The Flush on the Ice

March 2nd, 2006
A trip report by Paul Van Benschoten

It was Thursday afternoon. Snowing, about 22 deg F. The roads were slick. Nary a sane person ventured out. This is a tale of two not so sane paddlers.

When most people arrive at the boat launch and see a mass of ice, they wouldn't bother to get out of their cars, much less unstrap their boats and head for the river. However, The Flush and Splash are not like most people. These two hardy kayakers looked out and saw fun. FUN I say! After all, between all the large chunks of ice there appeared to be open water. Surly it would be enough to navigate through.

Using their trusty boats as ice breakers (complete with sound effects) they managed to get away from shore and started heading south against the current of a rising tide. Here they noticed that whenever stopping to take a picture or comment on how "it doesn't get any better than this" they arrived back at the boat launch. Forward progress was gonna take some concentration.

While admiring the beauty of the wispy trails made by the paddles in the partially frozen water, they also mumbled and groaned about the oatmeal like slop that slowed them down. Many solid sheets of ice were hidden by that slop. After Splash's episode with the ice on Tuesday, he was hesitant to try to paddle over them, but sometimes that was the only way.

The Flush found himself atop one of these icebergs. Having already shown the high level of sound judgement that he posses, he decide to stretch his legs. He got out of his kayak and danced a little jig on the ice. Fortunately, Splash was right there with his camera to take pictures should The Flush fall through.

It was time to turn back having arrived safely at the old brick Chimney. Surly they would take advantage of the north bound current and rest their arms for a while. Obviously, if I am bothering to write about it, things didn't work out as they hoped. Aquilo(1) woke up and had a hissy fit.. Snow was blowing into the faces of our hearty paddlers, stinging and causing much distress.

Fortunately, all that ice kept the windswept waves down to a mere ripple. Oh, I forgot to mention that high tide had arrived and there was no current to ease the passage back. It seem that more oatmeal had formed and all those pieces of ice were joining up. Here, The Flush and Splash joined up to get through. One paddler would make forward progress as much as possible. The other would then go as fast as possible in the recently cleared path, and crunch the ice to one side of the first paddler, gaining a boat length or two towards home.

Needless to say, everyone got back to shore. A friend of The Flush stopped by. He had driven his truck to the park to watch the weather. Through his rolled down window, he made comments about how he used to think that The Flush was a right thinking kind of guy, and how that has all changed.

After loading all the equipment into the vehicles, Splash happily accepted an offer from The Flush for a drink or two. Here, I would like to point out the topology of the Malden hamlet. EVERYTHING is uphill from the boat launch. Incase you missed it earlier in this tale, I will repeat the fact that IT WAS SNOWING the whole time. While able to paddle their way through slush and ice, they could not drive up Fiero Road. Each driver made a couple of failed attempts and then tried River Road which was much easier. When Splash saw that The Flush couldn't make it up his own driveway, he decide that maybe he should just go home and so he did.

All in all, it was a grand day out.

Pictures are available in the Photo Gallery.

(1) Aquilo - the Roman god of the North wind