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Tom Diegel’s Gallivants (and Occasional Rants) Posts

Packrafting in American Whitewater Part IV

The folks at American Whitewater have been kind enough to indulge me by publishing a series of articles about packrafting in their 2020 issues. As a result, there’s no doubt that both of the people who read the articles are charging out and buying packrafts as we speak! According to the editor of the magazine I’ve said all there is to be said (he clearly doesn’t know me very well!) and this will be the…

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The Art of Conversation….Part II

A few years ago I wrote a blog post I audaciously called “The Art of Conversation”, which no doubt plagiarized the title of some book and in which I talked about my perception of how to have valuable conversations (in fact, after I wrote that sentence, I googled it, and indeed, there is a book!  Maybe I should read it…) Since then I’ve not only thought about conversations a lot, I’d like to think I’ve…

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A Lap Around St Helens

In the spring of 1980 the Pacific Northwest was all abuzz about Mount St Helens.  Our local snowcone of a mountain: was coming to life with small eruptions that left ash streaks that lay vivid against the late season snowpack.  It was fun and interesting and a good reminder that our volcanoes were only dormant, not dead, though having crawled up Mount Hood the prior year (it took our group something like 10 hours to…

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An Ode to Chan Zwanzig

Many moons ago, at the beginning of the era where kayaking seemed to be exploding in popularity and some idealistic lads and lasses thought that they might be able to make a living paddling rivers, I went to the Kern Fest; an annual river festival in Kernville, which was The Rendezvous Spot for the surprising number of river lovers in SoCal, and for a week in the spring, also a magnet for people from all…

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Packrafting in American Whitewater Magazine: Part III

This year the editor of the venerable American Whitewater Journal has been kind enough to indulge me (and the rest of the vast packraft world?) by letting me write a series of articles about packrafting. It’s been a really fun project so far. The first introductory/history article is here, and the second (using the River of Return trip as an example of what a packrafting trip can be) is here (starting on page 24). The…

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Wind River High Route

In 2007 I had the good fortune to go to the Wind River range’s famous Cirque Of The Towers to climb with my friend Marc Appling, and it was a week I’ll never forget.  Despite the fact that Marc was a guide in the Tetons and spent his summers dragging gumbies up climbs, he was gracious enough to spend a week with yet another gumby in the Winds, dragging me up the biggest and best…

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Marc Appling Remembrance

It’s been over 10 years since the SLC and Jackson communities lost Marc Appling to suicide. I paddled the Bear River last weekend and went past this waterfall and remembered Marc finding the rubber ducky there. Marc wasn’t necessarily a “name” in the kayak world, but I felt like he shoulda been given his history, so I wrote a remembrance in the Fall 2010 American Whitewater Journal.

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DuSkiMor Part Duex

After 25 or 30 miles of mostly shuffling on our skis through the Absaroka mountains (and occasionally actually “skiing!” it was a treat to be in our boats floating along.  We purposely put in on Thorofare Creek where the gradient backed off dramatically; like a lot of drainages in the intermountain West it was pretty continuous and not too difficult, but there were a lot of blind corners and  -again, like many intermountain creeks –…

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Du’Ski’Mor

When Jeff Creamer sends you an email titled “potential routes” you gotta sort of prepare yourself for it.  As the most prolific packrafter in the lower 48 he’s seemingly “done it all,” from mild to wild, but applying his PhD science level mind to linking up squiggly blue lines on maps never ceases to come up with creative new adventures.  After deciding that winter in southern Colorado should not be a deterrent to packrafting, he…

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Packrafting and Backpacking the Wallowas

In the posts about my mom Ginny Diegel I talked about how much she loved the Wallowa Mountains in northeast Oregon; indeed, for an Oregonian, it’s a “real” mountain range.  Not that the Cascades is not a range, but with craggy peaks and jagged ridges, deep valleys, rivers, and pristine mountain lakes the Wallowas offer a lot of alpine bang once you make the long entrance into them.  They are known as the “American Alps,”…

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