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.



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



Boater X 2012

3 05 2012

Last spring some time during Wednesday Night Paddle Session an idea was hatched, brought back to life after several great paddle sessions on the local water scene in and around Cleveland Ohio.  How do we share this experience, this river, and all this fun with others? We toyed with the idea of a play date in the Keel Haulers Manifesto, but the stigma surrounding the “dirty” Cuyahoga was ingrained in the old timer’s brains like salmon smelling their home river. So alas we could never collect any more than the young guns. After a great conversation with Michael Duvall on the just as dirty Rocky River I was encouraged to carry out my plan come the spring 2012.

-Chris Wing, H20 Dreams-

The plotting and scheming between Dave Hill, Doug Lyons, Ron Shasteen, and I began to take hold. We decided to hold the race on the Gorge Section based on historic water levels, with a fall back plan of the Sheraton Section in the event of low water.

Fast forward to the spring of 2012, winter had essentially skipped Ohio, along with the early season rains.  Water levels plummeted, the Sheraton was coming in and we were two months ahead of our typical schedule on the loss of paddling water. This was supposed to be an epic spring with Cuyahoga Falls celebrating their Centennial Anniversary with plans to remove the Sheraton and LeFever dams. We anticipated maybe one run at best this season until the demolition of the dams was completed in late July.

It looked like the Fat Cats had stalled a good dam removal project so we used that to our advantage and moved the race to the Sheraton Section.

-Brandon Conrad-

So on Saturday the 28th of April, the 1st Boater X was held on the Cuyahoga River, Sheraton Section.  The event attracted paddlers as far away as the Charlotte White Water Center to Erie, Pa.

Once the course was set up and the racers were briefed on the lines, we set off down the flat water section at the put in to the Sheraton Dam. With 15 boaters strong we hucked the dam and hung out in the starting eddy for the race to begin. Once there we were met up by about 5 other boaters that were already on the course running laps after setting safety.

The race course for the first 5 heats led from the starting eddy down 25 yards of “flat” water into a river right ferry. Once back into the flow racers had to boof a small hole and then it was off to the first 8’ drop; Rookie Drop. Once in the pool below racers paddled downstream a short distance and eddied on river left behind the rock pile and sprinted into the finishing eddy touching the wall in the caldron eddy.

The final race that both long and short boaters qualified for during the previous heats took them past the rock pile eddy for a 20 yard sprint downstream to the final drop at Staircase, a 12 footer or so. Once racers landed in the eddy pool they had a few choices on the lines through the Jumble into the finishing eddy on river left touching shore to earn their final place ranking.

At the sound of a safety whistle the first heat was off and running, and the rest fell into place shortly thereafter. Spectators lined the shored on River Right, and the hotel restaurant. Five heats strong, led into the finial for a long boat and small boat grand finally.

Racers winning titles at the 1st Ohio Boater X Race were:

Long Boat Division

Nathan Craig- who brought sexy back in an old school Lazer from WaveSport

Short Boat Division

Doug Lyons-with a Jackson

Tommy Highberg- with a Riot

Prizes were rather grass roots. The race winners received a few bottles of home brew and nose plugs (don’t worry Doug yours is coming). This event could not have been pulled off without the help of several people. I would like to list a few of them that made it possible, if you’re not on the list I have not forgotten you and I want to say THANK YOU a few more times.

bDave Hill, Andy Heidenreich, Ron Shasteen, Doug Lyons, Tommy Highberg, Michael Duvall for all the help in the pre-planning and a super big thanks to Pat Emmonds, and Pat Guzowski for helping with safety, Really that was huge! Karen Hawley who has probably heard “Boater X” 200,235,000 times in the last week alone, thanks babe.  Dennis Dukeman thanks for the youtube video. The God Father at the Keel Haulers, and Rob Hammond, for without your correspondence I would have been way more confused, and maybe turned into a C-1 boater….Thanks to the Sheraton Hotel, and The Fire House Bar and Grill, for being able to dominate your bar with our after party!

So next season where will you be, catching a beatdown in Big Nasty 3 hours from home, or running the Boater X 20 minutes from home? Hope to see you there!

