Thank You! See You in 2018!

Thank you for a great kayaking season! Our shuttle and kayaks are packed up and ready to be stored for the colder months!
Online booking is open for 2018 & gift cards and t-shirts can be purchased throughout the entire year! We will be checking our emails and voicemail periodically, so do not hesitate to reach out!

Kayaking Merit Badge

As Autumn solstice arrives, officially ending the 2017 Summer at 3:02PM Wisconsin time, we are proud to make an exciting announcement!

 

We kayak a lot! We mean A LOT! But everyone must start somewhere and first times for anything can be nerve racking! Whether you’re preparing for your first kayaking adventure or you just want to gain more experience on the water we are always happy to support you, and here is one more way we are doing so!

We are confirmed Boy Scouts of America Merit Badge Counselors for:

  • B.S.A. Kayaking Merit Badge
  • B.S.A. Stand-Up Paddle Board Award

Let us tell you, it took a considerable amount of paperwork, training, and planning, but it definitely is all worth it and we send a BIG THANK YOU to Bay-Lakes Council for their guidance in the process!

For our local troop leaders, you can see our listing and contact details by following these 3 easy steps:

Step 1 Go to http://www.baylakesbsa.org/

Step 2 Click the ‘About Us’ tab. Go to Districts. Click ‘Gathering Waters District’.

Step 3 Under ‘District Forms’ you will find a password protected list named ‘Gathering Waters District Merit Badge Database’.

 

We recommend reading the full Kayak Merit Badge booklet, but to review the badge requirements feel free to download the PDF seen here  – – – B.S.A. – Kayaking

Guest Blog – American Cancer Society

This week we are excited to give the spot light to our local chapter of the American Cancer Society! In October we will be supporting them with a fundraiser excursion – check out the poster to learn more! Enjoy their article below to learn how we can all make a positive change in our local community!

 

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At the American Cancer Society, we’re on a mission to free the world from cancer. Until we do, we’ll be funding and conducting research, sharing expert information, supporting patients, and spreading the word about prevention. All so you can live longer — and better.

While most people know us for our research, we do so much more. We attack cancer from every angle. We promote healthy lifestyles to help you prevent cancer. We research cancer and its causes to find more answers and better treatments. We fight for lifesaving policy changes. We provide everything from emotional support to the latest cancer information for those who have been touched by cancer. And we do it all 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Everything the American Cancer Society does benefits everyone right here in our communities. The American Cancer Society provides the funds for cutting-edge research that can leads to better treatments for people in our neighborhoods. We advocate for better laws to help people in our state threatened by cancer. We’re in every community providing people with free information and services – when they need it most. Only the American Cancer Society has the scope and expertise to take this comprehensive approach to eliminating cancer as a major health problem. So when some of the money raised helps a researcher in another state investigate a new cancer treatment or to fund the development of a new program or service, everyone in our community still benefits. It is hard to associate a number with some of the things the American Cancer Society has done to help the Fox Valley community, like the number of people affected by the smoking ban in restaurants and bars or the exact number of people that are being helped by a treatment discovered by and American Cancer Society funded researcher.

I am happy to share with you that in 2016, the American Cancer Society provided the services and programs below to cancer patients right here in the Fox Valley (Outagamie, Winnebago & Calumet counties):

210 free wigs & head coverings through our TLC program
187 nights of free lodging
64 women attended our Look Good Feel Better program
106 Personal Health Managers were provided to newly diagnosed patients
35 Reach to Recovery visits were provided to breast cancer patients
202 free rides were provided for cancer treatment
4 free airline flights were provided
183 patients served with general information & navigation

So weather you are a volunteer, participant in an event or donate to the American Cancer Society know that your money is truly going to make a difference in the lives of so many people. I encourage you to visit our website at www.cancer.org for more information or to find out how you can get involved in helping us forward our mission of saving lives, celebrating lives, and leading the fight for a world without cancer.

Book Report: The Big Thirst

Book title and author: The Big Thirst by Charles Fishman

Main idea of story: The book explores the economic side of water, shining a light on and putting into perspective the necessity of water in our daily lives.

Main characters in the story: Many cases are presented throughout the book, in addition to research, studies and surveys. Fishman also presents compelling stories of leaders in the water industry.

Something unique and interesting about the story/book for readers to know: Fishman maintains a positive tone while discussing the often serious and disappointing subject of water scarcity. This book offers practical suggestions to change our attitude towards water and use less water without making drastic changes to our behavior!

Favorite part of the story/book and why: In Chapter 9, Fishman observes the widely varying cost of water in different cities and states, bringing examples of farmers getting water for next to nothing and Las Vegas residents paying relatively huge sums for their everyday water use. He dives into factors effecting water use and questions the status quo opinion about a “fair” price for water.

Was this book entertaining, educational, amusing, etc.?: Overall, the book is educational, but the stories and statistics are sure to keep the reader entertained.

Would you recommend this book? Without a doubt! Anyone with an interest in water and/or economics is sure to enjoy!

 

We aren’t the only ones who enjoyed the read! Check out what others had to say about the book below!

