Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Whitewater canoeing in the late fall

On October 17, four of us met at a small diner for our fall canoe trip. We consolidated canoes and gear into one large 4-WD truck and drove further into eastern Maine. After numerous stops for additional tarps, tent stakes, and rope, we started paddling at 1:30pm. Locals, who provided our vehicle shuttle, laughed at us beginning a trip on a cold, rainy October weekend.

The St Croix River creates a natural border between the US and Canada. On this 33-mile river trip, nearly 20 campsites are available in either country, although Canadian border patrol could give us heck if they found us in Canada. We opted to stay two nights in the US and keep things simple.

The river started with some quick water and boulders to navigate around. My canoe partner, Chris, and I often shared ideas about how to run the water. Rocks submerged just below the water always pose a small threat of catching a canoe and tipping us over if things went perfectly wrong. Chris called these rocks "sleepers". A few times we disagreed about how to run a section. But we got tangled up on a rock only once throughout the trip.

The weather constantly changed -- overcast, intermittent rain, chilling winds, periods of light snow, sunshine, and purple storm clouds. Temperatures oscillated above and below freezing. I remember for a few moments seeing a fine mist hovered above the silver water. Icy white waves carved the water surface.

Eventually, we reached our first major rapid, Little Falls. Two of us ran this river last year with different people, so we knew what to expect and where to run the rapid. We pulled off the river to inspect the rapid. Scouting provides much time for identifying potential dangers, arguing about which route to take, and observing whitewater from different angles. A couple camping next to this rapid said they wanted to run this river, but the cold weather was too much. They also asked if we had run this rapid before. Upon hearing yes, they said no advice from them was needed.

After agreeing upon where to run the rapid, Chris and I returned to our canoe. We paddled into the falls straight on, dropped over a small 2 foot ledge, and sliced the boat down a series of waves and submerged boulders without much trouble. Our other canoe group, consisting of Mike and John, ran the same route. As they dropped over the first ledge, the boat tipped and capsized. Mike fell face into the river and tumbled downstream, bobbing slowly into pools and slipping around boulders. John managed to stay with the boat and wrestled the canoe and gear to shore. Mike swam and walked his way back to shore. His leg was bruised and he appeared unsettled, perhaps grumpy

We decided to camp here for the evening, so we could regroup and let Mike and John recover. Upon unpacking my gear and setting up my tent, I realized I forgot a tent pole. With temperatures below 30 degrees, my tent mate Mike, who just dipped into 40 degree water while wearing a wet suit, would not be happy. I tried to fashion a tent out of 2 different tarps, but it looked rough and would not hold any body heat. A raccoon could easily walk in and join us. Thankfully, Chris provided a tent pole, borrowed from his own tent, which helped salvage my situation and not affect his tent's setup.

A heavy frost scorched our tent and gear during the overnight. Numerous cups of coffee and pancakes helped us get ready the next morning. At 10:30am, we returned to the river. Much like the first day, we enjoyed many small rapids and quick water sections. An interesting set of falls at Canoose Rips provided excitement but no overturned canoes. We pulled off the river at 4pm. I roasted eggplant on the open fire and cooked it along with onions, tomatoes. I served the meal over rice for supper. The four of us sat around the campfire for hours as the moon rose and stars pierced the night sky. After nearly 15 years of canoe trips, we had a lot of stories to relive and tell again and again.

The next morning, we woke before dawn and left camp by 9am. The river opened up into a large, amorphous lake. We argued a bit about where the takeout was, but soon found the right place. By noon, we had packed our canoes and gear, and our 33-mile paddling trip over 3 days was coming to an end. My body ached from paddling and sleeping on the ground. The cold weather was a bit rough. But after sleeping in a real bed last night, I feel quite refreshed and thankful for the adventure.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Whitewater canoeing trip

Last weekend, 12 friends and I paddled 28 miles along a remote river in northern Maine. We started with a bright sunny day. A halo hovered around the sun. A long mountain range traced the river to our right as we paddled south.

On the first day, we portaged (carried) our seven boats and multitudes of gear beside the river to avoid treacherous water falls and unpassable drops. We also enjoyed fun stretches of whitewater, requiring us to pause, review  the rapids, and choose the best route down river.

After camping on Saturday night and enjoying the campfire and good food, we awoke to steady rain on Sunday. We packed our wet tents and gear, and began our second day of paddling. The rapids again were fun, but we also had 2 more portages, one of which was long and tough on our spirits. We also enjoyed seeing two different 20 foot waterfalls, which we certainly portaged around. Eventually, the rain stopped by mid day.

My partner and I ran most of the rapids well. A few times, we had to bail out our canoe at the bottom of the rapid. I remember just one disagreement when I wanted to steer the canoe next to a huge rock, and my partner grumbled, "you're killing me" as we passed by it. One boat capsized but the crew managed to reach the shore safely. The worst accident was a cut finger while my friend tried to open an entangled knot.

On Monday, we paddled mostly flatwater and saw our first signs of civilization, a few camps along the river. Eagles passed overhead a few times. The trout and salmon fishing was impressive. We finished the trip with a fun rapid passing below a small bridge. Our last portage was just a short carry from the riverside to our vehicles. This group has paddled together for at least 12 years. This trip was another great one.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Influences of Twitter and StockTwits

As a Twitter and StockTwits member, I enjoy these social media outlets. However, when making decisions to buy or sell stocks, I encourage people to limit the influence of these communication channels.

