Wednesday, August 13, 2014

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.

 Post dive gear pile
Post dive Hotdog BBQ

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.


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.


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.


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.

Setting off from BFLO Harbor Kayak with the Little Rock in the background
 Buffalo Skyline from the river
Turn around point
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.


Potato Chip Rock Mt. Woodson, Poway, CA

It seem like at some point everyone in San Diego needs to make the trip up to Potato Chip Rock for an (insert social media platform here) photo. Well I am no different. I was surprised to find that it is a pretty demanding hike almost 8 miles round trip and 2k feet of elevation gain. Now knowing how demanding the hike is I have a new appreciation for all those photos.

It seems like this is the Saturday morning cardio hike for a lot of San Diego's fitness minded residents. There was certainly no shortage of yoga pants and sports bras.

Past Potato Chip at the empty summit, I made a number of failed attempts to boulder and reach the true peak of Mt Woodson.


Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, AZ

On my way north to Flagstaff I stopped to visit central Arizona's escape from the summer heat, Oak Creek Canyon. Down along the creek it was impressive how much cooler it was. In the water it was really cool.

By far the worst part was the traffic, since there is just one road and everybody is trying to go to Slide Rock park or park along the road. I managed to park at the picnic area about a mile north of Slide Rock. From there we walked south along the creek until we reached a spot where you couldn't continue without getting in the water. We hung out at this natural pool for a while and I got a few small cliff jumps in.
 One of the small cliff jumps into a pretty shallow pool

Since we couldn't continue along the creek anymore we headed up to the road to make our way down to Slide Rock Park. The number of people at Slide Rock was overwhelming so we didn't stay. I did spot a huge cliff jump located under the bridge at Slide Rock, and a few guys were jumping.
Crowds at Slide Rock
More Slide Rock

Big Cliff Jumping under the bridge


Grand Canyon

After living in Arizona for nearly two years, I made it to the Grand Canyon for the first time over 4th of July. A thunder storm rolling through kept the temperatures down, but led to some hiding from lightening strikes.

Mandatory Canyons Edge photo

Panorama shows some of the "Grand"ness

I parked at the south rim visitor center and started the day walking along the rim near the visitor center. After drinking in the views for a while and snapping some photos, we had a picnic lunch near the visitor center before jumping on the shuttle for Bright Angle Lodge.

I had no illusion of doing a rim to rim on Bright Angle, but I did want to dip below the rim as much as I could. Hiked about 2 miles and 2,000 vertical feet before turning around. Even this relatively short distance offered a pretty amazing change of perspective. The hike was followed by a cold beer at the Bright Angle Lodge.

View of Bright Angel trail from 2 miles down the Trail
Under the Rim

A lightening strikes prevented us from going to Hopi Point, so we headed back to the visitor center and jumped in the car to head over to the desert watch tower. Stopping at many of the points along the way.

 View out the window of the desert tower
 View upward of the inside of the desert tower


Back from my Adventure

I have made it back from my little 7 month adventure, safely. Time to update my post that I threw together before I left and start chasing new adventures. I plan to keep busy this year.