Black Friday Trip on TN River

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by pawsplus, Nov 30, 2015.

  1. pawsplus

    pawsplus Paddler

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    On Black Friday (that's the day after Thanksgiving, for you Canucks, when many Americans mindlessly buy crap they don't need just b/c it's on sale), I went paddling instead. It was pretty gloomy weather, but it wasn't supposed to rain (and didn't), so I went on out and was glad I did!

    I returned to the TN River, launching from the same place I launched in September, but travelling North (downstream) instead of South this time.

    [​IMG]

    I find the "hidden" parts of the river the most interesting, but the chart isn't much better than this Google map view as far as knowing where you can get through. Unlike ocean charts, the river charts don't give you one color for low "tide" and one for high--and it can be hit or miss whether one can get through at a given time or not. So it's a risk that you take--you may well end up miles down a blind alley and be unable to get out and have to double back.

    See the green arrow? That nice wide passage was completely closed! No way through, even though there were no long, narrow "islands" on the chart, just as there are none on this google map view. But I WAS able to get through the narrow area where the red line goes. Go figure!

    The wind was up a bit, and as I knew it would be a head wind coming back (along with the slight current being against me as well), I didn't go out as far as I otherwise might, not wanting to be out there and miserable. But I got 10 miles in. It was a good day. :)

    Heading out:
    [​IMG]

    My lunch stop:
    [​IMG]

    Cool trees:
    [​IMG]

    And my new sticker, from the Church of the Double-Bladed Paddle Facebook group!
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Love the sticker! Looks like winter, for sure. Re: better maps. Topos from USGS might be better.
     
  3. fishboat

    fishboat Paddler

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    Nice Black Friday Opt Out...The weather wasn't so nice here, so hiking subbed in for paddling.

    Here's a USGS of the area:
     
  4. fishboat

    fishboat Paddler

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    ..hey..no rudder?..haven't gotten around to the install yet?
     
  5. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Paws,

    From the USGS topo segment which fishboat posted, looks like not much more detail on underwater topography. Sometimes a topo of an impoundment shows detailed topography from a time before the lake existed. Not here. Borrow a sounder and note some waypoints with a borrowed GPS, and you can navigate those mystery areas later with aplomb.
     
  6. pawsplus

    pawsplus Paddler

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    Actually, that's much better! Showsthat there is nowhere to get through where there is, in fact, no way to get through. Where does one get those?

    Re: rudder--can't decide if I should do it or not. Afraid it will make me weak LOL.
     
  7. fishboat

    fishboat Paddler

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    LOL :lol:

    With respect to the USGS (7.5 minute) maps..I use Caltopo to access them, see http://www.westcoastpaddler.com/community/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=7721

    Caltopo is now a (low cost) subscription service...the guy who created it was dropping something like $4000-$7000 a month in maintenance costs (and much of his free time). He's charging a fee in the effort to just try to break even. I think you can still use it (free) by going to the site, enter a lat-lon, set he map to USGS 7.5 (top right), and use the snipping tool to grab a map. You can get a lat lon of anywhere by using google maps, find a location, right click on location and click "What's Here?" and a popup will appear with the lat lon, copy them, paste anywhere.

    That said..I did some searching and found this..looks like it might work..and it's free. I haven't tried it. If you give it a spin, let us know how it works.

    http://store.usgs.gov/b2c_usgs/b2c/start/(xcm=r3standardpitrex_prd)/.do

    http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Download-Complete-USGS-Topo-Maps-for-Free/


    I also noted yesterday that Cabelas has Garmin Etrex 20x units are on sale for $150 ($50 off normal $200..Christmas is coming you know :). I have an etrex 20..nice little unit (though the base maps included in the unit are not great..which is typical as any mfg wants to sell you better maps).
     
  8. pawsplus

    pawsplus Paddler

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    GPS would make me weak, too. ;-)
     
  9. fishboat

    fishboat Paddler

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    lol..you're funny..(in a good way)
     
  10. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    LOL. That's a good one.

    I scoffed at using a GPS, leaving an early eTrex in the box for a year, until guilt about shunning a gift from my son [blush] overcame me. With no maps, about all it did for me was measure Speed Over Ground, and if I did the laborious lat/lon takeoffs from a paper chart, waypoints for critical features. A Garmin Map 60C, with some bucks invested in BlueCharts for my favorite paddlespots, completely reversed my attitude. Many, many times I used it to finesse crossings crabbing against a substantial beam current where I could not get a good range, and once or twice it saved me from wandering around in the fog near shipping channels. There is hardly anything as frightening as the regular boop boop of a ship's horn, in the fog ... somewhere near you ... getting closer? ... or is that farther away? ... and not knowing where in hell you are, or where you are taking your boat.

