Sunday, June 15, 2014

Downed trees slow progress

By David Horst

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We were facing one of our bigger challenges when we launched 36 boats one by one into the pool below the Germania Dam on the Mecan River north of Princeton.

The Mecan (pronounced MI-can) is a narrow trout stream through the wooded central Wisconsin countryside. It makes for beautiful scenery. But the erosion force of the river current, plus time, equals downed trees across the channel. In our case, that was true in quite a few places.

I was the first to arrive and had some time to commune with the Germania Marsh. The expansive 2,500-acre wetland is held in place by the simple, 55-year-old steel and concrete dam. An osprey joined me, hovering on fluttering wings, looking for breakfast.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Year's first paddles, in a word, pleasant

Paddling the Kickapoo required that we be attentive for fallen trees.
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By David Horst

WYALUSING -- Thinking about the first weekend of paddling for this year’s Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Paddle series, I keep coming back to a word … pleasant.

The people, the paddling, the pace. The scenery, the socializing. The weather and the music — all pleasant.

The people numbered more than 30 kayakers and canoeists. Most were from the Fox Valley, but a few from the Milwaukee area.

The paddling Saturday, May 17, included the last stretch of the Wisconsin River and a short piece of the Mississippi — Bridgeport to Wyalusing — for a total of eight miles. Thanks to high water, the pace was 3 mph when we weren’t paddling, twice that when we helped.

The scenery was towering bluffs, overflowing banks, lots of turkey vultures and bald eagles — seven of them. On one island in a channel of the Wisconsin, we watched two mature eagles and one immature flit half-hidden from one perch to another.