Kalamazoo River June 2, 2012

I forgot my camera today, but I did take a few pictures with my cell phone. Wasn't sure how they would turn out, but they look good enough to post.
 My first trip down the Kalamazoo River, and my first dawn paddle. Something I always wanted to do- be on the water at first light. But getting up at 5:15 every morning for work makes it hard to get up at 3:30 on a weekend and drive an hour to the river. But it was well worth the effort.

 Six of us met before 5:00 am at the Allegan Dam, spotted cars at the Pipeline Road takeout, and were on the river by 5:45. It was cloudy and cool, mid 50's, so there was no sunrise to watch, but the cool air did keep the bugs away.

It was a "silent paddle": no talking, and paddling as quietly as possible. Probably spent as much or more time floating as paddling, just taking in the sights and sounds of a wakening river world.
 Slight mist lifting off the water, very peaceful. Would love to do this every weekend.

Saw several deer, numerous herons, and a couple of geese who were not too happy to have us intruding in their morning.

After about a 2 hour and 15 minute trip to Pipeline Road, we went back to Allegan for breakfast while we waited for the late sleepers to arrive.

After breakfast we were joined by 10 more paddlers, and set out again at 11:15 for a 2 1/2 hour paddle to the New Richmond Bridge, and then another 2 hours to Wiley Road.

 The sky had cleared up, but the wind had picked up, too, and the black flies came out for lunch.

 After being on the water for almost 4 hours total, we saw the first house along the river. From the dam at Allegan, the Kalamazoo River runs mostly through the Allegan State Game Area, so the banks of the river are pretty much the same as they have been for hundreds of years.

By about 1/2 way to New Richmond, the wind had increased quite a bit.

By the time we got to New Richmond Bridge, it was decided to stop the trip there and not continue to Wiley Road as the wind was making it more work than necessary, especially since the river became more open beyond New Richmond.

It was a great day; beats working no matter what the conditions. Will have to do this river again, especially the dawn start.

A total of 15.7 miles today. 50.2 miles year to date.

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