Thanks Chris and Sam for bringing attention to our river, for the pictures, and bringing some extra class to the race. Good Luck on your project.

Pilot Collective Media-Sam Fulbright, Team Blisstick  http://pilotcollective.com/

H20 Dreams-Chris Wing, Team Wavesport   http://www.whitewaterdreams.com/

-Corey Spoores-

-Pat Emmonds-

Dash Board Empada winter 2011

19 01 2012

Dash Board Empada

Dash Board Empada is the name of a kayak porn, which if watched like all kayak films and any adventure films will make you feel invincible. This winter has been a good season for grounding some of those feelings of invincibility.

Not long after Christmas, Karen and I met with her family and headed to Winter Park Colorado for some ski action. While they are all expert skiers I would like to take a moment of reflection on how I learned to ski. It all started in advanced gym class with and Matt Henry and Drew Downey, telling me it’s no problem as they pushed me down the hill, not yet knowing how to stop or turn. Flash forward to this past December I felt good keeping up with Karen and her brother Bobby, as they led Tyler and I down the slopes. On day two Karen and I devoted it to skiing with the younger crew and making them feel at home.  While skiing with the younger kids was rewarding I felt a little bored so I blazed my own trail off trail, coming back under the ropes I met my demise and crashed. It was a good time. Ski season lasted for the majority of January and February in Ohio, with the Amherst Jr. High Ski Club; we even had an 8” pow day on the slopes! Good times.

During the winter season I look forward to ice climbing in both Ohio and New York, as always it was a great adventure in the Adirondacks. This time around Mike and were looking to try some new climbing area and attempt to leave the crowds behind at the road side.  On our December scouting trip we managed to find the Canyon and some of the climbs near the beer walls. On our return in February with Karen we opted for some back country climbing on the first two days and headed towards the North Face of Pitchoff Mountian. The trail into the NFPO was along the Jack Rabbit ski trail and thus you have to snow shoe or ski in to avoid damage to the one of the great cross country ski trails.

Day one led to higher temperature than normal close to 50* and sunny which made the ice very wet and close to unsafe. We plodded up on climb and then decided the unsafe conditions were no joke and decided to explore the area and soak up the sun.

Day two the temps returned to normal for the High Peaks Region, the day started in the 20’s and all day they  dropped to around zero and with 20 mph wind, it made for a cold walk out.  The climbing was great though and we sent two routes, Arm and Hammer and Tendonitis before we headed back to the truck. The climbing was a little slower than normal due other parties on the climb ahead of use but during the wait we met some guys from Perrysburg Ohio, who turned out to be pretty cool. Like most crags these we stuck up some conversation with these fellas about lodging and eateries, as it turns out we were staying at Cobble Mtn Lodge this time around verse Art Devlins. They told they have stayed there in the past, and let us in on sweet secret…tales of a grand sauna ( we had no idea about that little gem!) let me be the first to say with cold hands and -20* windchill I could not contain my excitement.

For the last day of climbing we headed to the Chapel Pond Canyon to see what it had to offer.  Mike and I scouted it out in December but it was snowing so hard that we could not see beyond 15 yards. It was a cold morning but sunny for the first part of the walk in until the canyon walls blocked out the sun.  We found a climb called Hot shot and I was feeling saucy. This turned out to be the hardest lead climb for me to date. It was a really good time once I made it to the top, Karen followed along with Mike.

Now as the spring has sprung the ice has melted and the creeks and rivers are flowing with a new vigor, Kayak season is here at last! As compared to last spring I have not been on the water nearly as much but it is beginning to come around.  To date I have had the chance to paddle Slippery Rock Creek, the North Brach of the West Branch of the Rocky River, The Cuyahoga River Gorge,  The Black River and finally Tinkers Creek.  Last season I met some really good paddlers and began to kayak with them on Wednesday nights.  Jon started the Wednesday Night Paddle Session, and following his graduation from Akron University, moved to Minnesota. I decided that I would keep the paddle group alive and interest in the local watersheds.  Along the way I have met some great paddlers this season alone, last night was exception. The crew headed to Tinkers Creek for some fun and scary times following a bad swim, better eat your wheaties. See you next time.