Sunday, October 12, 2014

Weather is key to popular locks paddle

Paddlers pack into Appleton lock #4 on their way to
Sunset Point Park in Kimberly. David Horst photo
By David Horst  sandhill7@gmail.com

L
iving history,  unseasonable warmth and the promise of eagles — all trimmed in fall color — made for a perfect combination to draw a crowd to the last Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Paddle of the season.

We had 194 paddlers take to their kayaks, canoes and stand-up boards to tour the four Appleton locks Saturday, Sept. 27. We launched from Appleton’s Lutz Park and landed just over two hours later 6.5 miles downstream at Kimberly’s Sunset Point Park.

Along the way, four lockages courtesy of the Fox River Navigational System Authority required sardine-like proximity for the 130 paddle craft, two 10-person voyageur canoes and safety patrol boats from the Outagamie County Sheriff’s Department and Appleton Fire Department.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Mistreating wildlife for grins:
Who thinks like that?

By David Horst  sandhill7@gmail.com

Driving west on State 96 short of Medina recently, I saw an impressive turtle sitting just across the centerline.

Whooping crane training at the White River Marsh, Princeton.
Based on its size and the height of its rounded shell, I’d guess it was a Blanding’s, a threatened species in Wisconsin.

I watched in the rearview mirror as a pickup truck bore down on it and then edged over to avoid the turtle. Once I shed the traffic around me, I turned around and went back to do the Boy Scout routine and help the turtle across the highway.

When I got to the spot, the turtle was gone, apparently already helped to the shoulder by someone else. Faith in humanity restored.

My opinion of some of my fellow Wisconsinites had been flagging after reading about two instances of interaction with wildlife.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Park-to-Park portage
just a bump in the trail

By David Horst  sandhill7@gmail.com


See more photos
A helping attitude and a small strip of carpeting made all the difference.

July 4th weekend — two weeks before the Park-to-Park Paddle, the state’s largest day paddle event that has drawn as many as 350 kayaks and canoes — we read that a gate on the Menasha Lock was broken, then fixed, then broken again.

The Park-to-Park takes those hundreds of paddlers through the Menasha Lock. In fact, the iconic image of the P2P is hundreds of colorful boats packed into the lock.

Do we shift the launch to below the lock, or do we portage around the lock? As one of the organizers of the event, I initially favored sacrificing the length of the paddle to avoid what I expected to be the pandemonium of 200-plus paddlers trying to scale the rocky shores on the Menasha Lock basin.

But a few factors changed my mind.