Paddling in Cold Weather
Posted by: old_user on Nov-04-06 8:33 PM (EST)
I like paddling the St Croix in cold weather. I've found I can go down river several miles and then find it frozen over for a half mile. So it really helps to carry a set of 12inch adapted ski poles. I can then sit in my solo Rob Roy canoe and move faster over the ice than I can paddle. Without picks, it is hard to get up on the ice, or safely get off the ice if the water has dropped and the ice slopes up to the shore. Going off ice into water is best done sideways, as a canoe supported only on both ends is obviously tipsy.
Also, I no longer mess with tents. A sleeping bag or two in the Rob Roy on a thermo pad is always warm, even if I have to break ice to move in the morning (sometimes I sleep on shore on car top pads under the canoe). I have a canopy fastened to the canoe that breathes well, although if it is not raining or snowing, I prefer the open air. Even in snow, the canoe is is dry and warm. If there is a enough snow, I use the canoe as a sled behind my skiis and winter camp with it. (I guess that is still canoeing?)
The Mississippi in Minneapolis gives open-water canoeing at some point of every month of the year. Traffic in January is never a problem.
Another tip: a cheap foam mattress pad in the bottom of the kayak or solo canoe really helps keep legs and feet warm.
Another tip: Using a double paddle and sitting down on the bottom of the canoe (or kayak, of course) is much more stable and thus safer.
(pictures at my website)
Touring Kayak Paddles