It is that special time of year when the solid ice on the rivers transition to bergs and floating slabs of ice. To paddle during it is amazing, as these hunks of ice weigh a ton and can change the look of the channel you are paddling in fairly quickly. You need to paddle ahead of the moving ice or stay clear. The ice is like a freight train and it will take you out if you are not careful.
The really neat part about today's paddle was the fact that the wind was very mild. Usually on these early spring paddles, it is really kicking from the south southwest. It was beautiful out and with the early time change, no rush to get off the water.
Here we have glassy conditions with the channel closing out with the ice flow. I am guessing here, but I would say the ice is moving around 3 miles an hour in the current. During lunch when I was scouting the put-in was non-existent. I was able to stay river right and have this slab blow right by me.If there was any wind at all this paddle would have been too risky. Wind out of the South and the flow out of the north, these bergs would have been very unpredictable and too dangerous to paddle around. Some of the ice chunks are a foot thick 20 yards by 20 yards.
Here we have a stranded Polar Bear walking along the shoreline. Actually it is a snow sculpture that has been moved to the shade. Those crazy wacky people in Fort Atkinson are such kidders. They'll probably bag it and keep him till Christmas in July.
It would have been really cool if they would have gotten him out on the ice before it started breaking up and I could have paddled by him on a slab of ice.
A friend, yes I do have a friend, came by and took this picture. In classic Gino form the picture is fuzzy, out of focus and doesn't capture the moment at all. But that's Gino! At least he didn't drop the camera in the water!
Actually this is a very old camera, worthy of dropping in the water. Looks like it's off to the store to purchase a higher mega pixel camera, or at least one that doesn't have the lens all scratched up.
To paddle or not to paddle- That is the question - William Shakespaddle