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Friday Round-Up: Rivers, Lakes and Waves

August 26th, 2011

Unless you’ve been living in a deep, dark cave… You may have noticed that there is a lot of cool stuff going on out there. So, we thought it was high-time we started rounding up some of our faves each Friday. Every month, we’ll be choosing a theme that fits with the Osprey lifestyle. It’s August which means it’s time to take advantage of the last weeks of summer, and what better way than getting in the water? This month we’re all about swimming holes, waterfalls, ocean breaks and waterways of all kinds. Welcome to the Osprey Friday Round-Up!

It’s the last Friday in August… how are you going to spend it? Out on the water hopefully!

Need some floating inspiration? High Country News has you covered, this time in the form of car-free river enjoyment.

The first steps toward carbon freedom were canoe trips on the Bitterroot River near my home in Missoula, Mont., with my friend Nick and his dog Katie. This was necessity, not environmentalism: Nick had a car, but no canoe; I had a canoe, but no car; and we both had bicycles. Attentive scouting revealed a 13-mile stretch between small towns in which the Bitterroot was paralleled not only by  Highway 93 but also by a bike path. En route by car to the put-in, we left our bikes at the take-out; then, after floating, we cycled back to retrieve Nick’s Isuzu to take us home. Katie ran between us. Given her tendency to hop in and out of the canoe, the bike shuttle offered more than good exercise and great views of the Bitterroot Mountains: It gave us a chance to dry off after three hours of splashing.

Still, it felt wrong to drive at all. Enter the packraft. Sold by Alpacka, a small family firm in Mancos, Colo., the best packrafts are extremely durable, ultra-lightweight inflatable rafts designed expressly for those who want to reach river’s edge on trail mix alone. The simplest craft weighs just over three pounds and deflates to the size of a couple water bottles — perfect for stuffing in a backpack or bike bag. Because the raft then expands to roughly 3-by-5-feet, paddlers can fit not only themselves but also their disassembled bikes inside.

Speaking of rivers, did you hear that an enormous underground river was recently discovered in the Amazon? The massive water system is thought to stretch for 3,700 miles across the Amazon basin with an average width of about 200 miles. Wow, pretty cool.

Busting out the canoe this weekend? Gear Junkie has the gear list of gear lists if you’re headed for Boundary Waters. Hint: it requires hammocks and espresso.

And just because it’s Friday, we’ll leave you with this photo from surf photographer Clark Little that’s sure to get you off your couch, into your car and out to the waves.

Happy Friday!

Images: Monica Ray, Clark Little

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