While the last few spring paddling seasons brought high waters leaving all but the best paddlers to wait for levels to drop before getting their first spring run, this year has been quite the opposite. Snow seemed to miss Wisconsin and the U.P. of Michigan quite regularly, and the snow just piled up in the North East. I made the move to Green Bay, WI this winter for a new career but also to be closer to some of my favorite rivers. L’Anse, MI was now only a 2.5 hour drive rather than the 6-7 hour trip from La Crosse. The Peshtigo, Red, and Wolf are all less than 2 hours away and the Fox is just 20 minutes. I waited and waited for snow to pile up this winter but it just never came. The largest accumulations happened in November and melted during a December heat wave. Then the frigid temperatures settled in again and I don’t remember a time with more than 3 inches in my yard. Now spring was nearing and I got the itch to get on the water, but ice still covered most of the rivers. Excited to have the Manitowoc wave only a 40 minute drive, I watched hoping there might be just enough to surf for even just a day, but nothing. The wave never came in. Facebook was lighting up with paddlers searching for rivers with good flows, but all the snow in Wisconsin melted before the ice thawed, and so L’anse only ran for a couple of days and we had to settle for low level runs of most rivers until now…..
Wausau held its first release on May 16th so that really helped everyone cure the itch. But then…the rain came!!! No one at my new job understands why I get so excited for rain. But we have had the Wolf, Pesh, Red and other rivers all running at a medium to high level for weeks. We’ve been spoiled. Plus Wausau has been releasing more often this spring so we have gotten to enjoy playing at our new favorite spot #4. A flood moved some rocks in the feature and the result? More retentive, and fun watching face surfs! Ok, i admit it…i am probably the one entertaining everyone with my amazing face surfing ability 🙂
Last week, areas around fond du lac got almost 3 inches of rain overnight and today, Green Bay got 1.5 inches of rain in just 2.5 hours! This time of year most people made plans to head to Colorado to experience their high water levels or to the SE for the week of rivers. But those who are stuck working this summer have plenty of options for end of day river runs or weekend park and play at Wausau. Even the Fox River now has its first scheduled releases! The first one is this weekend, June 20th and 21st. We can’t wait to show the area what a benefit these releases will have to their community.