TRIP REPORT: Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, June 9th 2015

A big part of my training is focused on building up my mileage capacity without sacrificing too much speed. In the early part of my training cycle I am looking to paddle new, fun locations that offer very flat water so I can go to my physical limit in relative safety and also minimize the chance of injury. As I make progress, with the goal to add in progressively more challenging water without trimming speed or mileage. Easier said then paddled!

My journey has brought me to Montana, my homeland, where I am spending the next two weeks doing big miles, and cross training above 10,000' in altitude. Yesterday I had the good fortune to paddle 51 miles in the amazing Bighorn Canyon Recreation Area. 

I launched at Barry's Landing, and paddled northeast towards Fort Smith. A very long, hard day in 100º F heat. I focused on staying "light on my hands" in order to keep my stroke rate, and my speed, consistent throughout the day. Wrapped up the paddle averaging 7 mph, with no bonking, no cramping and staying solid on my form paddling my ski with an extra small DK flatwater rudder. I did however earn some wicked blisters after recently changing my grip surface on my paddle.  

Scouting the south end of Big Horn Lake. The mosquito crowd is one I like to avoid, so I decided to put in at Barry's Landing instead. Good call! 

It's remarkably hard to balance a tippy ski when all you want to do is look up! 

Endless miles of cliffs and boulder shoreline, and I managed to find a warm, sunny beach for lunch. SCORE! 

Time to toughen up, kids. It's only gonna get worse from here on.