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The Foolish, the Bold, the Irrigation-Ditch-Runners...

Posted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 12:40 pm
by Shaggy
Yes, you can run irrigation ditches in your Alpacka. *Ahem*, I mean, so we've heard. Not that I'D do anything so... outlandish. Of course not. But if I had, I might suggest:

1. Know your stuff, be prepared. Things can happen really fast in small spaces with twisty corners and zero maneuvering space. By running a flowing irrigation ditch, you accept a danger that it's wise to mitigate as best you can. The BEST way to mitigate that hazard is to SCOUT the ditch beforehand, making sure it's free of dangers and obstacles. An old winch or rebar grill could end your day and your life: a clear, fast, well-scouted ditch is fun; a bad one leaves you almost zero margin for error.
2. The fun irrigation ditches are the free-flowing ones. You don't want a flat Iowa algae-runnel: you want a mountain-valley irrigition ditch, gravity-fed, that runs for miles alone a valley side, probably within a stone's throw of a road (which presents a handy option of stashing your bike at your take-out).
3. A good irrigation ditch is well maintained. It can have low vegetation over it, but it should be one that's kept relatively clear in the channel itself. Again, SCOUT your irrigation ditch beforehand, especially if its curvy and has blind corners and culverts. Many flowing irrigation ditches are drained during the off-season, so you can walk or run them, checking for intrepid boating options.
4. 4-6ft. wide seems to work great. Er.... hypothetically.
5. If there's low hanging vegetation, consider only half-inflating your boat and lying face down, commando-style. This gets you under low-hanging obstacles.
6. Punching through culverts depends on their size, whether they're clear all the way through, and if there's any sharp edges, etc. that can puncture your boats.
7. Paddle technique in these ditches is totally different. You do a lot more hand-paddling, grabbing brush, and just riding the current. When you're actually using your paddle, you'll learn FAST how to do it in confined spaces.

If you don't scout properly, irrigation ditches can be DANGEROUS. If you have good intelligence and are well-prepared, they're a totally different boating experience: visceral, low-slung, intense. It's the boating equivalent of the rebel attack on the Death Star at the end of 'Star Wars.' Be careful. Know your stuff. USE THE FORCE!

Re: The Foolish, the Bold, the Irrigation-Ditch-Runners...

Posted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 7:55 am
by packraftnewmexico
Albuquerque is covered in irrigation ditches!!!!! YES!!!!!! Thanks for the tips. 8-) Not that I would actually do it, but just in case someone was too ask me, or something like that.

Re: The Foolish, the Bold, the Irrigation-Ditch-Runners...

Posted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 8:10 am
by Shaggy
Absolutely! I mean, not that I'd know about it, either. You'd have to be CRAZY to do stuff like that. *Ahem* ;)