Friday, June 15, 2007

Lower Shiawassee River paddle

Taken from June 2007 edition of Eddy Lines

Lower Shiawassee River paddle
The day started out cool and comfortable as we loaded two
small recreational kayaks onto the truck for the trip out to
Holly and the annual Shiawassee River Holly to Fenton pleasure
paddle. Since this part of the river is very twisty with
many quick turns and obstacles to navigate, Sharon and I decided
to use short recreational kayaks instead of a canoe.
However, if all goes well, next year we may enter the race
that is run earlier in the day. Once we arrived in Holly and
got out of the truck to register we were amazed at how cold it
had become. While we were driving we naturally didn’t notice
the temperature change but we certainly did as soon as
we got out into the weather. Fortunately we had brought
along extra gear. The short pants and T shirt were quickly
replaced with fleece pants, warm shirt, fleece vest and jacket.
I would have liked to have had my Chota boots used for winter
paddling but did not even think about bringing them in the
At the registration table we met Nikki who was volunteering
for the event. Since she is recently from California the cold
snap had her wishing for the warmth of California , but she
kept on with her duties with no complaints. During registration
we also noticed Laurie in the staging area getting ready
to launch. After registering and receiving our free beer cup
bailers we unloaded and made our way down to the launch
area and got under way. As is usually the case, once under
way with PFD on and the physical exertion of paddling we
were soon heated up enough to start removing layers. The
river is a fun paddle. There are many technical spots that test
your paddling skills. The river is small and typically shallow
in most parts of this seven mile run, but offers many different
types of water from fast and narrow to the ponds that the beavers
helped construct. Headwater’s Trail did a great job of
marking the river so that you knew exactly where you were
and having spotters staged at all the difficult to navigate areas
such as the low bridges and to help line up boats for going
through the tubes at the railroad bridge. If you haven’t tried
this event before, bring a friend & get in on the fun next year!

Tom Brandau
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