The evening starts warm but with a crisp fall nip in the air. It is beautifully calm and quiet, and though the sun is low there is still a good hour for paddling. Unfortunately there are only two people paddling with me this evening. It was cloudy and rainy this morning with heavy rain last night, and the mosquitoes have been bad recently because of the standing water and warm weather. I feel sorry for those that have not come out to this paddle. The river is high today with a little current, strong for this time of year, but we manage to get away from the bank and paddle up stream.
A deer peacefully stands and watches from the field until we get close then it bounds away into the bush. All summer we have seen deer. Several times a fawn has been seen quietly nibbling on the shrubs and grasses near the bank. A sign of nature renewing itself and a reminder of the world we live in and share. A Killdeer swoops and dips ahead of us as we paddle up the river. I recall the first paddle this spring, another crisp day almost 5 months ago, when we saw a fox bounding along the side of the river.
Tuesday paddles started on May 4th this year. One hundred one people came out over the 17 weeks of paddles. Many of these people had never been in a canoe before. I was away for four weeks on trips. There was only one cancellation due to weather — May 11 was the day the snow storm started. Much to my surprise, looking back at my log book, there were no cancellations due to rain. Kathy tells me that is because I am just crazy enough to go out in the rain. If that is the case I am glad there are a few other souls that are crazy like me; I never paddled alone. I recall June 15th when it was pouring rain with a great lightning show while I was leaving my house. It cleared at 7:00 just as we were suppose to start the paddle.
Because of all of the rain this summer the river was never very low. Most of the summer there was some current and one week the bridge was under water. At the begining of June and end of May there had been quite a bit of local rain and since the Red was not high the La Salle actually had quite a bit of current. There was enough current to show a couple of people how to do ferrys and S-turns. Usually the river, with its slow current and wind sheltering trees, provided a perfect place to introduce new comers to this wonderful recreational activity.
At the end of August we had guests from Austria. They had made arrangements from Europe earlier in the summer to come and paddle with us. I am glad my luck held and we had a very nice evening with lots of wildlife to see. On the same night someone else came in from Alberta — having left a message several weeks prior. She had been out two years before in the pouring rain but had remembered the outing fondly and wanted to go again. This time it was clear and warm.
I want to thank the board members, specifically Gerry and Brent, for coming out to as many Tuesday and Sunday paddles as possible. A special thanks goes to Brent and Lynn for driving me (and my canoe) for most of the spring and summer when I might have otherwise had to ride my bike [from HSC].
The evening ends as we approach the landing. A cool mist is slowly rising over the river; the sun has slipped below the trees and it is getting dark. Time, once again, to hang my paddle and think of next spring and the adventures we will have. I hope to see everyone again on Tuesdays next summer.
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Email: burc...@cc.umanitoba.ca Last modified: Sat Oct 23 07:19:33 2010