First paddle of the season

Well, I got out earlier than last season, but not as early as the previous year. The sun was shining, the air was warm (just a little over 60, I think), the water was freezing cold. All in all, a great day to be out. And obviously I wasn’t the only one, because the creek was crowded with boats, some who looked like they knew what they were doing, some who obviously didn’t. Three teenagers in a canoe lurching from bank to bank with no clue what they were doing (sort of a “sub-prime” canoe), a large gaggle of kayaks coming downstream together, a guy with his feet up on top of his kayak deck and a fishing rod between his feet, people in spiffy paddling jackets and wet suits, and people in t-shirts and shorts.

I wore my wet suit because I knew the water would be cold and I didn’t want to get cold legs on the bottom of the boat, nor did I want to get hypothermia if I tipped. I had planned to only go as far as the weir so I wouldn’t overdo it. But in hindsight I probably should have turned back sooner – I was tired and my elbows were sore by the time I got there. And when I turned back, there was a strong wind in my face countering any assist I was getting from the current.

The weir was impassible – the smaller gaps were jammed with debris, so all the water was flowing through the middle channel, and there was about a foot and a half or two foot drop there. I bet it would have been fun to paddle down, but as tired as I was, I wasn’t going to try paddling up it. I wasn’t even going to try portaging around it so I could shoot it. I just looked at it and said “no f-ing way”. There were a couple of people fishing the eddy below it. So avoiding the lines, I did an eddy turn and turned down stream. I was glad to see that the big mud flat that had sprung up last year just downstream of the weir had submerged again. Hopefully the spring run-off will scour the stream bed a bit deeper this year so it won’t re-emerge in the lower water season.

Not much wildlife in the marsh yet, except some sparrows and lots and lots of Canada geese. Most of the geese looked like they were getting ready to nest, but there was one on a dead tree that lies on its side in the middle of the creek who was playing dead as I splashed by. I wonder if she had eggs? Last year I noticed that a goose had tried to lay eggs on a semi-flat spot on that tree, but most of them had rolled down into a crack, and I guess she’d abandoned the nest. I hope she has better luck this year.