Friday, July 31, 2015

Weather delay shrinks Park-to-Park

After launching from Neenah's Shattuck Park, 75 boats head for Lake Winnebago.

By David Horst

What if you planned a paddling event for 250 people and the tandem of thunder and lightning was the first to arrive?

That was the fate of the 14th annual Park-to-Park Paddle on July 18. The storm was settling down as we started to gather for the launch at Shattuck Park in Neenah, but smart phones showed another storm hitting just before the fastest paddlers would land in Appleton. 
A roomy trip through the Menasha Lock.
See more photos

That’s a rarity for these paddle events, sponsored cooperatively by Northeast Wisconsin Paddlers and the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway. We have experienced uncommonly good weather.

When you are responsible for the safety of group of people, you just don't put them on the water in the lightening with 6-foot sticks in their hands.

The three main organizers -- Jeff Mazanec, Tom Young and me -- conferred and postponed the paddle from Saturday to Sunday. Perhaps a dozen paddlers went out anyway. The rain stopped. The second line of storms never came.

It may have been a misinformed call, but it was the right decision.

Sandhill warrior II

Up on the Sandhill, even the wildlife
does morning yoga.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Whip-or-will calls and paddling Peshtigo Flowage are rare treats

CRIVITZ -- I think the whip-poor-will is a very cool bird. Naturally camouflaged and nocturnal, we don't encounter them much. The few times I've heard them I was thrilled, because their population is in decline.

Renee Dallich of Green Bay pauses to admire
the mirror-calm water after Saturday’s rain.
David Horst photo. See more photos.
It is, however, difficult to be thrilled with a bird that is calling "whip-poor-will, whip-poor-will, whip-poor-will" enthusiastically and repeatedly at 2 a.m.

That is what you are likely to encounter when you camp at Gov. Tommy Thompson State Park near Crivitz. I was there June 20-21 as part of a two-day kayak trip to the Peshtigo Flowage.

The Pesh brings visions of roiling whitewater to most paddlers. This section of the river is an impoundment -- two pools of slow-moving water formed by hydro dams. We had 18 people for a 10-mile paddle on the Caldron Flowage Saturday and another 18 -- not all of the same 18 -- on High Falls Flowage Sunday.