Lower Rogue River Feb 2, 2013

photo courtesy of Carla V.
Finally, winter has shown up here, at least for a while. Several inches of snow last week disappeared just as quickly with an unusually warm day with temperatures near 60 and two inches of rain. Then it turned cold again, with a couple of inches of fresh snow. Friday night finally brought a good snowfall, about 8 inches overnight. It continued to come down as we drove to Rockford to paddle the lower Rouge River.
The water was running higher than we expected with the rain. There was no ice in the water, but there was a lot of slush from the snowfall. The temperature was in the mid teens. We decided to kayak anyway, since we were all dressed for the conditions.

The strong current kept us from getting any pictures while on the water. The several small stretches of rapids didn't pose any problems. The Childsdale Dam rapids were actually easier to run with the higher water levels.

The problems came at a tree that had fallen. It has been there for some time; it is the same tree to put Matt in the water last year. I was surprised it has not been removed, or at least trimmed to allow passage around it. Three branches posed the most problem. Rodney got through with no problem. I was able to get around the first two, and lifted the third one out of the way. But as I released it, it caught on the back of my kayak and stopped me cold. Dennis ran into me and flipped over. He was able to get to shore and out of the water with no problem, but his kayak filled with water and floated downstream. I was able to lift the branch enough to get loose, but I lost my paddle and watched it float away. I hadn't brought an extra paddle the last few trips, but for some reason I did today, grabbing it as I left. By the time I got it out and got back under control I was too far downstream to help. Carla was able to get my paddle and Dennis' kayak, but with the current she couldn't get it to shore. With Rodney's help they got the water out and back to Dennis so he could get his drybag and change into dry clothes.

We learned a few lessons today, although we did it the hard way. At least there were no injuries.

Today's paddle: 5.75 miles. Year to date:37.85.
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