The paddling season has definitely arrived in the upper midwest. People are buying boats, signing up for lessons and trips, and looking for people to go paddling with. Here are just a few local events coming up in the next few weeks that may be of interest, especially to new or aspiring paddlers. I know I’ll be at all of them.
Thursday, May 20th, at 6:30pm there will be a “flare shoot” going on at South Shore Park on Lake Michigan in Milwaukee. Bring your old expired flares and practice shooting them off. This is a great opportunity to practice a skill you hope you will never need as well as a good way to dispose of all those old flares. If you have just purchased your first set of flares, I would still recommend that you consider coming down to shoot off a few anyways. I know flares are expensive, but it is so hard to find opportunities to practice shooting them that I think it is worth having to go out and buy new replacement flares.
Laacke & Joys has their annual Paddlefest event coming up this weekend, May 22& 23. This is a great opportunity for new paddlers looking to buy a boat. You can try out as many canoes and kayaks as you like during the day on Saturday and Sunday. I’m going to be there giving a talk on “Choosing Your First Kayak” on both days (10:30am on Saturday and 12:30pm on Sunday). There are other free seminars as well on choosing a canoe, choosing a paddle, and transporting your boat on your car.
I’m hosting two “Women Paddlers Networking Events” coming up in the next few weeks on Wednesday evenings. On Wednesday, May 26th we’ll be meeting at Sportsman’s Lounge on Wind Lake at 5pm for a short paddle and some socializing. I’m hoping that we’ll get a good turnout and that some of the local recreational paddlers will find new companions to join them on future outings. On Wednesday, June 2nd, we’ll meet at the Boat House Bar & Grill on Upper Nemahbin Lake in Oconomowoc also at 5pm. Cost is only $5 if you are bringing your own canoe or kayak. It will cost you $20 if you want to use one of my boats. I only have limited boats available, so you need to reserve in advance.
The summer is all too short around this part of the world. If you haven’t already done so, get that paddling equipment out of storage. Clean it up and make sure it’s in good repair, then start planning all the fun trips you are going to do. Sign up for some lessons or a symposium. You don’t have a minute to waste!