Pictures are very limited with this post as we had camera issues. My battery froze, B's exposure compensation was accidentally set to -4 and since he's no longer chimping, he didn't notice, and K didn't bring her camera at all.
My paddling buddies and I stumbled upon a sweet little treasure of a river two years ago and had a delightful experience. The same can be said for paddling a slightly different stretch this past Saturday. No one will let me name the river here until we've actually written about it (think, paddling book), so the best I can say is it's somewhere in Michigan. haha...that doesn't help at all, I know, because Michigan is full of rivers and lakes.
Saturday was crisp and cold, but clear skies and a bright sun had me convinced it should have been much warmer. Sunlight glinted off a thick layer of ice covering the trees and though I kept expecting the ice to melt, it did not as the temperature never rose above 28 degrees. I was ever so grateful for the extra layers of clothing I packed and I wore my winter coat on the water, which I typically don't do. Ice shelves lined many sections along the banks and on occasion, one would break free and crash into the river. Clusters of icicles and ice pendants dangled like jewelry from low hanging branches. So much ice. It felt like I was paddling through a crystal forest sometimes.
Very poor example of the ice crystals. In reality, some were so thick with hanging crystals they tinkled like wind chimes in the breeze.
Eagles and vultures, a hawk, Sandhill Cranes and Blue Heron, deer and muskrats, a mink and birds too numerous to name. Such a lovely way to spend my day.
The river was running high after the snow melt a week ago and the water flow moderately fast at times with enough riffles (and rocks) to keep it interesting. No one got wet except for the occasional splash over the cockpit rim as we dipped through waves. That said, the tips of my gloves were frozen ice and the drops of water that landed on my boat froze, as did parts of my paddle. This was a good day to stay on the dry side of the river.
Will you look at that blue sky? Not a cloud all day.
Ice ribbons - the many different layers and curves found along the edge of the river.
To me it looks like a dragonfly is stuck in the ice in the photo above.
The take out. I said my battery froze, and it did, so how could I get a picture of the end of our trip? I didn't. B and I had left earlier than B&K to look for photo ops and scout take out sites downstream of our launch site. I was immediately intrigued by how deep into the woods we were going to have to paddle to find dry land at the end of our float. I've been on many rivers over the years, but I have to say this has become my all time favorite take out because, on account of the high water and flooding, we were literally paddling through the woods and I've never experienced that before. It was surreal to be maneuvering between and around trees. So cool.
By the way, when we paddled this river two years ago I spied a red wooden stool stuck in the branches at the high water line. I managed to get the stool out of the tree and B carried it all the way downstream for me. I love that stool and it has a place of honor on my front porch. This has to be a fluke, but B found another matching yellow stool stuck in a brush pile at the high water line on Saturday. You know I went after it. It's now drying in my garage and it too will take it's place on the front porch. What are the chances?