Thursday, March 17, 2011

On the cusp

I skied for what I fear will be the last time of the season on natural snow Tuesday morning. It had reached 40F during the day and then dropped down well below freezing overnight. This gave Francis Gross golf course a crust of frozen snow that allowed me to go anywhere on the course and ignore the rutted and pitifully groomed track. I think that skating on that crust is the closest a person can come to flying without leaving the ground. Effortless 15-20 yard glides as the sun is just peeking over the horizon is a pretty good way to start out the day. Temps are expected to flirt with 50F for the next few days though. My snow barometer, the picnic table outside my office, is shown two weeks ago at the top of the post and again yesterday at the bottom of this 'graph. This along with other omens, reminders, and upcoming events are driving me relentlessly back toward a paddling mindset, a mindset that I shelved last November with the season ending Gales of November paddle on Lake Minnetonka.

Canoecopia came and went without my presence but the bloggers have reminded me of what I missed. Planning has begun for the Traditional Gathering and a meeting is in the works for sometime in the near future. I received my invitation to be Third Assistant Junior Instructor at the biannual Inland Sea Kayak Symposium in Washburn in June. Registration has opened for the Granddaddy of Lake Superior kayak events, the GLSKS up in Grand Marais, MI, (winner of the Readers Digest $5MM grant contest, I may add, for restoring their beautiful harbor) and my guess is that we'll be hearing from Bill Thompson as soon as he hangs up his tele skis. In a real 'spring is coming' wake up call, the Coast Guard ice breaker Alder will be busting ice from Bayfield out to LaPointe on Madeline Island this morning. The ice road season was very short this year. But anticipating paddling is not the only thing that has been driving me back toward the water. Lots of folks have already been out on the water, some here and some well to the south of here.

I got a comment on my post earlier in the week from RocksNFeathers that Red Rocks reservoir down near Pella, IA is open and people have been paddling up a storm. On the other end of the spectrum Bryan Hansel completed 12 months of paddling, a piece of cake down south but not so easy up on the north shore of Lake Superior in Grand Marais, MN. Our own buddy RonO, snuck up to Split Rock last weekend and got in the first cold water paddle of the season as well as some great ice shots of the shore. Switching back to the south, fellow blogger and member of the "O family" PeggyO (along with DaveO and RonO) headed down to Tybee Island, GA to play in the surf with Ben Lawry and company. I suspect that she was one of the ISK folks that was instrumental in getting Ben up here after GLSKS for some instruction as well. I do believe she has BCU 4 star firmly in her sights.

Okay, okay, I get it. Put the skis, take the crap off the top of the kayaks and get on the water. I still have to get a couple tele days in on the fake snow and Colorado beckons with my Loveland 4 pack of lift tickets needing to be used but the mental shift from the hard water to the liquid stuff is in full swing. First however, I need to celebrate my 50% Irish heritage this evening at my favorite hangout. Who knows, a paddler or two may show up and we can discuss heading up to Gitchee Gumee next weekend, along with the intricate subtleties of the world class flavor profile of Bushmills Black Bush Irish whiskey. Just a splash of water to release the aroma and a person holds nirvana in their hand. Happy St Pats all!

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