Inline Skating and Packrafting – Road and River Test on the South Platte
Kuner, CO, April 16, 2011. Alpacka Yukon packraft in a backpack together with a life jacket, chota boots, Epic take apart paddle, water, and some other essentials, together about 24lb.
It took me about 40 minutes to ride 5.5 miles on inline skates to Kersey. I chose back roads (county roads 61 and 388) on the left shore of the South Platte River – light traffic and smooth asphalt. I was riding on the left side facing the traffic ready to jump to shoulder if necessary. Everybody gave me plenty of room including big farm trucks. The main road along the South Platte, highway 34, has a wide shoulder, but covered with sand and gravel. My route was almost avoiding the very busy county road 37 leading from Kersey to the river.
There was a lot of wild turkey around Kuner.
Kersey. Time to change gears. It took me only 5 minutes to inflate my packraft with an inflation bag. However, I used next 15 or 20 minutes to attach my backpack and launch the packraft. I need a better system …
The South Platte River was running very low during last month, but it got more water after a recent day of rain and snow. I caught a decreasing flow of 400 cfs at Kersey. My cruising speed downriver was between 4.5 and 5 mph, so after just 1 hour and 20 minutes I returned back to Kuner.
The river leg was quite relaxing while the road part was much more difficult and exhausting. I started too late (~10am) when it was getting pretty hot on the road and I didn’t have a hydration system accessible when skating. I have still original wheels on my new skates (K2 Mach 100) which are pretty soft. My old skates with smaller, but harder racing wheels are faster. So, there is some room for improvements in my road transport. I would like to extend my range up to 20 miles.
The main question is how to add my DLSL camera to these gear. I may need a bigger backpack.
Of course, this trip reminded me a 40 mile highway portage during 2006 WaterTribe Ultimate Florida Challenge when I was skating and pushing Sea Wind canoe between St Mary and Suwannee rivers.