Tuesday, September 23, 2008

We made it up to the G-Fest for the weekend and as usual, it did not fail to impress!

Boats, boats, gear, and more boats! The funny thing is that Arden cannot pass by a boat without stopping to touch it and sit in it. (As you can imagine, it makes for a long walk at the festival!)

We stopped and saw Paul and MK at the PS booth...

We were lucky enough to hang out at the Jackson Kayaks area and meet EJ and his family. Congratulations to the newest member of their family, and I can say for sure, the smallest visitor to the festival! K.C. is beautiful! The are a blessed family for sure.

Rory and Arden (and Canyon) played most of the day on the kayaks and with Dane as I made burgers to feed the masses.

Thank you to the Jackson Family for the hospitality and for the tee shirts!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Welcome Rains and Unexpected Consequences...

With drought being so prevalent in the eastern United States this year, we welcome rain; any rain or moisture that comes, no matter how much or in what capacity, is a blessing to us.

But with the rain comes unexpected and sometimes tragic consequences.

Yesterday, as the rain started to fall, I was excited as to what it meant for everyone in the area. Rain means more water in the wells, a chance to revive produce in gardens, a chance to maybe let the wildlife and plant life here come back to life... and honestly, I was a bit selfish and hoping it meant kayaking for Carl and myself, and river play for the kids.

While we are thankful for the rain we got, it is not near enough to get our water tables back up.

Pretty soon, I began to realize, we might be getting a bit more rain than we can chew... our front drive/road was now a roaring stream... our yard was running with water... I could only imagine the flash flooding on the rivers. There were reports of tornadoes and horrible car accidents.

There was enough water in our drive for the kids to play with their huckers in the rain...

Early in the evening, some friends called. They decided (MUCH AGAINST THEIR BETTER JUDGMENT) to go kayaking, and run "laps" on a local run. The river flashed on them. They are lucky, they are only missing boats and gear, not their lives.

Right now there is at least one kayaker missing in the Smokey Mountains.

We now know that this incident has been reported a fatality. Please send prayers and positive thoughts to the kayaker, his friends and his family.

Issac Ludwig will be missed. http://isaacludwig.com/

Monday, August 25, 2008

Gauley Fest Special Orders anyone?

Gauley Fest is quickly approaching and we are starting full Hucker Production! If you are going to be at Gauley and you want something specific, let us know ASAP. (Especially if it is a Canoe). Email us at: lm.gittings@starband.net Check out our gallery at http://www.myspace.com/lilhuckersfoamiekayakers for ideas! (We aren't limited to these styles/colors, just let us know what you want!)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Hucking the Raven Fork

We were lucky enough to have spent our weekend in the Smokey Mountains, camping along the Raven Fork.

Of course the boys were not without the company of their Lil' Huckers. We had a blast! We even got to see a hellbender that was over 2 feet long!!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Wettest Drought I Have Ever Seen.

Water has been a concern here in WNC for 2 years now. We haven't seen a drop of water at our house in almost a month. Our garden is not producing anything. We have gotten about 10-20 beans total, and nothing else has yielded any produce.

When we started to have issues with our well, I decided to google around and see if other folks were experiencing water shortages. I found a lot of interesting things while doing my research.

*If Western NC doesn't get 13 WEEKS of straight rain above our average, we will be out of water in a year. Our water sheds will be completely dry. Sounds unbelievable doesn't it?

*The French Broad River is at its lowest levels since river levels and weather records were started in the 1800's.

*Combined with last year we are almost 30 inches below our average rainfall since January 2007.

But there was one thing that I found that just completely blew my mind. I came across an online chat discussing the weather and drought conditions here in WNC. A lady was posting how she didn't believe there is a drought. That she is getting rain every day, and the rivers and streams have plenty of water. She called it "The wettest drought I have ever seen".

I am appalled and amazed at both her ignorance and her lack of common sense when people tried to tell her about the issues with rain and water sources.

What really got me thinking about this today was that we decided to go to the "Ledges Park" on the French Broad. As I posted before, the water is the lowest it has ever been. Literally, there are no records showing it at these levels. As I drove down to the park I gasped. I hadn't been down in a month or so (you can find my last post from it) and when I saw the lack of water and the yellowing grass and trees, I was dismayed.

The boys and I waded in the shallow pools while Carl and Rhett paddled down stream for what may be the last time this summer, or even longer.

