MST Adventures

18 02 2017

MST Adventures is a new business venture that I have started this past fall. We will be serving the greater Albuquerque metro area with guided trips, private lessons, and equipment rentals.

Since opening our doors in January, we have had great success in the snowshoe rental market. With this,img_-foky64 we will be expanding our rental equipment to include SUP or stand up paddle boards, this coming May.

We look forward to our upcoming guided mountain bike rides, and our private / group lessons for mountain biking, photography, whitewater kayaking, and SUP.

Come check us out!

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The Rio Chama, the river I don’t care to see again.

2 06 2016
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The Desert Monastery

I spent a recent weekend on the Rio Chama, a New Mexican River, a multi-day trip and it killed my sole over a long weekend.  It was memorial weekend 2016 and I was convinced that kayaking a 33 mile stretch of the Rio Chama was going to be a good time. With water flows at or near the 2500 CFS we had high spirits in the days before the trip. But as the launch date began to close in, a communication breakdown began to happen and death spiral ensued.

 

It was close to noon on Saturday the 28th of May 2016, when our group of 7 put on at El Vado Ranch. Nobody wanted to be there, let alone launch our kayaks, laden with an extra 25 pounds of gear, into the cold swift current. The goal was to kayak between 5 and 12 miles before finding a campsite and relaxing for the evening. We had a backup plan which if it had been executed would have taken us into sunny Colorado for two days of paddling the San Juan…It was just never executed.

Surprises; nobody likes them when you spent a lot of time and energy on a plan and begin to execute that idea, only to have the plan change multiple times. It is those people who can be the willow and go with the flow that make great trip leaders. I am pretty rigid, not as much as the long standing oak, but not as flexible as the willow.

It was seven days before the trip that the original plan was modified and the dates push back by a day; this was an easy adjustment. It made my additional holiday plans get canceled and other members of the team waste a paid day of vacation leave. The frustration began to set in, but people are flexible and began to adjust.

Eight short hours before go time, plans changed again, and one team member backed out. This was the team member that the original launch plan had been adjusted for, in the days leading up to the trip. It was not their fault, and the notification was early in the day, maybe we could adjust and still get on the water that night as originally planned.

Then a second team member contacted the trip leader and advised that they were still in Colorado, and by the time they traveled back to Albuquerque, they would not be able to join the team until early Saturday morning.  Fury began to set in, and the death spiral began to commence, as we realized that we could not get on the water until Saturday.

All members of the trip were notified of the adjustments, and went about preparing their boats and gear. We kept our time line and later met at the rendezvous time in a nearby city. It was there as we met back up and prepared to leave for the nights camp site that I realized our team members minds had gone sour, and me, well, I was right there with them.  We grabbed a 4 pack of Tecate and headed out of town pretending that nothing was bothering us. We all wanted to bag this trip and head to the San Juan.

It was close to 1630 hours when we arrived at Big Eddy, the take out for the run. The parking lot was packed with other vehicles. Some had play boats on the roof while others were attached to trailers loaded down with rafts. We began our search for a camp site, which as expected on a holiday weekend was not fun. All of the good spots were taken, and after an hour and a half we located a marginal camp location, which was more of a parking spot than anything else, prepared to settle in for the night.

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“The Beatings will continue until the Moral Improves”

It was at this location that the group moral was obviously low. Everyone began to talk about our back up plan and wanted to leave A.S.A.P. for Pagosa Springs, Colorado.  It was clear this trip was no longer about having fun. This trip was going to be about going through the motions.  I set a dead line of 1000 hours on Saturday, as our default time to kick the backup plan into action.

Once this was set we began to settle into the evening, trying to joke around and laugh about the day. It was clearly obvious that everyone had checked out.

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Camp Night 1, “Where is the bottle of Jim Beam?”

