Rogue River-Rockford to West River Drive Dec 21, 2013

The first day of winter, and we are home in Michigan after the short trip to Florida and a week of vacation in Mexico. A kayak trip was planned down the lower section of the Rogue River in Rockford for Saturday. Ten kayakers took time out from Christmas shopping to join us.
Winter had come with a vengeance while we were gone, bringing the total for the year so far to over 24". That is about a third of our average annual snowfall. Last year we had less than two inches at this time. If it keeps up at this pace we may have a record year for snow.
A couple of days of rain and freezing rain did wash out some of the snow, but there was still plenty on the ground. It did clear up the ice on the river. The water levels were fairly good, although as usual on this river, we still had to watch out for rocks most of the way down.
Temperatures were in the low 30s as we started off. We kept an eye on the sky as more freezing rain was predicted for the afternoon.

The higher than normal water levels kept the rapids and riffles lively.

There were no downed trees to cause any problems. The tree that caused Dennis to go swimming last February was finally removed.

We saw quite a few ducks and about a dozen whitetail deer along the river.

Ice floes on the Grand River forced us to get off the river earlier than we usually do. We did have to climb over some ice to reach the river bank, but everyone made it off the river safely and without getting wet. 
We made it home before the next ice storm hit that afternoon. More snow forecast for the next few days should give us good ground cover for next weekend.

Miles Paddled today: 6.6; Year-to-date: 315.6 miles.

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