Tag: Egg Mcmuffin

Icepaddle 2007, minus the egg mcmuffin

Icepaddle 2007, minus the egg mcmuffin

2007 brought in an usual amount of snowfall and cold towards the end of January. This caused a serious amount of ice to build up along Lake Michigan. When the ice builds up towards a mile or so off shore, when it melts the waves from wind across the lake pile it up on shore in stacks. Further helping this rapid pseudo geological process is a cold snap quickly following a melt. All of these events happened in sequence this year with the culmination of a 58 degree Fahrenheit, bright sunny nearly windless day.

Jim Svensson, Jason Roon and myself launched from the South Haven Ship Museum on the Black River. We paddled out along the channel and then paddled north. As soon as we crossed the mouth of the pier we were treated to a long unbroken series of shelves and cornices of ice along shore.

The average was about 5-8 feet from the surface of the water. The high end was about 10 feet. This is not as high as I’ve seen it in the past where 20-30 feet ice shelves tower over the lake’s edge. But it was great nonetheless. The warm sunshine and calm conditions made up for the lack in verticality.

The three of us paddled along until I found a low spot to get out and take pictures from a vantage spot. Unfortunately I’ve discovered the Achilles heel of the Pentax Optio. Bright sun and water droplets may ruin as many pictures as waterproofing may save. I couldn’t even see the lcd in bright sun. And due to this factor I couldn’t clear the lens.

I think I got some ok pictures nonetheless.

It was great to be back on the water in my silhouette on my lake with the ice along shore. It masked the familiar shoreline in every direction. And I forgot about all the houses, the familiar condo complexes, and focused on the ice. My eye followed the shape of the ice from the surface of the water to the sky, wallowing in the crevices, and cutbacks like I was paddling in Greenland, or Baffin Island. This is one of the best times to paddle Lake Michigan. It is a transportive moment where I forget that I am on the same old lake, because I see stacks of ice as big as Volkswagen busses falling from the shelf and landing in the lake.

We didn’t catch it on camera but a piece at least as big as a mini-cooper fell less than a foot from me while we paddled. I got the Disney water ride splash and a good laugh out of it.

Flotnar 3rd Annual Ice Paddle-1st annual Egg Mcmuffin

Flotnar 3rd Annual Ice Paddle-1st annual Egg Mcmuffin

This I have to write down,

We stopped at McDonalds on the way to South Haven to paddle this morning. I hadn’t been in a Mcdonalds since some time last year. Apparently it is possible to pay for fast food with a credit card now. I was stunned as this was not possible for years, nor the last time I was in a McDonalds. I brought up this fascinating fact as I was paying for my meal, (with cash). The cashier says, “We’ve had credit card machines for a year.”

“Wow,” I said, it must be close to a year since I’ve eaten Mcdonald’s then.” The look of sheer incredulity was worth the price of the egg McMuffin.
“Where do you eat out?” She asked.

“Well I don’t, usually.” I answered. I started getting a-you’re not from this country, and we’re gonna call homeland security look from the folks behind the counter. I quickly dropped the subject, because my friends started backing away to disassociate themselves from me after this brief dialog.

Now the paddling part of the program.

Ok, I need to start remembering all my gear. I need a protocol droid to look after me. Someone tell me if they see a c3p0 for keeping track of paddling gear at Canoecopia.

“Master-Keith, (imagine tony daniels voice here) I believe you forgot your spraydeck!”

“Thanks 3P0, where’s my Whitewater/Greendland paddle?”

We had four paddlers show up at the South Haven Pier for the ice paddle. The last frosty holdouts of winter clung to the shore like limpets. Shelves were on average, 5-8 feet high, not as lofty as some years where 10-15 is the norm, but we had some excitement. I as, alluded to above, forgot my sprayskirt. And Matt had a brief unplanned swim. I saw a speedy two footer curling over and then take him by surprise. The same wave broke over me, filling my kayak obviously, and then I had to paddle out to pump out, while Jason got him back in his kayak. Luckily he was wearing a nylon drysuit, so he was pretty toasty already.

I managed to pump out and continue on my way.

Also I found out today, drybag is a misnomer. I held my camera in my lap in a drybag to shoot the photos posted here. But the drybag was 1/3 full of water when I got the camera out to shoot the pictures posted here. At least the camera’s ok.

I also got to see Tom Deater pull off a nice instinctive low brace, not bad for a second time on open water.

I will let the pictures do the rest of the talking.