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.