Posts Tagged With: Charlotte

Choosing A Kayak For Fishing

Kayak angling has been among the fastest growing recreational sports over the past decade. You hear a lot about the increasing (and to me, mystifying) popularity of stand-up paddle-boarding, but in reality kayaks designed for fishing have outsold SUPs 10-to-1 over the past 5 years. The reasons for the kayak angling trend are threefold: 1) The best fishing is found in places that cannot be easily accessed from shore; 2) Traditional fishing boats are expensive to own and maintain, and difficult to store, transport and launch; 3) Relatively inexpensive kayaks designed especially for angling are readily available in nearly every sporting goods store.

If you are thinking about taking the plunge into kayak angling, there are a few things you need to know and consider. The first and most critical decision you’ll need to make is sit-on-top (SOT) or sit-inside. SOTs are the more popular choice for fishing because they offer a lot of on-deck storage for ready access to equipment and allow the angler to move around a bit more and cast from a wider variety of positions. Many would contend that SOTs are more stable and more difficult to swamp or flip. On the other hand, sit-insides tend to be drier, and quite honestly I think “swampability” is hugely exaggerated. I have fished for years on large lakes and rivers from a sit-inside and have never had more than an inch or two of water in the cockpit from a rogue wave. Conversely, I’ve paddled SOTs and been soaking wet the whole time. To put it bluntly, if you paddle a SOT, you are going to be wet… very wet, so if you tend to fish in areas where the water is colder or if you simply don’t like being wet all the time, then the sit-inside is probably a better bet.  Continue reading

Categories: On the Water | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My September 11th Story

Every generation has its, “I’ll never forget what I was doing when…” event. Well into their 70’s, my parents could tell you exactly what they were doing on the day JFK was assassinated, to a level of detail that was, in itself, telling. For most of us, our “never forget” event is September 11, 2001. I wrote this account of the day, from my perspective, a few years ago, and republish it every year on the anniversary. Never forget.

In the late summer and early fall of 2001, I was traveling extensively for my job with R.S. Byrnes Associates. On September 10th, I left the office in the late afternoon and drove to the Piedmont Triad airport in Greensboro to catch a flight to Canton. In those days, it was often much less expensive to fly U.S. Airways from Greensboro than Charlotte, even if, as was the case on that day, the connecting flight to the final destination was through CLT. The 30 minute flight from Greensboro to Charlotte was uneventful, but the connection was very tight and I rushed from my gate to pick up a to-go sandwich before boarding the Dornier 328 turboprop for the two hour flight to Ohio.  I was planning some leisurely reading during the flight and had brought the new Kathy Reichs novel, Fatal Voyage, to read en route. No sooner had we reached our cruising altitude, however,  than the weather took a turn for the worse, and eating my sandwich and reading my book became difficult as the plane rocked in the turbulence. Somewhat ironically, Fatal Voyage was about a plane crash in the North Carolina mountains. Continue reading

Categories: From the Desk | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

A Psychological Guide to the Appalachian Trail

For the vast majority of outdoor enthusiasts, the idea of through-hiking the Appalachian Trail is just that, an idea; something to think about abstractly on long winter nights or talk about after a beer or two with friends. Ultimately, most of us find the idea of 2,200 miles and six months of our lives (not to mention 100+ miles of elevation change) too strong a deterrent to consider actually doing anything about it.  Last night, however, I sat in a room at REI-Charlotte with 30 other people, among whom — I strongly suspect — I was the only one who either hadn’t already hiked some significant portion of the Appalachian Trail or who wasn’t seriously considering doing so.

