Another close encounter with a tree

I was paddling upstream on the St Joseph yesterday and the river was just below flood level so the upstream grind was brutal so it was especially important to stay close to the shore and paddle in the calmer water downstream of fallen trees. I’m paddling along and in one eddy I get the feeling like I’m going really fast. Then I realize that it just looks like I’m moving fast cause the tree in front of me is moving towards me…and gently bouncing off of other fallen trees along the shoreline where I’m paddling. After a brief moment of terror I realized I had a little room and pulled waaaay over to the shore and took a pic as the tree passed me.

Totally common after big runoff events. The Sacramento River is full of trees. Some are anchored on the bottom and some are moving in the current. No problem if you plan ahead on big rivers. There is plenty of room to maneuver. Big problems on small windy rivers when you can’t see them coming and there is no escape route. The velocity of the current has a lot to do with the danger level. The example above is a piece of cake.

Trees anchored on the bottom are a much more dangerous situation especially if they have lots of branches. Then the water moves through them acting like a sieve. It is easy to caught in one with high velocity current. Then you have a strainer. They kill people.