Monday, June 29, 2009

Statistics Not Calculus

See also: E to the 0th Power Equals 1

Paddling the Isar from Sharnitz to Wolfratshausen

Bavaria is not only the land of 1-liter beers and dirndl-clad alpine women, but it also offers the adventurous numerous paddling opportunities with train-accessible put-in and take-out points. A buddy of mine visited me last week and brought with him two Alpacka Packrafts from a small company in Colorado, USA. A Packraft is a cross between a kayak and a raft and is just long enough to sit in it with your legs stretched out in front of you. They weigh about 2.5 kg, have a spray skirt, and are propelled with a kayak paddle and strong arms. They can be rolled up into a bundle about the size of a packed down sleeping bag and carried in a backpack - ideal for traveling fast and light. We set our sights on the main river that flows right through the heart of Munich - the Isar - and took off early one morning on a train heading to the source of the river near Sharnitz, Austria. In a total of three days, we made a round trip from Munich to Sharnitz and back with 95 km (60 miles) on the Isar between Sharnitz and Wolfratshausen.

If you plan on paddling the Isar anywhere along that stretch of the river, click on the interactive map for beta about portaging the numerous dams and other tips.

Upper Isar above Sharnitz

The "Nature Lounge" in Sharnitz, Austria. A place to rent boats, neoprene, helmets and get river beta.

The Isar somewhere between Wallgau and Fall

One of hundreds of alpine waterfalls

The upper Sylvanstein Stausee Dam

Mixing point of multi-colored water

Sylvanstein Stausee

Lunch break in Lengries

See also: Diedre 5.7, Squamish - Climbing Beta
See also: Surfing in Downtown Munich, Germany

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bar-headed Goose - Streifengans

The Bar-headed Goose (Streifengans) is seldom misidentified given its light color and striking black horizontal bars against a white background on its head. Native to Central Asia, scattered populations live throughout Europe, whose ancestors were probably escapees from bird collectors who fancied this bird's beauty. One of the highest flying birds in the world, they are able to migrate at over 10,000 m, hitch a free ride on the jet stream, and complete a 1,000 mile trip in one day. Compared to other geese their wing span to weight ratio is relatively large and specially adapted blood lets them fly high at low oxygen levels. The geese pictured here were photographed in Munich's English Garden, where a local population lives year-round off of frequent bread hand-outs from the locals. I observed one bold bar-headed goose approach a woman who had bread, stand in front of her with its neck streched high, and comically stomp its feet on the ground as its way to ask for a hand-out. Click on any thumbnail for a screen-filling full-resolution detailed image.

See also: Mandarin Duck - Mandarinente