Paddling in a Winter Wonderland – kayak ice breaking on the Rio Grande

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2014 c. Flex Maslan Winter Cochiti Lake kayakfari paddling kayak photography New Mexico snow ice breaker Santa Fe high altitude desert art Rio Grande

Panorama from the ice at Cochiti Lake in New Mexico.

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2014 c. Flex Maslan Winter Cochiti Lake kayakfari paddling kayak photography New Mexico snow ice breaker Santa Fe high altitude desert art Rio Grande

Shingles of ice on banks of the Rio Grande at Cochiti Lake.

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And now  it’s time for something completely different – kayak ice breaking!

As previously stated in Part I – “Winter Wonderland paddling – kayak photography at Cochiti Lake on the Rio Grande in New Mexico” – I was determined to make kayaking on the Rio Grande at Cochiti Lake a year round sport. I then decided to take it up a notch and get on top of the ice shelf itself and break on through with my very own kayak ice breaker!

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Flex Maslan Winter Cochiti Lake kayakfari paddling kayak satellite New Mexico snow ice breaker Santa Fe high altitude desert art Rio Grande

Cochiti Lake and the Rio Grande in relation to northern New Mexico.

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2014 c. Flex Maslan Winter Cochiti Lake kayakfari paddling kayak photography New Mexico snow ice breaker Santa Fe high altitude desert art Rio Grande map

Cochiti Lake exists thanks to one of the largest of earthen dams – the Cochiti Dam!

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2014 c. Flex Maslan Winter Cochiti Lake kayakfari paddling kayak photography New Mexico snow ice breaker Santa Fe high altitude desert art Rio Grande

“Ice shingle stacks”

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2014 c. Flex Maslan Winter Cochiti Lake kayakfari paddling kayak photography New Mexico snow ice breaker Santa Fe high altitude desert art Rio Grande

It’s February and the lake is nearly frozen over!

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2014 c. Flex Maslan Winter Cochiti Lake kayakfari paddling kayak photography New Mexico snow ice breaker Santa Fe high altitude desert art Rio Grande

Standing in my kayak over the nearly frozen over open section of Cochiti Lake – looking due south west.

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DISCLAIMER

If you decide to try something like this make sure that your kayak is suitable for it and that you are wearing cold water immersion clothing such as a dry suit and a PFD life jacket. Ice cold water hypothermia can kill within just minutes!!

These are NOT instructions and you should consider this whole story for entertainment purposes ONLY!

DISCLAIMER

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Read on at your own risk! 😉

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Take a look at the bow of the Necky Dolphin kayak below. Notice the blunt bow – it was designed that way for surfing. This same feature is also what makes it a good ice breaker kayak! This is because it actually rides up on top of the ice and then crushes it underneath it’s own weight. This is exactly the same way that the giant ice breaker ships work too! The machete duct taped to the bow is there just to part the way so the hull can break the ice.

Why do this? It’s FUN!!

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2014 c. Flex Maslan Winter Cochiti Lake kayakfari paddling kayak photography New Mexico snow ice breaker Santa Fe high altitude desert art Rio Grande

My kayak ice breaker set consited of a machete taped to the bow of my kayak.

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I checked my kayak over carefully looking for any creases or cracks in the plastic and was confident of the hull integrity!

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2014 c. Flex Maslan Winter Cochiti Lake kayakfari paddling kayak photography New Mexico snow ice breaker Santa Fe high altitude desert art Rio Grande

Kayak ice breaker on shore on the Rio Grande.

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2014 c. Flex Maslan Winter Cochiti Lake kayakfari paddling kayak photography New Mexico snow ice breaker Santa Fe high altitude desert art Rio Grande

Shades of “Never say Die

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In this case the limit to successful kayak ice breaking was about 1.5″ inches of ice thickness!

I’d get a running start and try to keep the bow riding on top of the ice so that the hull would crush the ice under it’s weight. Fun!! 🙂

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2014 c. Flex Maslan Winter Cochiti Lake kayakfari paddling kayak photography New Mexico snow ice breaker Santa Fe high altitude desert art Rio Grande

Break on through – to the other side. Kayak ice breaking through inch and a half of ice!

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2014 c. Flex Maslan Winter Cochiti Lake kayakfari paddling kayak photography New Mexico snow ice breaker Santa Fe high altitude desert art Rio Grande

Kayak on the ice at Cochiti Lake.

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2014 c. Flex Maslan Winter Cochiti Lake kayakfari paddling kayak photography New Mexico snow ice breaker Santa Fe high altitude desert art Rio Grande

Kayak ice breaking on the Rio Grande!

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2014 c. Flex Maslan Winter Cochiti Lake kayakfari paddling kayak photography New Mexico snow ice breaker Santa Fe high altitude desert art Rio Grande panorama

How to get across the ice to more water? Screwdrivers!

