Dan Morrison, Elizabeth Gould and I went paddling at Hidden Falls Regional Park this morning on the Mississippi. There were no access issues, the park roads had been plowed and the gates were all unlocked, someone was plowing the kayak ramp, but we didnt bother using it. The air temp was 23F and the water temp was hovering around 32F.
There were small icebergs floating in the river and the ice at the edge was fortunately very narrow, a mere 3 to 4 feet of ice shelf before the open water (contrasting to 40 feet last year). I trailed the Tahe and the Explorer, and this allowed Elizabeth, who was visiting from Washington State, to get afloat too in the Explorer. We set up a safety line from a large tree down to the waters edge just in case we had issues launching or landing. The water was shallow so it would mainly have been egos that got hurt had we messed it up.
We launched like seals and then paddled up stream to the falls, learning to ferry glide, break in and out of the current and feel the full force of the outflow, under the watchful eye of our BCU 4 star coach Elizabeth 🙂
The falls were very pretty, with lots of ice forming on the concrete, and as we were all wearing the right equipment we stayed warm and got to enjoy the experience. Liz was a great teacher sharing with Dan and I much practical advice on techniques to use on such dynamic water.
The water froze all over the deck and my storm paddle stored on the foredeck developed icicles, the kayak was nearly completely frosted.
When it was time to come ashore I was able to paddle hard and slide up and over the ice shelf and onto the soft snow.
My smile sayes it all:
You can see all the pictures from the trip here