The water level is dropping so quickly that soon he won't be able to get down the river, today was close.

While Carl and I were talking about the amazing sight of the river and rocks, he really put it in perspective for me. We are looking at rocks and fossils that no one who is alive has ever seen.

No one has ever seen these rocks that are jetting out of the water and mud.

No one has ever seen the pot-holes that have been caused by millions of years of water rushing over a loose stone.

No one has walked on these cobblestones.

But then again, we are in "the wettest drought I have ever seen".

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sundays at the River 7-13-08

Pretty much every Sunday, after church, you can find our family at one of the local rivers here in western North Carolina. It is a great place for children and families to go and have fun in the outdoors. There is no better place than the river to celebrate life, God, and each other!

Here are a few shots of Arden in the kayak in the river for the first time. It is a PS Composites Spy. You can see other boats just like it at www.customkayak.com Paul and MaryKay rock! Check them out.

Here is our friend Rhett giving Rory a ride on the front of his boat today with my Lil' Hucker in tow. Rory had a blast "paddling" the boat for Rhett!

The Dirty Bird and Big Creek

Lisa Marie spent her Saturday at the Pigeon River paddling with a buddy, and then headed up to Big Creek to spend some time hanging out with our family and some friends.

We swam, played, grilled, chased Lil' Huckers and just had a blast. Enjoy the photos.

We can now say for sure that the grown-ups had more fun with the Lil Huckers than the kids did! (Seeing as how the "big boys" decided they wanted to play alone and leave the little boys and ladies on the shore...)

What are "Lil' Huckers" and what does that mean?!

Lil' Huckers

Miniature foam kayakers, or "foamies", have been good clean fun for many people of all ages for quite a while now. I thought my three year old would have some fun one Saturday morning by making a foamie.

Well, it was fun, fun for us to make and even more fun for him to play with in the bathtub, the lake, the waves at the beach, the swimming pool, and the little stream that flows through our favorite campsite. The foamies go just about everywhere with us.

My wife and I enjoy whitewater kayaking and being at the river very much, I think foamies are a great way to introduce our kids to rivers and streams and the fun of boats and being outside.

Of course it could be that I am using my kids as an excuse to play with foamie kayakers myself.


v. in cycling, kayaking, snowboarding, and similar sports, to ride over a drop-off.

We call our foamies Lil' Huckers.

Lil' Hucker foamies will run the wildest rapids on the smallest creek, they will surf the white water of the waves at the beach and each time the action gets a bit out of hand and they flip over they will eskimo roll themselve upright, all by themselves, every time and keep on surfing or hucking the "big" falls.

Each Lil' Hucker foamie is handshaped, handpainted, and individually uniquie. Each Lil' Hucker is one of a kind…just like real river runners.

Thank You for looking at Lil' Huckers! We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Lil' Huckers, Who are we?

Lil' Huckers are the premier river toy for children and adults!

As kayakers, my wife and myself take our young children to the rivers on a regular basis and when she and I aren't taking turns paddling, we are introducing them to the different aspects of river running by playing with these great kayak toys!

Our Lil' Huckers have kayaked down some of the meanest drops on the Green Narrows, the have run Big Creek, and even ran the falls at Midnight Hole! They go surfing in Folly Beach, and all over the East Coast and they even go to the rivers of West Virginia pretty often.

Our boys love every minute of their time with these toys and the Lil' Huckers even make it to the bath tub most evenings.

Our 2 year old will not put his down! It goes every where with him! (It may well be the best traveled Lil' Hucker out there!) It goes everywhere with us and seems to have become his best friend.

While having fun and playing with these toys, our boys are learning what holes are, what eddies are, how to read whitewater and how to make their very own rivers/ runs in little streams. At the beach they are learning how to catch waves for surfing and body boarding.

Lil' Huckers are a TON of fun and are a tried and true toy! They are extremely durable (like our 2 year old hasn't done any real damage to ours after over a year!) I think the adults we have sold them to play with them more than the children!

We are currently starting to produce canoes (both white water and flat) as well as rafts.

If you see something you kinda like, or if you don't and want something different, shoot us an email and we can custom build a Lil' Hucker Foamie Kayak just for you!

Our foamies are not made out of wood, they are true to their name, FOAMies. So, order one today and check them out!

Our email is lisa@clothdiaperme.com , just let us know what you want!