Truth be told, I have hiked a very small section of the AT near the Nantahala Outdoor Center in western North Carolina; by my calculations about .13% of the total distance. And last spring, I hiked more than 300 miles in various locations over a 3 month period preparing for the 28-miles-in-one-day CureSearch Ultimate Hike. That brief glimpse into endurance trekking brought me to an understanding about just how difficult it really is… and how poorly suited I am for it. While I found the physical rigors challenging, it was the mental aspect of hiking mile after mile after mile that wore on me the most, and that is why I attended the REI event. Continue reading

Categories: In the Woods | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

North Carolina’s “Fifth Season” And Time to Start Thinking About Fall Planting

ImageWhen I recruit companies to North Carolina in my “day job” as an economic developer, the state’s temperate, four-season climate is often a major selling point, particularly for folks who have just come through a long Michigan winter or a broiling Texas summer. I don’t usually mention our “Fifth Season” though; the one that starts around the first of August and runs through mid-September. Different people know this season by different names. My fishing buddy calls it “Nothing Biting” season. I call it “Brown-Out” season; the six week period when the Spring/Summer plants have lost their oomph (as my Mother used to say), but it’s too early yet for the Fall planting.

One sure sign of Brown-Out season is the color of my lawn. Like many in the Carolina Piedmont, I plant tall fescue, a type of grass that Winters well and pops brilliant green in the Spring. Alas, it tends to whither under the unrelenting Southern Summer sun and by the first of August, even irrigated, well-manicured fescue lawns look a bit worse for wear. Beyond a little sprinkling if it’s a REALLY dry period, I don’t irrigate, so by August my lawn is, to be charitable, looking a little ragged. This really concerned me the first couple of years down here: I was afraid I’d somehow killed my grass. But now, I take it all in stride, knowing that a little fertilizer, a good core aeration and a bit of overseeding will bring back the lush green carpet by the end of September.  Continue reading

Categories: In the Garden | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ultimate Hike 2012: The Best Laid Plans…

I want to start out my final Ultimate Hike 2012 update by thanking CureSearch for putting on such a wonderful event! It was very well-managed from start to finish and I am glad to have been a part of it. Over the past three months, I have met some amazing people, have pushed myself beyond my perceived limits and have developed a new appreciation for what a few truly inspired individuals can accomplish. As of hike day, Charlotte Ultimate Hike had raised over $196,000 for children’s cancer research, and that figure is expected to exceed $225,000 when all is said and done. That’s nearly a quarter of a million dollars! Thanks to you and the hundreds of other financial supporters, we set a new single hike record for funds raised.

My goals for Ultimate Hike 2012 were to: 1) Raise money for children’s cancer research; 2) Raise awareness for children’s cancer research; and 3) Finish the 28.3 mile hike in 11 hours or less. I am disappointed to say that I was only able to achieve the first two of these goals, as an accident on the trail forced me to withdraw at Aid Station #3 (22 miles).

The day started out great. It was cool and overcast when I hit the trail at 7:15 AM. I covered the first 4.7 miles — to Aid Station #1 — in an hour and 22 minutes… a solid 18 minute mile pace over some moderately difficult terrain. The next seven miles to aid station #2 took a little longer (20 minute per mile average), but I was still making great time as I headed out on the longest and most difficult part of the trail, the ten miles between Aid Station #2 and Aid Station #3. This part of the trail was very rocky and uneven, with multiple elevation changes as it wound along the banks of a river. Somewhere between the 18 and 19 mile mark, I was crossing a shallow stream and lost my footing on the mossy rocks. I took a pretty good fall, bruising my left knee and cutting my shin.

Fortunately, one of the CureSearch team was hiking right behind me with the first aid kit and got the cut disinfected and bandaged. At that point, I thought I might be able to finish, albeit limping the rest of the way, but it didn’t take me long to figure out that it was going to be all I could do just to make it out of the woods and to the next aid station. And that was the end of my Ultimate Hike 2012 experience.

I did finish 22 of the 28.3 miles, but obviously I am disappointed by the outcome. After all the hours and miles of training, I would really have liked to cross that finish line. But, looking on the positive side, I know that I gave it my very best shot and ultimately made a difference — with your assistance — in the lives of children battling cancer. Thank you again for your support.

Categories: In the Woods | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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