27-Aug-2011 Paddle Report
Eleven paddlers participated in this event who, for the most part, were experienced paddlers. Unfortunately, nine other paddlers who earlier committed couldn't make it. Additionally, there were 6-10 that expressed interest in paddling with us but had scheduling conflicts or were out of town. Four who did participate were paddle veterans from the July TRC Paw Paw Paddle, four paddlers had previously paddled with me but were new to TRC events, and three I had the pleasure of paddling with for the first time. This was a very good mix of skill level and group size for the challenges we faced during the day. At the many obstacles we experienced on this run, the paddlers would stack up waiting their turn to maneuver through the obstacle and then wait for the others to get through so the group could continue. It is fair to say that those with limited experience prior to this run have now earned their stripes.
We had established take out options at the two hour mark, the four hour mark and the five hour end of trip mark. (See the paddle map) Due to a few new obstacles on the river as a result of recent storms, it actually took three hours to reach the two hour mark, six hours to reach the four hour mark and seven hours to reach the end of the trip. Two of our group had scheduled to pull out at the four mark, but then four more chose to pull out there because of the extended paddle time. Five of us completed the entire seven hour paddle. It was a good paddle and many of the first timers asked me to inform them of future paddles that we schedule.
I was very surprised at the condition of the section from Hartford to the 67 ½ Street Bridge. I had not paddled that section this year but remember it as one of the easier sections of the river. With present conditions, I have bumped it up from Level one to a "Challenge Level" rating. As I had paddled Section 2 from 67 1/2 to County Line Road on Jun 17 and Aug 12, I wasn't expecting as much challenge as existed Saturday. It, too, must be considered "Challenge Level" at present. I am happy to report to those looking for an easy paddle, that Section 3 from County Line Road to Paw Paw River Campground went as expected. This section still carries my "Level One" rating.
As to Booty: We removed a 55 gallon plastic barrel and a tire and wheel from the river between Hartford and 67 1/2 Street. We gathered three bags of trash along our river route. We also picked up one bag of trash at the 67 1/2 Street access when we were retrieved the barrel, tire and wheel after the paddle. The paddle was an eye opener for me because last fall I had labeled this part of the river at the recreational level. It soon became evident that we still have a lot of work to do on our pathway maintenance. There are some fresh treefalls this year and when water levels are low, more obstructions can be expected to be exposed.
Again, we had great fun. This river, the mighty Paw Paw, is truly a treasure. I hope you will join us on the next run.
P.S. - On August 30th and September 1st, pathway maintenance work was completed on the Paw Paw River between Hartford and the Paw Paw River Campground. These sections are now recreational friendly again.