I see three main reasons to join these networks. First is to learn from people you respect. If there is a trader consistently posting good ideas, trades, and profits, I encourage you to study this person. What are the common attributes about the stocks they like? When do they post ideas for buying? Where is the market at this time? I've developed many www.finviz.com/screener.ashx screens based on tweets and stocks from people I respect.

The second reason to join these networks is to create a journal for your thoughts. Every post represents hopefully your best stock ideas and stock-related actions at that time. At later dates, review your posts and see how your stocks performed. Even if you don't act on a great idea, remember why and when this stock was great. I recommend posting finviz links to charts, for example, http://finviz.com/screener.ashx?v=211&ta=0&o=-change&t=,RUBI,VWR Just edit the URL to include stock symbols of interest that day. Ideally, your journal chronicles your journey into trading or investing, and you can learn from reviewing it again and again.

The third reason to join a social network is to gain additional indicators on your stock ideas. Ideally, you like the stock where it is priced, how the chart looks, and the company's financial condition or prospects. Social network comments are another indicator. Do people you respect like this stock? Are too many people posting ideas about this stock? Aside from robots, are people not tweeting about this stock?

Ideally, I view Twitter and Stocktwits as news, commentary and entertainment, ultimately secondary to my stock ideas. Buying or selling a stock should be influenced more strongly by one's objective ideas alone. Good luck.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Stock ideas $GILD, $GPOR, and $CMGE

All of these stocks are high-growth. $GILD appears to be breaking a descending trendline. While the volume isn't huge, relatively speaking, the buying has been steady lately.

$GPOR has moved nicely for a few days. I can picture a small pullback within a week and an eventual move towards 54.

$CMGE is probably a dangerous stock - combining China and gaming. The chart is quite compelling, however. With no resistance since early December, this stock looks to move higher. Buyer beware.

Reviewing some recent breakouts $RMBS, $NWBO, $CYNO, $AKRX

$RMBS appears to be a failed breakout and needs to hold support. It had heavy selling but certainly didn't finish at the lows today.

$NWBO approaches near-term resistance at 8.60. This hated and heavily-shorted stock is probably due for a pullback.

$CYNO also looks vulnerable. It will be interesting if it can hold 31. Although, this high-growth stock could trend higher in a channel. Perhaps it will find buyers at the 50 day moving average.

$AKRX is testing resistance from early March. It has moved strong since early April, and seems this high-growth stock is ready to drop a few points. Perhaps it bases between 50 and 52 before doing anything significant.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

April 14 2014

None of my ideas from yesterday panned out, but I did enjoy a nice move in $CLNE from a purchase on Friday. Here are some new ideas:

$KLIC is a high-growth stock looking to break this descending trendline. I see increasing volume on the daily chart. Resistance is roughly $16.50.

$HCLP is another high-growth stock. This stock has been basing for almost three months. I'm guessing this stock can clear $38.50 and continue higher. Time will tell.

$NTCT is likely basing here, but it could ready for new highs in 2015. The trend has been higher, except for the last 3 weeks or so. This is another high-growth stock that looks good to me.

$ULTA had nice buying volume today and appears to be ready. If it gets above $155, this could be the start of a steady move higher.

As with all my ideas, please know I am a regular guy on the Internet and not a pro. I learn from my mistakes, and many of my mistakes lost me money. Be responsible for your own trades, but try to learn from good stocks and good traders.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Stocks April 13, 2015

Here are some stocks I like. $ACAS is high-growth and basing above 15. The volume indicates this one could move significantly before testing any resistance.

$SRNE is another high-growth stock. This one seems to find support around 12. Biotechs are dangerous, so be prepared for big gains or losses. I like this setup but time will tell.

$ARTX is seemingly a financially sound and high-growth company based on current Finviz.com numbers. However, the price and size of the company make it super speculative. Maybe this is a good combination? I suggest seeing if this stock will hold 3 bucks. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Upcoming Whitewater Canoe Trip

In June, the gang and I will paddle the East Branch of the Penobscot River in Maine. This waterway runs north to south, parallel and east of Baxter State Park -- a 200,000 acre park well known to me. We will paddle about 30 miles, portage a few sections, run some fun whitewater, and canoe the same trip done by Henry David Thoreau. I've explored a remote mountain tributary feeding this river. On the East Branch of the Penobscot, we should see lots of wildlife, ideally moose, deer, ducks, and eagles. Seeing a bear would be awesome. The fishing should be cool, too.

Keeping Up with Your Stock Ideas

While screening for stocks is part of the equation, an epic stock idea is nothing if not pursued. When you find stock setups, how can you know when to act, especially when you work a full-time job?

I recommend setting price alerts for stocks. When you identify a good setup, figure out where and when the move will happen. Ideally, when I receive this alert, I buy without questioning. However market conditions or work could shape my actions. But trust your instincts. If you identify stocks with compelling charts and positive financials - a price trigger confirms your thesis. 

If I could watch charts all day and bullshit with my friends, that would be cool. But, I have a day job with aspirations to make it - via stocks or with my company. Wish me luck. And good luck to you, too.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Hello again

I resurrected my stock trading blog again, after several years of neglect. While I've been trading all along, I've just been using Twitter to post my ideas since 2009. As with my Twitter posts, this blog is mostly for myself. I'm not recommending that anyone follow my ideas or think I am a professional. However, everyone can learn and I hope to add to the knowledge in some small way.

I've created the following pages:

Stock Trading Strategy

Buying Stocks

Selling Stocks