 

As dawn broke the air temperature was close to 37 degrees, and all of the team members were cold and began to questions whether or not they had packed correctly for the trip. We left the camping area and headed to the rendezvous point of Big Eddy to await our last team member. To our surprise he was there, looking like Cosmo Kramer, from Seinfeld.  We began to mill around getting breakfast of cold pizza and cold coffee, it was clear to him that we all had checked out. He began to question why our spirits were low and a group meeting was called.

Team members began to state why they were frustrated, cold, and just genuinely wanting to kayak on another stretch of river, or at least just hit the day run. This all mattered not to him, and he chugged forward with the plan.

It takes a special type of person to ignore all complaints and be unwilling to change. This had become less about running the river for the sake of it, and more about running the river so the commercial permits could be used for the first time in several years. It was about proving to himself that his plan was the righteous plan of action, not the plan of the trip leader. This team member was the sequoia, unable to adjust, or adapt, beyond his own ideas and thoughts.

Some would say I hold on to things a little too long when I get upset. I would agree with that, it can take me several days of working through the situation to figure it all out and let go of the frustration. It has been 3 days since our return from the river, and I am still frustrated. It is not so much that I; the trip leader had a bad plan, as much as it is the lack of my leadership that gets me hot. Had I known more about how our permits work, I could have launched on Friday like the original plan. This was the only part of the process that I did not have any information leading up to the launch date.

In the future, I will take care of every detail, and if people are late, or cannot make the rendezvous time, they need not come. I of all people hate to waste time, and other peoples time. My time is valuable and so I believe theirs is too.

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MJ Running Argon Rapids in the XP10

 

 

 

After all was said and done we spent, two nights and three days on the trip, a trip that should have only taken two days. When we arrived at Big Eddy on Monday, after spending only 45 minutes on the water that day because we “had to camp” for a second night, I left. I left without saying good bye, I left frustrated, angry, and asking myself would I do this trip again. Deep down inside I think I will, but it will be on my own terms, with raft support, good food and way more beer.

There is not really a need to place blame on anyone person, because I could have chosen to accept the new plan and adapt. Instead I opted for resentment. So to the mighty Rio Chama, you were a fun river, but I am done with you for this season.

 

 

 

 





Positive Phototropism, Growing towards the Light

26 05 2016

Positive Phototropism: In a nutshell means this, if you put a plant in the closet, but leave the door open, the plant will grow towards the light.

In life we must bend towards that same light, doing the things that we enjoy. If we allow ourselves to get stuck in the same rut doing the same things, we will get bored and become stale.

I recently listened to a podcast on Ted Radio Hour, (TED) in this podcast it spoke about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  The list is rather basic, Food, Water, Shelter, are pretty much the bottom of the pyramid. As you get closer to the top you will find “Self actualization”.

A short google of the term yields the following definition from Wiki Self-Actualization: “The term was later used by Abraham Maslow in his article, A Theory of Human Motivation, Maslow explicitly defines selfactualization to be “the desire for self-fulfillment, namely the tendency for him [the individual] to become actualized in what he is potentially.”

But what does this all mean?

 

If all your basic needs are met, you can grow, as a person. Find your Light, no matter what it is, mine just happens to be Kayaking currently.

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Turning a page. Frenchy explores a new chapter.

23 01 2016

Much like reading a good book, turning the page brings excitement and a new experience. In the great game of life, when someone turns a page or as I am calling it, “begins a new chapter” it can often times be overwhelming and anxiety filled.

Since relocating to the American Southwest, I have left behind a career that was rewarding to say the least. In searching for something new I have found that what is presented as a great place to work, is really just another corporate run retail business in the outdoor industry. A place where the staff has more formal education than the management, and usually far more experience in the outdoors.  Yet people flock to the retail store to purchase all the latest and greatest in outdoor gear. But for the truly experienced outdoor folks it is really just a bummer to walk in and be met by a sales associate that yearns to be outside. But alas this is a story for another day.

So how do you turn your real outdoor experience into a full time job? Passion. Sharing your passion with other is a great way to start, because after all they might know someone, who knows someone. Working for free and providing services to someone, that when it is all done, they can relay your hard work and determination to others and recommend you for a job or position that has not yet been created or is currently open that needs to be filled.

