Muskegon River Croton to Thornapple Landing Redux Feb 15, 2014

An unrelenting cold winter has put a damper on kayaking this year, freezing a lot of the rivers that normally stay open. We were able to get out Saturday, on the Muskegon River again, since it is one of the few rivers without ice. It was my first time out this year, after we cancelled a couple of trips due to iced over rivers, breaking my streak of paddling at least once a month for the last 20 months. Time to start over.
At 6 degrees, it was a bit cool as we started out. The sun was still behind the clouds as we got on the river at 8:45, so it didn't get a chance to warm up much before we hit the water. Rodney and I were planning on going to Newaygo, but the cold convinced us to get out with Ron and Cyndi at Thornapple Landing.
Even with the cold air it was a great morning to be out. We saw at least 8 bald eagles, dozens of swans, turkeys roosting in the trees, hawks, an osprey, and too many ducks to count. Fishermen were out in force, too, in the river and on the shore.
The current was strong in the river, the only reason there was no ice to amount to anything. There were a few pieces of clear ice floating downstream, but they didn't pose any problems.

As we got to about the half way point, the sun came out and warmed it up to about 20 degrees.
It has been an unusual winter, with the snow arriving before Thanksgiving and staying the whole winter. I can probably count on one hand how many times that has happened in my 50 plus years here. In fact, we have had a record number of consecutive days with more than 4" of snow cover.
Usually we get a lot of melting during the winter, but we have only had a couple of days above freezing this year. The air has been so cold even Lake Michigan is mostly frozen over, something that hasn't happened in twenty years.
The lake keeps us a bit warmer in the winter than the folks in Wisconsin, but it will also effect the weather this spring, keeping us cooler longer. With over 100 inches of snow so far this winter, the rivers should have plenty of water this spring.

A short run, we were off the river by 10:30. It was the first time I was home by noon after a kayak trip.

 Miles paddled today: 6.4 miles. Year to date: 6.4.