 

“Extensively researched yet highly readable … The most fascinating conclusion of The Big Thirst is that there is no global water crisis, but a lot of local water crises that can each be solved at the local level.”

  • The Miami Herald

“A captivating account … overflowing with stories large and small about water.”

  • The Wall Street Journal

“Is it all over for water? In this comprehensive, entertaining, and torrential flow of a book, journalist Charles Fishman answers with a definitive no … The Big Thirst is a key read … Informative and wide-ranging … a delight.”

  • Nature

 

If you’ve read The Big Thirst, we are happy to hear your thoughts! Until next time, keep reading and stay thirsty friends!

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

Labor Day weekend is here – the final long weekend of the year before kids head back to school and pumpkin spice season begins – oops, we mean autumn. The sun is shining and the water feels great, but before we get in our kayaks or fire up the grill, let’s take a moment to remember the history of Labor Day.

Labor Day has been an official National Holiday for over 100 years, but its roots trace back to New York in 1882. Although there is some dispute as to who founded Labor Day, recent research indicates that Matthew Maguire proposed the idea while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York.

 

The idea was clearly supported, and the first Labor Day was celebrated on September 5th of that year, when thousands of workers took unpaid time off to march in the first Labor Day parade. Two years later, Labor Day was officially created in New York City to be celebrated on the first Monday of September. Soon after, several other cities and states began adopting Labor Day. The holiday was created to appreciate and celebrate workingmen. From machinists to carpenters, these hard workers finally got a relaxing day off, which was especially uncommon during the Industrial Revolution of the late 1800s.

In 1894, Labor Day became a national holiday to be celebrated every first Monday of September! Since then, hardworking Americans have been enjoying parades, recognition, barbecues, and a fun day to spend with family and friends. Whether you are spending your Labor Day relaxing inside or paddling through the Appleton Locks, we wish you a safe and fun weekend!

A Culture of Safety

We are talking about safety again!

Yeah, yeah, it may be boring to talk about, but we care about YOU and want everyone to enjoy the waterways safely so they can chat about their adventures later over a bonfire and s’mores, giggles and more!

Today we are going to focus on life vests [technically known as PFDs – Personal Flotation Device]. These things will save your LIFE – We always recommend wearing it! It’s like wearing a seatbelt in a car or a helmet on a bike!

Buoyancy is the force required to keep a person’s head and chin afloat above water. In general, adults need an extra 7 to 12 pounds of buoyancy to stay afloat [we recommend getting a child specific PFD for your little ones]. How much buoyancy you may require in the water varies depending on body weight and fat, lung size, clothing and water conditions (rough or calm).

Each PFD sold for recreational use is required to include a guide entitled “Think Safe – Choose the Right PFD”.  These pamphlets are tailored to the kind of PFD to which they are attached.

Not all PFDs are created equal. There are different classes for varying purposes. Check below for a quick break-down of the different classes!

Class I – Big and Buoyant

These “off shore life jackets” are bigger and bulkier than other PFDs, but they will keep someone floating face up for the longest period of time. They are designed for safety in deep, open waters before rescue teams can arrive.

Class II – The Industry Standard

The most common type of PFD. These are the standard life jackets that can be bought in many stores and are designed for use near shore on calm waters.

Class III – Floatation Aid

These PFDs are designed for boating and paddling activities. They offer buoyancy without sacrificing too much comfort and ease of movement. Recommended for use in calm waters.

Class IV – Throwable Devices

Cushions and buoys can be used as a backup PFD. They are useful to provide assistance to someone already swimming.

Class V – Specialty Devices

These are used primarily in occupational settings. Some incorporate buoyancy into deck suits or hybrid vests. Their designated use varies.

It’s not just about owning the right PFD, it’s also about wearing it properly! Always make sure that you follow the fitting instructions with your PFD, including fastening buckles, straps, and zippers. If you’re not wearing your PFD, it won’t do you any good.

PFDs can obtain natural wear and tear, so make sure you follow maintenance instructions, inspect it regularly, and test your PFD in a controlled setting.

Have any other questions? Check out our FAQ page or feel free to contact us!

Stay safe on the water!

Book Report: Blue Mind

Book Title and Author: Blue Mind by Wallace J. Nichols

Main idea of story:  This book dives into the fascinating emotional, behavioral, psychological, and physical connections humans have with water! Explore the world of water like never before!

Main characters in the book: Author Wallace J. Nichols guides you through the waves of research which provides insight into the powerful effects water has on our mind, bodies, and souls! He also presents compelling stories from athletes, leading scientists, military veterans, and gifted artists!

Something unique and interesting about the story/book for readers to know: The Author discusses the idea of ‘your brain on water’ and how merely being by, on, or in water can reduce stress, increase happiness, and overall improve quality of life! His approach incorporates varying sciences amongst other perspectives for a thorough discussion!

Favorite part of the story/book and why: The entire book is enthralling, but one favorite can be found on page 218-219. Here Wallace introduces the idea of ‘flow’. A beautifully articulated idea which we don’t consciously think about, but simply go with the flow.

