The river is UP!

The St Joseph River reached flood stage of 11 feet yesterday after a 24 hour rain. I’m surprised that the local park was even open since you have to fjord some water to get in. River volume is around 4X normal but normal is rare. We’re finally supposed to get some cold weather soon; it’s pretty wild to not see any signs of ice in quiet water in January in Michigan.

Whitewater paddlers must be happy.

Ah, Eckilson, this is Southern Michigan where the nearest Whitewater is tomorrow.

Like rival51 said there’s basically no whitewater around here. I’m not a whitewater paddler so that’s fine by me. The current is strong enough to make upstream paddles plenty challenging and the changing water levels do rearrange the sunken trees so that makes for an occasional thrill. I’m starting to think about a drysuit based largely on your posts and how you seem to be “winter proof”. When I get on the river in winter I will never see another paddler. I rarely see another canoe even in summer.

@TomL for your needs you may want to look at “Paddling” suits rather than Dry suits. The main difference is the neck gasket (at least for Kokatat). I have a Kokatat SuperNova that meets 90% of my use cases. The neck will leak some if I’m spending time underwater failing to roll but in cold weather I’m almost always in a canoe so that’s not an issue. At my level of output the Hydrus fabric (rather than Goretex) seems to breathe well enough. Mine is 5 years old and has been worth the investment.

Thanks for the tip. I can’t stand the confining feeling of stretchy/tight neoprene so I never wear even my minimalist sleeveless NRS Hydroskin top. The drysuit (or paddling suit) sounds more loose-fitting so we might get along. I doubt I can transition to anything more restrictive than my current multiple layers of synthetic clothes plus drybag with a change of clothes but I also like the idea of increasing my robustness to cold weather and water.

You will need to adjust to the wrist gaskets but otherwise, yes a paddling suit is pretty un-restrictive. I’m reasonable comfortable with layers under it down to the low 20s. The big advantage for normal times (not the oh phooey stuff) is not having to be concerned about filling a boot or slipping into the water when launching or landing. I’ve also been known to wear street clothes under the suit when I have something to do before or after a paddle & don’t want to deal with changing in the car.