Added 19 May 2008

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Day 1: Friday, 18 January 2008, Martinez Lake, Arizona

(Hover over images for captions. Click images for larger versions.)

I took the day off to make a four day weekend so I could go on a trip to the Yuma area with a group of friends and family. Shan and I, with two kayaks on the roof, and one in the trunk sharing space with rock hounding gear, left the house shortly after 7:30 a.m. to meet up with some friends to form a mini caravan to Martinez Lake. We left town at around 8:45 and had a few rather lengthy stops along the way, so didn’t get to the lake around one o’clock or so.

Once arriving at Martinez Lake we had to find the office for the Martinez Lake Resort, for which there are no good directions available anywhere that I could find. Before going any further, I should note that the word “resort” is most certainly a misnomer with respect to any of the lodgings available in the vicinity of Martinez Lake. Our accommodations, for example, were in a 1972 Villager trailer, and it was considered one of the nicer places to stay at the resort. In truth, the trailer wasn't bad, and it was better than I expected in several ways. Our unit (#71) had two pretty nice couches for folks to sit on, a comfortable bed, a decent kitchen, and was close enough to the boat ramp that our “yard” ended up being where everyone stored their kayaks because we could just carry them down to the ramp from there pretty easily. The motel cabins weren’t too bad either.

We were directly across the street from the Cantina, which was nice for going out to eat, but did get a bit noisy at times. At any rate, don’t go there expecting 5 star (or 4 star, or even 3 star) accommodations, but the folks who run the place are extremely friendly, and it’s not a bad place to stay. Our trailer definitely became the "hang out" for the group.

Jeff and Mindy camped at Fisher's Landing. The camp sites there were dusty, and wide open, but I think each site at least had some shade. It’s kind of near the center of activity of the lake community though, so suspect it’s not the quietest place to stay.

By mid-afternoon, Mindy showed up for our planned afternoon paddle around Martinez Lake. The sleep deprived Jeff decided to take a nap instead, and the Mom and Dad Stafford decided to go fishing, so it was just Shan, Mindy and I.

Shan and I brought Tam and Phil's tandem kayak with us, so we used it instead of inflating our AdvancedElements kayak. It was a really nice afternoon for a paddle, and we ended up covering much of the main body of Martinez Lake. We then cruised out to the Colorado River to check it out. Learning more about the flow velocity of the river was one of my main goals for the afternoon, as I needed to find out for planning purposes for proposed paddling trips up and down the river. I'd hoped that the flow would be slow enough to allow us to paddle against it without having to exert unreasonable effort. The river seemed to be flowing at about 1.5 miles an hour, so we could manage 2 mph against the flow, which was perhaps a little better than I expected. Shan and I paddled a short distance up the river while Mindy stayed back near the island just north of the channel between the river and the lake. When we returned, we all paddled back to the resort. We ended up paddling about 5 miles. The discharge of the Colorado River was about 3500 cfs at the time.

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