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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Equinoximity to Paddling

Posted by the River Rat

We just passed through the Vernal Equinox, dear fellow River Rats, which means the paddling season is clearly open. In fact, if you haven't been out yet, you're late!

This Rat launched on Dane County's Token Creek on Equinox + 1 (3/21). It was classic guerrilla paddling in that strange zone near the airport where you're isolated and obscured, yet the National Guard F-16s screech overhead coming back from their test bombing runs and a slow-moving train shakes the ground so much it ripples the water.

The water level was high -- swirling and murky. The usual passages underneath Token Creek's iconic craggy willows had to be bypassed by cutting across oxbows that are usually high and dry, but this day were easily passable (well, you had to use your paddle like a pole).

But the season didn't really open on a warm March post-equinox day; in fact it opened (in this Rat's world anyway) Feb. 26, on the lovely Badfish Creek in northern Rock County (its own form of guerrilla paddling, I suppose -- about half its flow at Cooksville is sewage outfall from Madison). It was a paddle made lovelier by a toasty 16 degrees F at launch time.

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