Typically Wednesday night is paddle night during the spring and summer kayak season and Calhoun is the lake where it occurs more often than not. Tonight the hardy trio of the VoiceOfReason, the BessemerConvivialist, and I hit what open water there was for the inaugural paddle of the 2008 season. Calhoun is a natural lake, as opposed to a reservoir, and has a spot where its 90' (28m) deep. It has a tendency to stay frozen a bit longer than the shallow lakes.
Roughly 20% of the lake was open with a giant ice floe in the middle, ranging from about 4" to 10" (10-25cm) thick. Once again it was honeycombed, as you can see in the photo, although a couple times I took a run at it and skidded up on the sheet instead of breaking through. I could sense the unspoken 'he has the mind of a 14 year old' thoughts of my two companions but it was just plain fun smashing through that rotten ice and watching it part and break off as my bow hit it. There were ducks, geese, and gulls all over, working the edge of the ice; we were the only homo sapiens on the water. The skyline of downtown Minneapolis was clearly visible in the background and it was a wonderful night to be on the water. It did get cold when the sun went down however. We got off the water about 8:15 and as we were tying the boats on the roof the wind switched to the northwest. In the space of about 10 minutes the ice sheet blew in to our shore and completely blocked in the spot we launched and landed from as well as about a half mile of open water that we paddled through to get back to the takeout. As the VOR and BC stood on the ice we all agreed that, like so many things in life, timing is everything.