crew a boat racing in the Queen City Mayor's Cup. This is one of the Buffalo Yacht Clubs international races. Starting in Buffalo, NY and ending at Point Abino, ON.

The race is a two day regatta. Saturday boats race from Buffalo to Point Abino, and Sunday they race back. Saturday's race was plagued by light winds and only one of the fleets had boats finish within the 4 hour time limit. Sunday had slightly better winds. and our boat was able to take first in our fleet.


Castle Dome 2, Second attempt second failure to summit.

A year later, and Castle Dome still undefeated. I set off on my second attempt at a summit of Castle Dome sure I could make it. Unfortunately once again it was not to be. I set of after breakfast, and had an easy drive to the wash. Once I arrived I was surprised to find that I was the only one there, the weather was perfect for hiking, clear and 60s.

I set off up the wash as we did last year. We followed the big stone arrow up the second wash to the right and directly at the mountains peak. The was was hard to walk in so we shifted slightly to the right following scattered rock pillars. There is really no trail after you leave the big wash, you just have to pick what you find to be the easiest way.

Once we reached the rock face near the peak is where things went wrong. After exploring the immediate  area it seemed like the trail looped counter clockwise around the peak, which appears to be sloped on your right as opposed to vertical rock faces on your left. This is wrong. The "trail" traces the face to the left, clockwise, through the saddle of the pillar and then up to the summit.

We made our way difficultly to the right. What appeared to be the slope turned out to be much steeper than expected and did not make for easy climbing. We continued counterclockwise as until we reached a cliff and a ridge line. At this point we realized there was no easy way up on this side of the peak, but it was 3pm and to late to hike all the way around to the other side. From there we made our way back a bit to a spot that looked climbable. The loose nature of the desert rock made for some pretty scary climbing but we were encouraged that we were going the right way because we were still seeing rock piles. As it turns out we were just not the only ones to go the wrong way. After climbing to what I believe was about 200 vertical feet short of the summit we decided we had to turn back.

On the way back we searched for a better route down, but since we were so off "trail", nothing looked good. Most of the seemingly promising ways down quickly ended in cliffs we were unwilling to down climb. Defeated we worked our way back down into the wash that we struggled up, making our slow way. We hit the main wash right at the arrow we turned at and headed back for the car. By the time we sat in the car the sun was set. We had made it just in time.

I am not sure whether or not I will attempt the summit a 3rd time. Now it seems there are no more wrong turns to make, but I am not sure if it is worth is.


Niagara River drift S.C.U.B.A. dive

After a few years of missing this dive, I took part in a favorite summer shore dive in Buffalo. Many Buffalo divers are familiar with this, Wednesday evening Niagara River Drift dive. I managed to make it twice this year. You get in the water at the west end of Isle View Park and drift east to the boat launches at the other end of the park.

My first dive kept to the shallower waters where the grass and fish lurk. I even managed to find a fin that somebody from the dive shop had lost earlier in the week. The visibility was was above average for this dive at about 15-20 feet. This was also my first attempt at using the GoPro for diving. Unfortunately it froze up right after I went under.

The second time I did this dive we went a little deeper where the water runs faster. The rain leading up to this dive made the visibility much lower than the previous Wednesday. There was less life to see but about the same trash. The GoPro worked better this time, but the poor visibility and lack of fish made for poorer video quality that I would gotten had the camera worked the previous week.


Buffalo Wing Fest 2013

I was lucky enough to attend the 2013 Buffalo Wing Festival in my home town of Buffalo. It was a good opportunity to spend too much to sample a variety of wings, most of them from the local area.

We happened to be there for the Competitive Eating Championship Buffalo wing eating contest. Watched a bunch of large men get their buts kicked by some little girls. Miki Sudo destroyed everyone with 178 wings in 12 minutes.

It just so happened that she was leaving at the same time I was so she stopped for this photo.