Join Waukesha resident Brien Lee and his blog, Sir Fido, as they explore the city and report on the interesting things they find.
Email Brien at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How long has it been? Three weeks since last it's rained? Been so dry lately the Fox is very low with sandbars showing in places.
So what does it do the one time of year the Friends of Vernon Marsh, and I, take the canoes and kayaks out on the Fox to explore the marsh?
I'm having a hard time deciding which presented more of a challenge though: the rain or my canoe partner. The rain actually looked pretty good in comparison. It wasn't cold. Didn't last forever, and we needed it.
I didn't bring my own boat and didn't even know if I'd have use of one of the DNR canoes until after I showed up Saturday morning. Well, I'd have use of one if someone had a key to unlock it from the trailer. While we were told to meet at 8:30 so we could be on the water by 9:00, it was closer to 10:00 when we left because it took that long to find a bolt cutter.
As I was alone, borrowing a canoe and not a member of the Friends I didn't have a choice in canoe-mates. Just happy to be going. For purely medical reasons, of course, she probably should have stayed home.
While she kept shifting and turning the other cheek to keep weight off her sciatic nerve I kept trying to keep us floating. She tried kneeling, but her feet became trapped under the front seat. It didn't help when it began raining, then pouring, because between the pain and the rain the only thing she didn't complain about is the length of the trip and not stopping for lunch, but she eventually got around to those too.
We switched spots so she'd be in back with more room to kneel, and that seemed to help . I didn't have as much control of balance from the front, but we managed to keep it upright, though thoroughly soaked from the rain you couldn't tell.
We did happen to pass by one unfortunate couple in our group who managed to tip over. You'd think with such shallow water it wouldn't be too much of an issue, and they were in shallow water, but they were standing in bottomless muck which wouldn't easily give up their legs. A simple little operation to tip the water out of the canoe became much more complicated and even dangerous. I could see someone stopping to help becoming stuck themselves. We paddled on.
I've made this trip once before, but along a different route. This time there were about 25 of us and we were handed bags to pick up little pieces of trash we'd find along the way. The river being so low, and the river being the Fox, we did find plentiful trash. Only problem was much of it was out of reach in the shallows, and I wasn't getting stuck in the muck just to rescue an aluminum can. Besides, once I evaluated my paddle mate I felt it much more appropriate to concentrate my energies on staying safe and returning home sometime that day.
Our little six mile calm-water trip on a beautiful morning actually became quite the ordeal. I still loved it. Met some real interesting people and got lots of fresh air and exercise. But between starting late, my paddle mate, the rain and her pain. . .