Sunday, March 20, 2011

Geisel Creek

The temperature has been above freezing for the past week. I was hoping to get out on some water if the weather held. Most of the Lake Michigan shore line is now clear of ice, but I would like to find some ICE to play in…so I’ll look around this week for a good shoreline with "icebergs" and if the time and weather cooperate I’ll get out the years past, I have been lucky to find the right spot.
Icebergs from years past

The new 11.5’ canoe that was finished in January has been anxious to touch the water.

I loaded her on the truck and drove over to Geisel Creek, hoping it was free enough to launch.

Snow was on the banks, but the creek was clear enough to paddle. It was a little tricky finding a stable place along shore to jump in the boat…snow and glass make for a slippery surface…, but I managed to fall into the canoe while it was stabilized by a paddle jammed into the snow bank. It is always a thrill trying a new boat. This canoe is a shortened version of David Hazen’s 16’Abanaki…It is slightly narrower, more asymmetrical…the widest area is aft of the canoe’s mid-point, has some hollow In the entry and the forward 2 feet has about a 1.5 inch rise in the hull to let the bow slip around. No keel... It is very sensitive to how it balances fore and aft. Too much wt forward and it get squirrelly and is difficulty to paddle straight…place your wt just aft and she settles down into a nice controllable craft. It is hard to judge a boat being good or bad…I just adapt to the boat's idiosyncrasies and use it. I have a 16‘ canoe similar to this boat.  The first thing I notice in this shortened version is how much easier it slips through the water…it doesn’t have the top speed of a longer boat, but you don’t need the speed just to plunk around in a small creek like this, short is great…light (30lbs) and easy to propel.  Each boat has a purpose.

There was skim ICE here and there, so we punched our way through and headed downstream about a mile before the ICE was solid. The sounds of Great Blue Herons and Sand Hill Cranes could be heard in the distance…they nest back in the wetlands here…their tracks were all over the ICE. Back at the launch, I was concerned about getting out, snow was everywhere along shore and I couldn’t run the boat up anywhere as the shore was too steep…I would just slide back into the water faster than I pushed up onto the snow. I went under the roadway, there was a clear area to the left, I made note of that and headed up the creek a ways, passing alongside a farm until deadfalls blocked the path.
I pulled out on the grassy bank near the road and took a few photos. 

November was the last time I was on the water, these winters seem longer and darker the older I get.
Spring is great! Once on a warm spring day I went canoeing and x-country skiing…just enjoying the sun. Today, Canoeing and hiking at Whitefish Dunes sounds like a good deal …not much sun, but a balmy 40.

So I finished the afternoon with a hike at the Dunes

Two weeks ago there was ice on the shores of Whitefish Dunes State Park.
It now looks like it is gone...but it is only hidden beneath the sands.
As it melts, rivelets form and create sinkholes, canyons and cliffs.

Shoreside Cliffs
Dried up Canyon

In three months the sand will be covered with beachgoers 
Just to the North of Whitefish Dunes is Cave Point County Park.

A good place to explore by Kayak

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