Thursday, June 23, 2011

Time for a cool change, paddlers

For us kayakers who call inland Northern California our home, it’s officially summer, also known as the season when birds fall out of the trees in flames. With several 100-plus-degree days already under our sweaty belts, it’s time to consider some cooler paddling options. If you’re not up for whitewater snowmelt, then what?

Cate Hawthorne does a pourover (Photo by Jeff Laxier) 
I was pondering just that when I ran across a message from Liquid Fusion Kayaking. The Fort Bragg outfitter specializes in Mendocino Coast paddling tours and classes, and owners Jeff Laxier and Cate Hawthorne know the area well. Recently, Norcal Yak pal Trudy – a former Mendo resident – joined Cate for a sunset cruise on the Noyo River and came back with a rave review of her experience. 

Jeff Laxier drops in on a fun wave (Photo by Paul Kuthe)
“The rivers have been easy and gorgeous,” said Jeff of late spring water conditions and the birthing season for sea birds and seals. “The baby birds are falling out, getting pushed out and darn near being dragged out to enjoy the Noyo River Estuary each day.”

Jeff and Cate are holding sea kayak rock gardening clinics July 8-10. And they have a couple of open spots left. I would jump at this if I didn't have longstanding plans to join Headwaters’ Dan Arbuckle and a group for a weekend of camping, paddling, and feeding the skeeters near Redding – a cool spot, not! Some lucky kayaker will enjoy Mendo magic while we march or fry, as the French Legionnaires say.

Jeff says that he and Cate focus on classes and guided tours tailored to the skills of their clients, so it sounds like a great way to beat the heat without beating yourself up in the surf. Click the link above to their excellent Web site for contact info, fees, and various paddling trip options.

More incentive needed? When it was 102 in Sacramento the other day, Mendocino was struggling to hit 60.