March + 80° temps = High Water!

Wow, it’s not often that March brings 80 degree temps to the midwest, actually, it’s unheard of! But…that is exactly what is happening in Wisconsin and the U.P..  I keep having to convince myself my flight back from Hawaii on the night of daylight savings didn’t have a flux capacitor that sent me 3 months into the future instead of the usual 1 hour! :)

L’Anse, MI rivers raised to over 9.5ft! Dozens headed up north to check out the level and take on the challenge, including Chicago’s WK ambassador Bob Menard whose photos I nabbed from his facebook page :) nice pics bob! Some of our local canoeists also navigated these same creeks(Craig Smerda, Roy Crimmins and others). Words used to describe the south shore creeking this weekend?? Well, the most common ones included: Beat Down, Epic, and “Everyone Lived”….but while the more advanced boaters survived their weekend, the rest of us enjoyed the numerous options a bit closer to home.

The Wolf hit 1180 CFS and the Peshtigo was a blast too! The Gornjak family  paddled  these rivers as I’m sure did many others. As for me, I went to the Black at Hatfield which was flowing at about 4,000 CFS. I was excited for this because the last time I paddled it this high I had so much fun! But, as I walked to the put-in, I realized something was off….I looked for a couple of seconds and then Mike pointed out that they have 2 new generators on the river right side which they are releasing through instead of the typical river left release that creates an awesome play wave at the very top! OH NO! it’s really quite sad….At the higher levels the river left release also made for a huge wave train at the top. But, despite the initial disappointment, it was a great fun day on the water. I’m getting more in sync with my new Villain every time out, and can’t wait for the day I’m ready to tackle those U.P. creeks!

My favorite part of Wisconsin paddling though is getting to see all of the wonderful nature that surrounds our rivers.  It seems every time I paddle I see a Bald Eagle and this weekend continued the trend. As we paddled through the flat water stretch he was circling….fishing, but missed his catch. Then perched itself up on a nearby tree waiting for us to pass. It’s hard to keep paddling with such an amazing creature that close, but on we went, eventually reaching the powerhouse and packing up for home.

This week calls for rain and storms, so as most of us return to our jobs, we wait to see what next weekend will bring! Hopefully we don’t get sent back to the future and the reality of March with temps in the 30s and snow!

 

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August 21st, 2014

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