Sunday, July 24, 2011

Park-to-Park Paddle

There was lightning before we launched and lightning as we loaded our boats afterwards, but the weather held for the 10th annual Park-to-Park Paddle from Shattuck Park in Neenah to Lutz Park in Appleton, 8.5 miles. A total of 195 paddlers in 140 boats took part despite the early morning's threatening skies over Neenah. See photos at Email me your own photos of the event.

Menasha Lock

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Heritage paddlers go with the flow

By David Horst 

MUSCODA – The Wisconsin River is a powerful force on an average day. When the participants in Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Paddle 2011 returned to the big river June 25-26, the days were not average.

Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Paddlers approach
the Mississippi River. 
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High flows and high water submerged many of the sandbars. That made for straighter paddling and fewer beaching hazards to avoid, but it also swallowed up the sandbar we had planned to camp on.

Online stream gauges report the river’s flow at various locations. For our paddle two weeks earlier, the gauge at out takeout at Muscoda read about 8,000 cubic feet per second, close to average for that section of the river. On this weekend, the gauge for what was now our launch point would reach 22,000 cfs. 

Imagine filling your two-car garage with water to the top of the doors … five times. That’s about what was passing through the 1,000-foot-wide channel every second.

We consulted with several people in the area on whether to cancel the trip. We decided to go with the flow, with one revision. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Wisconsin River paddles bring
bluffs, sandbars and current

John Behnke paddling in the voyageur.
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By David Horst

SPRING GREEN, Wis. -- After spending two weekends paddling the Lower Wisconsin River, I’m struck by what’s there, and more by what’s not.
What’s there can be summed up as bluffs, sandbars and current. Canoe, kayak and three hearty stand-up board paddlers taking part in Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Paddle 2011 were treated to large doses of all three.

We traveled from the Town of Mazomanie landing on Dane County Y to Peck’s Landing in Spring Green on June 11, and then on to the Riverside Park landing in Muscoda (pronounced Mus-go-day) on June 12, a weekend jaunt of 40 miles.

I left my kayak at home and went aboard the 28-foot voyageur canoe Fox of the River, along with longtime paddling buddy John Behnke of Green Bay. It was a challenge navigating the deeper channels between the ever-shifting sandbars for Jerry Disterhaft (alias French fur trader Jean Paul) of Princeton in the bow, who signaled back to Glen “Jacques” Gorsuch of Neshkoro, who guided our course from the stern.