As is our tradition, our first paddle of the season was on Mirror Lake / Del-boo creek. We had a late start because of the weird weather and the need of some repairs as explained below. Spring has given us many mid-90 degree days & very high dew-points, intermixed in with days of cold/rain/wind which is also not conducive paddling.
Hopefully we are at the tail end of the Covid pandemic here in summer 2022; deaths are low but summer numbers are high and unfortunately climbing. We are vaccinated and boosted twice so far.
Repairs x 2 required to get started.
To start the season off we first had to get new tires on our “canoe car” which is a 1998 Subaru Impreza. When we took it in for it’s annual oil change, our mechanic (Dutch’s in Madison) said “hey these tires are 20 years old”. The tires actually were in great shape “except for the dry rot” so yes, an update was required.
Secondly, the thwart (bar across the middle of the canoe) screws had eaten their way through the end of the wood and popped out. We knew this was happening so it was kind of good timing to require it to be fixed before venturing out. Rutabaga Paddle Sports helped us track down the correct part (Ed’s in Vermont); the first part directly from Northstar who manufactured Bell canoes sent one that was much to narrow. Jim’s Small Boat Repair in Monona, WI installed our new black walnut thwart for us.
And since we were fixing things, we also replaced one of our loop canoe straps which was fraying. I know of someone whose strap broke on a long drive and we heeded the warning seriously. We bought that from Rutabaga on the ride home from Jim’s Small Boat Repair. Ready to go!
The very next day after our thwart was installed, we decided to kick off the season as usual at Mirror Lake. We put-in at the city ramp (Search for: Mirror Lake Boat Launch, Lakeview Road. Reedsburg, WI).
It was a little windy, the water was a bit shallow. We were not able to go into Dell-Boo Creek (under the bridge) quite as far as we usually do, but surprisingly we were able to explore the grassy outlet much more than we expected given the water level. It always feels adventurous in that narrow area. Basically we use this paddle to practice our “routine” as to what to bring (do we have everything?), getting canoe on car (are we still strong enough?) and to remember how happy it makes us to be on the water – total success!
Heron, cranes, ducks, turtle, nesting geese, redwing blackbirds, yellow swallowtail butterflies.