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When I launched at the main ramp, the lake was frozen over. I couldn’t trust walking on the ice, so the only option to reach liquid water was to slide a couple hundred feet over it in the kayak itself. To gain traction on the ice I found a couple of screw drivers to work well. Since I was already sitting in the kayak, if the ice happened to break through I would then just be floating anyway! In that case this ice just breaks up into small chunks on Chochiti Lake.

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2014 c. Flex Maslan Winter Cochiti Lake kayakfari paddling kayak photography New Mexico snow ice breaker Santa Fe high altitude desert art Rio Grande frozen

Ice under my kayak at Cochiti Lake.

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2014 c. Flex Maslan Winter Cochiti Lake kayakfari paddling kayak photography New Mexico snow ice breaker Santa Fe high altitude desert art Rio Grande

Layered ice shelf with dead Pinon on the Rio Grande.

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2014 c. Flex Maslan Winter Cochiti Lake kayakfari paddling kayak photography New Mexico snow ice breaker Santa Fe high altitude desert art Rio Grande frozen

Ice frozen over my sit on top kayak. At night this was challenging!

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DISCLAIMER

If you decide to try something like this make sure that your kayak is suitable for it and that you are wearing cold water immersion clothing such as a dry suit and a PFD life jacket. Ice cold water hypothermia can kill within just minutes!!

These are NOT instructions and you should consider this whole story for entertainment purposes ONLY!

DISCLAIMER

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2014 c. Flex Maslan Winter Cochiti Lake kayakfari paddling kayak photography New Mexico snow ice breaker Santa Fe high altitude desert art Rio Grande

Shoreline and ice in northern New Mexico.

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2014 c. Flex Maslan Winter Cochiti Lake kayakfari paddling kayak photography New Mexico snow ice breaker Santa Fe high altitude desert art Rio Grande

On the banks of Cochiti Lake in the New Mexican winter.

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Almost every day in New Mexico is a sunny day. Even though everything is frozen, at this high altitude  the sun’s radiant heat makes the days of winter generally very pleasant!

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Flex Maslan Winter Cochiti Lake kayakfari paddling kayak satellite New Mexico snow ice breaker Santa Fe high altitude desert art Rio Grande

Satellite view of the Rio Grand as it flows through the state of New Mexico.

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2014 c. Flex Maslan Winter Cochiti Lake kayakfari paddling kayak photography New Mexico snow ice breaker Santa Fe high altitude desert art Rio Grande

So you’d think I’d be the only crazy nut boating in the dead of winter in New Mexico? You’d be wrong! 😉

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2014 c. Flex Maslan Winter Cochiti Lake kayakfari paddling kayak photography New Mexico snow ice breaker Santa Fe high altitude desert art Rio Grande dog Owings Gallery

This chocolate lab fetches from the ice cold water – now that’s a good dog!

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2014 c. Flex Maslan Winter Cochiti Lake kayakfari paddling kayak photography New Mexico snow ice breaker Santa Fe high altitude desert art Rio Grande

Contrails reflected in the ice cold glassy water of Chochiti Lake with Sandia Peak in the distance.

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ART of the Rio Grande – Anthropomorphic magic forms and Riparian voices

Flex Maslan Rio Grande Cochiti kayakfari art kayak photography Anthropomorphic forms New Mexico Santa Fe high altitude cochiti swan lake

“Cochiti Swan Lake”
Kayakfari ART photography – ART of the Rio Grande series.

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2014 c. Flex Maslan Winter Cochiti Lake kayakfari paddling kayak photography New Mexico snow ice breaker Santa Fe high altitude desert art Rio Grande

Soon the ice will start to melt!

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Yes the ice will soon start to melt and the transition into the spring can begin ..

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2014 c. Flex Maslan Winter Cochiti Lake kayakfari paddling kayak photography New Mexico snow ice breaker Santa Fe high altitude desert art Rio Grande

“The Birth of Spring” – digital art .

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Enjoy!

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© 2014 Flex Maslan / kayakfari.com / awakenthegrass.com / digital029art.com. All original photographs, artworks and music in this portfolio are copyrighted and owned by the artist, Flex Maslan, unless otherwise noted. Any reproduction, modification, publication, transmission, transfer, or exploitation of any of the content, for personal or commercial use, whether in whole or in part, without written permission from the artist is strictly prohibited.

All rights reserved.

DISCLAIMER:: The maps and images on this site are not intended for navigation, I am not a guide; use any and all information at your own risk! Your mileage may vary .. so use good judgement before venturing out!

With that said.. Blessings friends!

:)

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One comment on “Paddling in a Winter Wonderland – kayak ice breaking on the Rio Grande

  1. Pingback: Paddling in a Winter Wonderland – kayak ice breaking on the Rio Grande | kayakfari ( kayak .. far .. i )

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