    No prudent paddler purposely tackles a shipping channel crossing in fog, but if the stuff overtakes you, the GPS can save your bacon, tofu-based or otherwise.

    It also made sorting out routes easy in the kind of low, poorly defined islands we have on parts of the Columbia where a compass course is too much trouble to chart out, and the channel you need to hit is inscrutable.

    Finally, it made it easy to see where we went, and more fun to pass around trip accounts, in the same way that Pawsplus's route shots do.
     
  11. pawsplus

    pawsplus Paddler

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    It just seems like an expensive thing (given that one must purchase extra maps for serious $$$), since most of my paddling is on lakes and rivers.
     
  12. drahcir

    drahcir Paddler

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    Yes, you might save your money until you move to the Northwest.
     
  13. designer

    designer Paddler

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    I like to look the area over via Google Earth first and photos taken three years ago (11/29/12) of the paddle area show one, and only one, way into that area - not that such a way would be there now, three years later.



    Though a person usually knows when the sun goes down, for people like me - who travel hundreds of miles from "home" to get to the ocean, it's nice to use the GPS to check Sunset time at my current location. Helps decide when it is time to pull in. Also, given my average speed, it approximates my arrival time at an intended destination. Sure, such can be done with guesses of speed and distance. But the reporting accuracy of the GPS allows for faster response if things aren't going as planned.

    My main reason for using GPS is because when hiking/camping and bad weather/fog sets in, I can just stop and camp. But on the water, not so much.

    However, I have found the mapping available on an iPad type device - which probably includes smart phones - exceeds what Garmin has to offer for much, much lower cost. I'm talking handhelds, not dedicated large boat mounted chart/plotters.

    I use Giai and iNavX. Giai gives me all the topo data, NOAA charts AND satellite views I need of the area (downloadable so wifi connection is not needed), and iNavX couples with AyeTides to give tide and current information.

    If you do get a Garmin, I'd suggest at least getting a Legend model because that includes tide information from selectable stations near your location.

    If you depend on the GPS, you will become .... weak. But if you use the GPS, it becomes just another tool.

    Oh - great decal. When I owned a boat, I had to tith to the Church of West Marine. If I didn't buy something for at least $5.00 each week, something that cost $25 would fall overboard.
     
  14. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    You mean like commercial and military aircraft and shipping vessels depend on GPS? Hardly "weak" -- this is 2015, the technology is very reliable. There's no need for melodrama.
     
  15. kayakwriter

    kayakwriter Paddler

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    Lovely trip report, PP. I wonder if we could get "Church Of Trangia" decals made?

    I'm a keen GPS user myself. It's great for getting max speed when sailing, and checking whether I'm sailing to windward enough to hit my desired landfall. Also, as noted above, for real time measurement of how much "ferrying off" is needed during a long crossing.
    All that said, as someone who at one point could navigate by sextant, I note this article with interest:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/che ... l-academy/
     
  16. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Whoa! In context, her statement was meant as a joke, winking emoticon included. Did not seem to me like any melodrama was intended. Rather, it was a spinoff from an earlier comment about the rudder versus no rudder perennial debate.

    Extending this a bit further, the exchanges among designer, drahcir, kayakwriter, and pawsplus have raised the question whether, given the investment required, one "needs" a GPS as an essential piece of navigation gear ... a discussion of which may be worthwhile.

    Maybe, Dan, with your encouragement, we should open another thread in that direction?
     
  17. designer

    designer Paddler

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    Thank you Dave. I thought I was just extending the humor, hence the .... Sheeech! :)

    I'll be assisting in a Map/Compass/GPS class this coming weekend and one point will be - that though the GPS itself is reliable, there are other aspects around it that require concern - like people using their phone for photos and phone calls, then don't have battery for emergency (happens here in mountain country every winter).

    But I don't want to hijack PawsPlus's nice trip report for GPS discussion - probably a better topic for Safety issues.
     
  18. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    My apologies -- I missed the reference to Paw's initial post (with the smiley). Regardless, I think it is quite possible to use a dedicated GPS (not on a phone) safely in this day and age without problems. Feel free to start up another discussion, Dave.
     
  19. nootka

    nootka Paddler

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