Thursday, March 13, 2014


Had a note from one of the many Bens I know, sent along with an animated gif which makes for an interesting guest post on riversurfing. Do NOT try this at home... just don't. Any of this.

This image is borrowed from

ben: this is "free-run" riversurfing, like i told you about. i usually do "tied-run" with a tetherline to a shore tree and a boogieboard
me:  aha! yes, there are surfers who love this! and river kayakers too
ben: i like doing it in threefoot deep narrows where there are submerged sandrises rather than rocks, but the most intense is where a waterfall pool narrows back into those short stretches of fast whitewater, so long as you dredge the area for branches and debris first
me:  it's those underwater branches etc. that are killers. Sweepers at the surface can at least be seen if not avoided. But underwater?

ben: i always work with a buddy, and we string lines of parachute cord across the stretch then trace along it with a pole sweeping for obstructions
me: worth the time

 ben: Plus I usually wear a bike helmet in case of wipeouts and impacts. Plus they help buoyantly keep your head above water if you get stunned.

me:  Was looking at rock climbing helmets and kayaking helmets in MEC yesterday. Those helmets are good for more than one knock, unlike bike helmets
ben:  Yeah a lot of engineering goes into climbers' helmets. My last one was excellent for over a year of use then some critter gnawed it up for the sweatsalt when I left it at camp.
me:  ah. salt-loving critters!
 ben:  yeah same trip i found out otters will eat though a knapsack to get at coffee grounds
 me:  bears I'd expect. But otters?
 ben:  well, that and how good otter tastes
 me:  ravens ate a bag of dried apricots out of my knapsack on Long Beach once
ah, otter tastes? Not fishy?
 ben:  fishy, and oily. sort of like tuna and squirrel with a nutty aftertaste. good with worshtershire sause
 me:  Every kind of meat is better with worchestershire sauce!
 ben:  Especially when it's cooked on an open beach in a dried seaweed lined dugout.
  me:  hunger is the best sauce
 ben:  well that and "what are you doing in my bag, no don't try to bite me, snap, well i guess i had better cook you thoroughly now"
 me:  thorough cooking to get all the bejeebers out of the meat
ben:  Actually otter is like rabbit and gopher. Most of their parasites are either not easily transferred to people, obvious, or easily destroyed by basic cooking. Just avoid organs and nervous system areas if you are not sure and thoroughly dissect the area around the thigh. Parasitic worms always leave tissue markings most obviously there since there is so much of one type of tissue to compare samples of and easy access to both endocrine and circulatory systems. I took a course in pacific northwest bushmeat from a reservation instructor years back. Most of it is pretty basic but he was great for being able to demonstrate old wound versus disease with varnished samples he made in university.
 me:  Three Cheers For Continuing Education/ Community Extension Classes!
 ben:  Three cheers for native fellowship grants that give extra if you agree to teach cultural immersion classes for the community
 me:  This class sounds more practical than either of the ones I'm doing on Whidbey Island next month.
ben: It is amazing the small accessible and inexpensive classes you can find when you read posting boards while lurking in university libraries to get out of the rain.
 me:  amen

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