Thursday, July 21, 2016

Cottonball sky

The sunsets frequently are beautiful up on the Sandhill, but tonight the sky turned alien. Reds, purples, greens. A ridge of cloud containing a cottonball sky.


This explanation from WRFV-TV5 meteorologist Dave Miller:

Those are mammatus clouds. They generally are found behind thunderstorms. They are boiling clouds bubbling down, with a lot of turbulence in them.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Park-to-Park paddlers must portage

NEENAH, Wis. — A strong showing is expected for the Park-to-Park Paddle, launching at 9:20 a.m. July 23 from Neenah’s Shattuck Park and organized by North East Wisconsin Paddlers.

Paddlers received plenty of help when the P2P participants had
to portage around the Menasha Lock in 2014.
Kayakers, canoeists and stand-up paddlers will travel 8.5 miles along the Fox River, out onto Lake Winnebago, through downtown Menasha and on to Lutz Park in Appleton by way of Little Lake Butte des Morts and the Fox River. For the second time in three years, paddlers will have to portage around a closed Menasha Lock.

“In 2014, the lock was closed for mechanical repairs,” Jeff Mazanec, president of NEWP said. “This year the lock has been ordered closed by the DNR in an attempt to prevent the round goby from getting into the Lake Winnebago system.”

The small, highly invasive fish was discovered in Little Lake Butte des Morts by two Neenah High School fishing team members late last summer. 

Paddlers will get out at the Valley Marina landing and carry their boats over Broad Street and down to the channel on the other side — a distance of about 500 feet.

“The portage in 2014 went very smoothly because people were very willing to help each other,” Mazanec said. “We found portaging actually was faster than locking through for our large group.”

Paddlers will benefit from accessible launches both in Shattuck and Lutz, thanks to the two cities and the work of the nonprofit Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway. The launches are designed to help paddlers with disabilities, but also make for a dry launch and landing for able-bodied paddlers.

Pre-registration is available at Participants will find event registration and waiver documents there, which they can fill out and bring along to save time at the launch. A fee of $10 per adult covers expenses. Children under 16 are free with an adult.

Paddlers can drop off their boats and gear at Shattuck Park starting at 7 a.m. Drivers only then take their vehicles to Lutz Park, where shuttle buses will take them back to Shattuck for the launch.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Upper Fox elevates quality paddling

By David Horst

Our group paddles have had an impressive history of good weather, but this was ridiculous. Temperatures lapping at 80 on May 21. Wind that was only detectable on occasion. Sun a constant companion.

We launched our 24 colorful boats at the White River Dam. We have used multiple times before. It's back in the woods east of Princeton. The reference to the dam is a historic one. This low head dam is so low as not to be visible.

The 28-foot Fox of the River.
This Fox River is not the same one that's bordered by houses, industry and urban parks in the Fox Cities. It flows through marsh and farm fields. The catfish outnumber the people.

Our usual circle gathering to talk route, rules and safety before launching took a solemn mood as we remembered Warren Brown, a paddler who had been with us on the Wolf River two weeks earlier and was with us no longer. Despite a protective suit, a lifejacket and training in self-rescue, he lost his life on Lake Winnebago.

Our ambitious route today takes us from White River to Berlin, 16 miles, just because there's no where else to land.

We chose up birds we wanted to see beforehand. The orioles, great blue heron, osprey and pileated woodpecker all made their appearances. The first eagle showed up while we were still on shore talking about them, and they kept coming until we couldn't count them anymore.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Paddle series ready to launch year 7

A trip on the Wolf River through downtown New London to Shaw’s Landing on May 7 will open the seventh year of the Heritage Paddle Series. 

Presented by North East Wisconsin Paddlers, with partner the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway, the eight paddling trips for kayaks, canoes and standup boards will feature a return to the Peshtigo Flowage and the Tall Ships Festival in Green Bay, a beautifully rural stretch of the Upper Fox River and the popular annual Park-to-Park Paddle and Appleton Locks Paddle. Two of the weekends feature paddles on both Saturday and Sunday.

The 7.5-mile Wolf River trip will launch from the New London Electric Utility property at 400 E. Water St., near where the Embarrass River enters the Wolf, at 11 a.m. on May 7. Paddlers are to arrive at the utility starting at 9:30 a.m. to unload their boats and gear, take their vehicles to Shaw’s Landing and be shuttled back to the launch. Good weather last year drew 90 participants to the season-opening Wolf River Paddle.

Paddlers must complete a registration form and pay $10 to cover insurance, transportation, printing and other costs. Details on the paddle schedule are available at People who want to take part but don’t own a boat can book a seat in the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway voyageur canoes for most trips by calling 920-707-2965.

The rest of the series includes:

  • Upper Fox Paddle, May 21, meet at 9:30 a.m., launch at 11 a.m. from the White River Dam near Princeton to Berlin (16 miles) and 11 a.m. May 22 from Berlin to Omro (14 miles), with camping in Berlin’s Riverside Park.
  • Peshtigo Flowage near Crivitz, June 25-26, meet at 9 a.m., launch at 10 a.m. from landing No. 13 on the Caldron Falls pool Saturday (6.5 miles) and Landing No. 6 on the Big Falls pool at 10 a.m. on Sunday (5 miles), with camping at Gov. Tommy Thompson State Park and a shared camp meal Saturday evening in the Woods Lake Shelter in the campground.
  • 15th annual Park-to-Park Paddle, July 23, meet starting at 7 a.m. for a 9:20 a.m launch at Shattuck Park in Neenah to Lutz Park in Appleton (8.5 miles). Expect to have to portage around the closed Menasha Lock.
  • Tall Ships Paddle, Aug. 6, meet starting at 7:30 a.m. for a 9:30 a.m. launch from Bomier Landing in De Pere, through the center of the river channel in downtown Green Bay where replica historic tall ships will be moored along both banks, to Green Bay Metro Landing (8 miles).
  • Appleton Locks Paddle, Sept. 24, meet starting at 7:30 a.m. for a 9:30 a.m. launch from Lutz Park in Appleton, through the four historic, hand-operated Appleton locks to Sunset Park in Kimberly (6 miles).