Palo Alto Trip Report

March 20, 2021 – By: Carlisle Landel

Participants:  Carlisle, Maggie, Stephen, Kent, Bill, Sandy R, Rudy, Mike O, Artie, Doug, Mike M, Eric

The Vernal Equinox, First Day of Spring—a perfect time to launch 2021 on-the-water activities for Team River Runner Palo Alto.  A quick email to the troops (“Who wants to go paddling this weekend?”) was all it took to organize a noon meetup at Alviso Marina County Park to paddle Alviso Slough. 

I suspect that almost everyone was like me after a long paddling layoff:  “Where did I leave my sunscreen?” and “Oh Snap!  The cam straps are still at Maggie’s place—I guess I’m gonna have to use a throw rope to tie the three boats to the car mumble grumble curse.”  Still, everyone showed up more-or-less on time and with all their gear, masked and raring to go.  We welcomed new members Mike Malone, a transfer from TRR Walter Reed, and Eric Larkin, a local Navy vet sea kayaker.  After the requisite temperature screen was complete and quick review of the float plan, we launched and started our on-the-water day under a blue sky dotted with fluffy clouds.  

Taking advantage of the low tide, we paddled upstream to “The Slot”, the tidal race outflow from one of the former salt evaporation ponds that now fill and empty with the tide.  There we worked on moving water skills:  ferries, peel-outs, eddy turns.  The Slot provides a great learning environment, with current speed increasing the farther you go upstream.  Doug got his first moving water experience while paddling our new IK, and was quickly ferrying and peeling out like a pro (demonstrating once again the utility of the IK as a learning tool).  Mike M quickly began knocking off the rust and showing off the skills he got at Walter Reed.  Rudy and Maggie and Artie dialed their skills back in and got their groove back.  Stephen demonstrated his astounding ability to hold his beath while signaling for a successful T-rescue.  Eric got some nice moving-water practice in his sea kayak.  Kent and Sandy and Mike O did some skills polishing, and Bill and Carlisle even got to do a little surfing as the tide came in and raised a small surfing wave.  After over an hour of solid practice, we paddled back to the marina and packed up our gear, the first paddle of 2021 a resounding success.

Vanessa Jones

Committe Co-Chair

Vanessa A. Jones is a dynamic force dedicated to fostering
inclusivity, encouraging discussion, and promoting a culture of
belonging in the outdoor sports community. Hailing from
Washington, DC, she brings a wealth of diverse experiences and
perspectives to her endeavors.
As a US Army veteran and ordained Chaplain with a focus on
seniors and caretakers, Vanessa is deeply committed to serving
others. Her work as a patient-caretaker advocate reflects her
passion for supporting vulnerable populations and ensuring their
voices are heard.
Currently, Vanessa is employed by a resettlement agency, where
she confronts challenges head-on with resilience and
compassion. As a single, Black woman veteran, she embraces
the unique hurdles she faces, viewing them as opportunities for
growth and empowerment.
In her downtime, she wears many hats, including that of a
missionary, spreading hope and positivity wherever she goes.
Weekends are spent paddling, immersing herself in West African
dance and finding solace and joy in nature’s embrace.
Vanessa is committed to equitable principles, ensuring that
everyone’s opinions are valued and heard. Through her
unwavering dedication and inclusive leadership, Vanessa is
paving the way for a more equitable and diverse outdoor sports