Was this book entertaining, educational, amusing, etc?: Overall this book is very educational, but the approach is such that you are entertained throughout, with moments of wonder, shock, and understanding!

Would you recommend this book?: If you are passionate about water and want to learn more about yourself then absolutely, YES, read this book and enjoy!

Blue Mind by Wallace J. Nichols is a National Bestseller! You don’t have to take our word for it though! Check out what others had to say about the read below!

 

“Blue Mind has the power to reveal how your health and happiness are tied to oceans and waterways, no matter where on Earth you live.”

-Dr. Sylvia Earle, founder of Mission Blue and Explorer in Residence at National Geographic

“A fascinating study of the emotional, behavioral, psychological, and physical connections that keep humans so enchanted with water.”

-Nicola Joyce, Washington Post

“Using a combination of anecdotes and hard data, Nichols makes a persuasive case for water’s healing power.”

-Amanda FitzSimons, Elle

 

 

Just as Wallace J. Nichols signed off at the end of his book we will bid the same – We wish you Water!

Freedom to Portage!

The locks on the Fox River are very popular to paddle through and enjoy (check out our Appleton and Little Chute Locks excursions, which are the most popular routes), but today we are talking about navigating around them!

No one likes to get “locked” in place and kayaking is all about freedom of flow! Our local locks are not operational all the time and many of them are not functional yet! No worries kayaking friends – we can always portage!

What is portaging? Portaging is the act of carrying a boat or its cargo over land to get from one navigable waterway to another.

Why might you portage? The most common reason to portage is due to an obstruction in a waterway, such as a tree, dam, or lock.

Some of the locks on the Fox River have marked portage paths, but if you come to an obstruction without a referenced portage path, on the Fox River or other body of water, your right to portage remains the same.

Portaging is a physical activity. With a lighter vessel, this can be done by oneself, but it’s always easier and more fun to share the load with a helping hand to cross the path! The act of portaging is as old as kayaks and canoes themselves [1000s of years old first done by the arctic inhabitants now known as the Inuits]. To hop across islands or cross a barrier to continue a journey is something special that can offer the feeling of traversing you to a simpler time. If you haven’t incorporated it into your kayaking adventure yet we recommend trying it!

For more information about portaging or if you have general questions feel free to reach out to us! There are many other organizations supporting paddler’s adventures out on the water as well!

Guest Blog – Surrealist Photography by Emily Showers

We welcome guest blog appearances from all walks of life. We are happy to feature artists, adventurers, writers, and anyone with a story to tell!

This week we are excited to give the spot light to Emily Showers! A local photographer with an eye for surrealism and an interesting perspective on photography. We hope you enjoy the work she created while joining us for our 4th of July festivities!

 

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I enjoy shooting infrared photography because it is a way humans can perceive part of a world they cannot see. Viewing a rendition of an invisible world unearths subconscious thoughts and broadens minds. Our own limits close us off from a universal understanding. Art is a portal to expand our perception and power of observation.

Photographers, including me, like speed, but slowing down reveals transformation, whether it is clouds, boats or people. I superimposed fast images with long exposure infrared images in the gifs. It reveals an infinite number of events can exist in the same plane. Existence is not static. Instead it tumbles and morphs such as a lake’s surface.

Some of my favorite subjects in school were physics, genetics, mathematics, philosophy and art. I attempt to incorporate scientific principles into my work; such as the process of change. People often find those subjects daunting, but I feel as if all humans have an intuitive understanding of them; art helps open the mind to them. Infinite knowledge comes to those who are willing to open themselves up.

 

“Reflection Crash” Infrared gif superimposed over black and white photograph

 

“Neon Psychosis” Long exposure light painting superimposed over color photograph

 

“Round Trip Travel” Color photography gif

 

“Trembling Figures” Infrared gif superimposed over black and white photograph

 

“Infinite Synapse” Infrared gif

 

“Labyrinth’s Vector” Color photograph

 

“Rolling Kayak” Infrared gif superimposed on black and white still

 

“Tinker” Light painting superimposed on black and white gif

 

“How Many Thoughts Were Thought While This Was Produced?” Infrared gif superimposed over black and white still.

 

“Neon Quiver” Long exposure light painting superimposed over color photograph.

 

“Mechanical Spector” Long exposure light painting superimposed over color photograph.

 

Preserving Our Local History – River Time

We are honored to have the opportunity to preserve a small piece of local history! Below you will find a YouTube link to the freshly uploaded video we converted from VHS.

‘River Time’ is a short 30-minute video documenting the history of the Fox River and the surrounding area. Made by local volunteers and community leaders in the 90s, the clothing fashion may look a bit funny now, but the facts are very interesting and informative!

We would like to say thank you to Karen Laws, the Producer and Director who gave us permission to bring this video into the 21st Century! Thank you to Tom Frantz at University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley for assisting with the digital conversion.  Also a big thank you to the rest of the River Time team for providing inspiration for what Fox River Kayaking Company does today!

 

So dim the lights, grab some popcorn and enjoy the show!