March 2007

Paddler’s Notebook

Lake Pleasant Humbug Trip: Ranger Gerber Leads The Way

                                                                           Photo By Norm Samuelson

By Kayak Jay

The Lake Pleasant Paddlers had another great trip in January. Ranger Terry Gerber arranged for the flat boat to ferry 18 boats and paddlers to the mouth of Humbug Creek.

The group paddled several miles up Humbug Cove to a landing at the base of Humbug Creek. Many in the group changed into hiking shoes and followed Ranger Terry up the creek to the Humbug Hydraulic complex.

About three miles up the creek is a set of two dams, used to contain the water for a hydraulic mining operation. The group passed through the tunnel at the top of the main dam that was used to divert water into a 4-foot wide canal that extended down the creek some four and a half miles to the “little giant” water gun used to erode the sides of the creek into a sluice box.

The water was also used for support of the mining center and a small town. The group hiked along much of the canal and found the supports for the flume that brought the water from the top of the banks to the creek bottom.

After lunch at the top of the dams, and a story of William Keating, the Englishman who headed up the unsuccessful attempt to extract gold from the walls of the creek, the hikers returned to the beach, donned their kayaking clothes and continued the paddle around the bay to a pick up point for the flat boat.

The weather was perfect, the lake was calm. and a great time was had by all.

This month you can meet the paddlers at the four-lane boat ramp at 8 a.m. on March 15, for a day tour of the Castle Creek arm. You can also join the fun for a full moon paddle, meeting at the four-lane boat ramp at 6 p.m. on March 31.

Call Ranger Terry Gerber at (602) 372-7460, ext. 202 to learn more, and get your name on his e-mail list.

The Lake Pleasant Paddlers group is open to everyone, and all kinds of paddle craft are represented. If you don’t have a boat, you can rent one.

Peoria Begins Paddle Sport Program

For anyone who is interested in learning about kayaking or canoeing, the City of Peoria Paddle Sport Program is underway. You can get information from Program Director Jason Mangum at (623) 773-7936.

 The best deal by far is the discovery tours — with all equipment, including boat and paddle, instruction from ACA-certified guides and a four-hour trip — all for $30 for Peoria residents and $35 for all others.

The minimum age is 13, but younger children can participate in a double kayak with another family member for an additional $5. Discovery tours are scheduled for Saturday, March 3; Wednesday, March 7; Tuesday, March 20; Thursday, March 22; Saturday, March 31; Saturday, April 7; Thursday, April 12; Sunday, April 15; Saturday, April 21, and Sunday, April 29.

In addition to the discovery tours, the Peoria program includes a six-hour “Quick-Start Your Kayak,” course in a heated pool, and a four course series covering kayaking skills. Kayak Jay teaches the ACA “Quick-Start” course at the lake on a private basis for only $10 more than the Peoria charge, but you have to rent the kayak separately.

Peoria includes the kayaks and paddles and PFDs in the course price.

We are in the prime time for kayaking in Arizona, so make the effort to give it a try. The Peoria courses are a definite bargain, but there are many other possibilities.

If you want to hear more about it, call Kayak Jay at (602) 359-1354.