Spring is here, or so we have been told. In the past few weeks, since our return from Maine, we have been looking forward to paddling season, but only one of us ( and Gryphon) has been able to get out on the water. Hence, this a rather brief blog post about spring paddling!
I purchased a great dry suit this season, from Mythic Gear, in order to begin the season a bit earlier, and extend it once we get into fall paddling. My husband is too tall for a Mythic suit ( a very affordable suit, no bells or whistles , but with limited size options), and we are not ready to invest in a more expensive suit. I have been able to get out paddling on only four occasions though, since our weather has been a bit rainy and snowy for most of the past month. The water temperatures have ranged from 42 to 48 degrees, so certainly I never would have previously dared to canoe in those conditions. We have also always had a bit of concern about the dogs, should we dump…the Ruffwear Float Coat that Griff wears offers some thermal protection, but I picked up a used neoprene hunting dog vest for him to wear under his life jacket.
So we have stayed at local lakes, remain close to shore, and have kept our outings under 2 hours in length. So far so good…in fact, one day, I was able to paddle in the morning, and then go snowshoeing up on the mountain in the afternoon. We actually had 2 sunny days ( the only such days in the past month), and 2 overcast days for our paddles. We have seen loons, heron, osprey, ducks, and eagles. Our first canoe camping trip is in less than two weeks, so we are hoping the sun makes a re-appearance!
So this year, snowshoeing, hiking, and paddling seasons are all overlapping! We finished up snowshoeing ( 68 days) on the man-made snow up at the ski resort in our town, and entered mud season hiking…trail closures and conditions in mud season limit our options a bit, but we still try to get the dogs out nearly every day. It is a good thing they do not mind hiking in the rain!
It has become a spring tradition for us to take the dogs out on Vermont’s Green-Up Day, the first Saturday in May. We focus on the nearby canoe access, and have actually paddled out for water clean up in past years. This year, the weather and high waters did not permit that, so we worked on a land-based clean-up. We found quite a bit of trash , and noted a lot of debris was in the area where in the winter a snowmobile tour company meets with their clients, and park their 25 or so machines. We found cowling trim pieces, as well as LOTS of used chemical hand-warmer packets. I think that before next season, we will ask them to provide receptacles for folks to discard these packets.
We do not participate for any recognition ( lots of folks take part, and it is just what good Vermonters do), but since we advocate for responsible outdoor activities, it is a practical way for us to practice what we preach.
And, as for our GO trailer…we are revved to take it out again in a few weeks, for a few days of camping and paddling in the Northeast Kingdom. Check out our trip planning page for more info on the GO trailer, and how we are tweaking it to meet our needs.
So off we go, into May, and what lies ahead. Lots of camping trips planned, both with the GO trailer, and canoe camping trips. In 4 months we will be on our Banff trip, so planning continues for that expedition. So come on sun, return to us, and bring a bit of warm weather please!