March is indeed the transition month, with my brain slowly turning from playing on solid water to playing on liquid water. Last Thursday we had an open board meeting for SKOAC, one of the two paddling clubs in the Twin Cities that I send my money to. Attendance was up for this event also, I think due to that same venue component. When it was discovered that the normal meeting room at Midwest Mountaineering was booked, the meeting moved two blocks north to the Republic Bar with a happy hour start. Attendance jumped exponentially. A couple board vacancies were discussed and talk of paddling trips, destinations, and other events that conjured up sun, warm air, and open water were discussed as well. The 'Winter' party was planned, an event that inspired GalwayGuy and I to leave early a couple years back, and blow up to Meyers Beach very early the next morning and meet ChrisG for the first Lake Superior paddle of the season, a crossing out to the normally off limits Eagle Island. This little island resembles a moonscape due to the yearly assault by nesting waterbirds but that's another story. Suffice it to say that the time to switch from the fluffy, white, solid form of H2O to the liquid stuff. For many of us in the Midwest the trigger for that mental switch over to paddle season is Canoecopia in Madison, WI.
We will be heading down this year after missing last year. I always look forward to seeing old friends, cronies, and other ne'er do wells at this event. Every year we seem to know more and more people presenting, which makes balancing wandering around in the exhibits vs presentations much tougher. It's a good problem to have however. Once again venue is important. If a person can't have fun in Madison they should head in for counseling. From my first whiff of CS gas on State St in the early 70's through many visits to buddies and No1 Son when he was in school there, I've enjoyed the city immensely. Pre and post Canoecopia activities are generally centered along Williamson ('Willy') St., from the Comeback Inn, down past the Weary Traveler, Jahmerica, the Crystal Corner, and HaLong Bay restaurant. Not a national chain in sight. Friends don't let friends do Applebee's.
I hope it's a great event and I hope to see as many friends as is humanly possible in the three days. Let the paddle season begin!
(PS. This is a remote post via iPad andI have no clue how to add a photo....I hope to figure it out)