Friday, July 11, 2008

Building on a paddling community

Until this year, we've spent most of our extracurricular (non-teaching) paddling time working on our skills and enjoying the camaraderie of Chicago-area paddlers. But thanks to the symposia we've been attending, we've also made connections across the country, and we've begun seeking out our paddling partners when we travel.
On this trip, we were able to hook up with Frits Kwant (see Tuesday's post) as well as two other WMCKA paddlers we've long wished to spend more time with: Keith Wikle and Paul Fishback.
Our plan was to meet at 5 p.m. near the channel that connects White Lake to "the big lake" (Lake Michigan). But a conspiracy of weather and traffic kept us about 5 miles north in Frits' house and off the water until about 6:30 p.m. The NOAA weather radar revealed a major storm cell over Green Bay, Wisconsin, which we estimated would allow us time for at least a short paddle. We agreed that we would not paddle all the way down the coast to White Lake, and that it would be easy to pull off if the weather worsened and wait it out.

Setting off from the beach, wondering about that approaching storm system...

So much for plans. As soon as we got on the water, Keith set a brisk pace and before we knew it, we were more than half way to our destination. The storm didn't look too close, and since we were within easy reach of White Lake, we decided to continue. Besides, we were getting hungry.

Frits and Paul paddle into the wind. Our flexible float plan hinged on the speed with which a storm moved in from Green Bay.

Keith tries to hide his carbon fiber snow shovel. Where's your Greenland stick, Keith?

We reached the take-out a little after 8 and finished the car shuttle. By the time we were nearly done loading our boats, it was raining and thundering, with lightning illuminating the sky.
We devoured our dinner and were among the last to leave the inn that night, setting out like so many wanderers to our separate destinations for the night.

Photo op out on the lake. We didn't quite get to the Old Channel Inn by 9 p.m. for dinner, but when we arrived, Clarice was waiting and the storm was only too happy to let loose.

Thanks for paddling with us Frits, Paul and Keith! We look forward to paddling with you and our other wonderful WMCKA friends in the coming months and years.

1 comment:

keith wikle said...

Carbon Fiber Snow Shovel!!!

I like that!!!!

I also have a carbon fiber toothpick!!!!