Tuesday was the annual New Years Day paddle. Twelve kayakers showed up for a trip down the Pere Marquette River. We put in at M-37 and paddled to Bowman Bridge, the same stretch we did in November.
We have had a slow start to winter again this year. What little snow we got before Christmas melted right away, and it was beginning to look like it would be a repeat of last winter. But the day after Christmas, a small storm blew through, and the temperature stayed below freezing all week so it didn't melt.
The Pere Marquette is one of the most commonly paddled rivers in the winter since the strong current keeps it mostly clear of ice. It never got much below freezing before Christmas Day, so the ice really didn't had a chance to form.
There wasn't a lot of snow, just a couple inches at home, and about 4 inches in Baldwin. We did pass through a brief snow shower while driving through Chase, raising hopes we would paddle in fresh snow, but there were only a few snow flurries throughout the rest of the day. The temperatures were in the low 20's, but with very little breeze so there was no problem with wind chill.
The current was strong and the water level was good so there were few of the problems with submerged rocks or shallow spots that we had encountered in November. The downed trees were mostly cleared up too. It was a pretty easy run, allowing more time to enjoy the scenery and the company of good friends.
Except for a few kingfishers and bluejays, there was no sign of wildlife.
A brief stop for lunch along the river to stretch and warm up.
Everyone stayed dry today, and except for a few cold hands and feet, we all had a great time. We may have to paddle the Pine River this weekend.
A trip to a local bar for a bite to eat and warm up, and great conversation was the perfect end to a great day.
Miles paddles today: 11.5. Off to a good start for the new year.
View Pere Marquette River in a larger map