I decided to do the Ellison Park Shuttle again, this time without Vicki. The weather was perfect, and because of that there were a lot of people out. While I was waiting for the shuttle to leave, a large group left including a woman with a dog in her kayak. The dog had on a life jacket, which is just as well because they weren’t more than 20 feet from the dock when the dog decided to jump out, and the woman had no idea how to get the dog back in. By the time we left she was coming back to the dock with the dog swimming along side. I have no idea whether they got sorted out or not.
On the shuttle with me there were two tandem kayaks, two canoes with two people in them, and one other solo kayak, none of them looking very experienced. I helped the driver get them launched, and left after them. By the time I caught up to them (at the next bend), they were all over the river and pointing in random directions. Two women in one of the canoes rammed me as they spun around and flailed at the water, bringing back some bad memories from when I hurt my wrist last year. I hope they got settled down and pointing in the right direction eventually, because there were some snares later on.
I brought my GPS along as an experiment. The manual says it’s waterproof and floats so I thought that I’d be safe. The idea was to get a better idea of the real length of the course, and also the speed I maintain. But it was kind of a waste – during the twisty part at the top of the course, it kept losing signal, often for long stretches. So distance was even less accurate than my previous attempt using the Google Maps Pedometer.
The river was pretty high after the rain, and moving pretty fast. But the recent storms also left some traps for the unwary. There was a downed tree that blocked most of the river leaving a very fast passage along one side. And then not too much later just past Browncroft Avenue there was another tree that had fallen all the way across, but it’s actually not in the water but above it. There was a group coming upstream under it when I got there, and I was able to also duck under it in one part.
There wasn’t a lot of wildlife out today unless you count hordes of inexperienced paddlers. I saw kingfishers in the twisty wooded bit at the top, and some barn swallows under the bridges, and a few ducks, but that’s about it. I didn’t see the usual swans or geese.
Back at Baycreek, there were a couple of guys paddling around with Greenland paddles and kayaks. That looks like something I’d like to try out some time. I’ve heard they’re better on your elbows and shoulders.