It was mid fall, and a friend rolled into town. He and his staff were westward bound to lead a kayak/raft trip down the Grand Canyon. I was quick to invite not only my friend, but his whole crew to my house to stay for the night versus camping at a local KOA. It was only then while we talked over shared beers that I realized to be truly satisfied, you have to do what you are passionate about. Yes, we have all heard this line before. But for some it resonates later rather than sooner.

So I am gearing up for a new chapter, one that involves more hard work, but with luck, will be far more enjoyable than continuing to push the corporate machine.

Adventure awaits around the next corner, pack your bags. “Get Change”

Stay Tuned-Frenchy10296166_497434793691995_3624873178453105249_o

 

 





Do something BIG. Do something COOL.

25 08 2013

It’s time. It’s time to do something Big, something Cool, something Different. The summer of 2013 I have traveled less and adventured differently than I have in years past. I miss my whitewater kayak, I miss weekend road trips and camping on a mountain. I have spent more time in the gym than ever before, and less time outdoors than ever before. It eats me from the inside out.

Yesterday at work I spoke to a great adventurer his name is Floyd. (www.facebook.com/PedalForPawsBikeRideBestFriends) Floyd is winding down his summer riding around America on his bicycle. For what? For the Best Friends Animal Society, in Kanab, Utah. Floyd is from the Lake Placid, New York. Ya that’s pretty awesome.

While I have been preparing for this falls Ice Man Cometh Challenge mountain bike race, I have met some new adventurers on the trail. This makes for great conversation on the trail but I am longing for more adventures to call my own. This summer has been more about wedding preparations than about play. July 27, 2013 I married the greatest person ever. The wedding was a great start to a new, longer adventure, than ever before. But alas I am the red jelly bean and long for the little bumps of euphoria along the road of life.

I have been able to share two of my micro trips with others this summer which made for a great time. I am looking for a longer, bigger endeavor. While in Colorado for the wedding I spent a day whitewater kayaking with Mike and Alison on the the great Colorado River. Teaching some new skills, and learning a few new skills in the process too. We had a great trip down the river. The second micro trip was sharing a 14eer with Karen, Addison, and Little Ryan. Two days after the wedding we set off to climb Longs Peak again with two rookies in tow. A great alpine start led to a beautiful sunrise. Fickle mountain weather kept us from the great payoff of the summit, but wise mountain choices kept us alive to play another day.

The next big adventure is around the corner and I can’t wait, but yet have fallen into a state of blah with every day life. Looking for the little things to bring my spirit back around, the fall color change, a second trip to Colorado for a short weekend of fun, and another Iceman. Where else do I go for release and to rebuild the sense of spirit? “The mountains are calling and I must go…”

The Shoshone Section of the Colorado River.

The Shoshone Section of the Colorado River.

Royalview Mountain Bike Trail. Strongsville, Ohio. Thanks to CAMBA

Royalview Mountain Bike Trail. Strongsville, Ohio. Thanks to CAMBA

New gear for this seasons climbimg adventures

New gear for this seasons climbimg adventures

About halfway up the chute on Longs Peak

About halfway up the chute on Longs Peak

Just past Chasam Lake. Sunrise over the Twin Sisters.

Just past Chasam Lake. Sunrise over the Twin Sisters.





Falls Race

31 08 2010

Recently I experienced the 2010 Yough Falls Fest and Sprint Race. This event is held once a year in Ohiopyle, PA. It brings out many acomplished whitewater kayakers to run the Lower Yough Falls which are normally off limits. I made two seperate runs over the falls. The first of the two runs was much better than the second but both went well. My line during the pratice was spot on for a smooth landing, the race line was a little off. My boof stroke was on the right and should have been made on the left.

My Pratice Run

 

And the following pictures are some of the best paddle crew: K.R.T. -> Kinzua River Trippers

“…rocks and water, water and rocks!…”

Thanks for reading