Thornapple River Jan 12, 2013

 Winter has made itself scarce here again. With partly cloudy skies and a high forecast for a record 60 degrees, a quick trip was put together down the Thornapple River. While having snow on the ground would be much more beautiful than the grays and browns of a snowless winter day, we decided to take advantage of the nice weather to get a trip in.

It was good to see Michal Ann and Jake, her black lab, on the river with us again. It had been a long time since we paddled together.
While this stretch of river is usually slow, the water level and current were good thanks to almost an inch of rain Thursday night. And being "winter" there were no bugs to worry about like there are on summer trips on this stretch.
It was 57 degrees when we put in shortly after 1:00. Considering there was such short notice of the trip, we did have ten kayakers show up, including several paddlers who were new to the group.
There were quite a few downed trees to avoid, but nothing that we had to portage around. The current did make for a few tricky maneuvers around some of them, though.

It is a good thing it was as warm as it was since one of the new paddlers didn't make it around one tree and went for a swim. I could see it coming because he had been having trouble getting caught sideways on several of the downed trees and was making the mistake of trying to grab on to the branches. While he has kayaked before, it was mostly on large rivers and lakes where there are not as many problems with downed trees. He did have dry clothes to change into, and we were less than a mile from the takeout. 

The backwaters of the Middleville Dam slowed the current down, and left more room to enjoy the trip without worrying about going for a swim.
 Except for a kingfisher, very little wildlife was seen, although the birds were singing like it was spring.

The takeout at the dam in downtown Middleville. We made the trip in a little over an hour and a half. The temperature had fallen to 51 degrees by the time we finished, and there is freezing rain and snow forecast for tonight. Maybe next weekend we will have some snow for a real winter paddle.

Paddled Today: 4.6 miles. Year to date: 16.1 miles.

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