What's the Coldest Weather you Paddled?

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Deuce
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Re: What's the Coldest Weather you Paddled?

Post by Deuce » Sat Jan 10, 2015 10:56 am

Tim Eubanks wrote:Eric wins coldest contest hands down! Dr. Steve Yaney has the best overall story, IMHO. Not sure thread was started as a contest but that's what it turned into. Good reading.
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Re: What's the Coldest Weather you Paddled?

Post by JTarver » Sat Jan 10, 2015 11:23 pm

It was several years ago on the Big Piney. There was a large group of us that went down. The temp was 27 degrees when we put in. That was also one of the most interesting trips to and from the river I've had.
I rode with Shannon, we had a paddle fly out of the back of her truck, saw two wrecked semi trucks, passed an SUV or large truck on fir that exploded when we got beside it ( it was parked on the side of the road, and blew up as we passed by it). I don't mean it became much more engulfed in flames..it blew the hell up. :yahoo: Once on the river, we immediately had a couple swims, one person got very, very intoxicated and had to be put in a raft the rest of the trip...Monica tweeked her knee or ankle and had to be carried to the restroom at the take out, and then the raft with the innebriated individual had to be drug uphill by someone tying it off to the back of their truck with about 100 feet of rope..and them driving off to drag it uphill.
The best part....I got all of it on video. =) Well...all the good stuff anyway. I should really get the put onto DVD soon.
:grin:

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Re: What's the Coldest Weather you Paddled?

Post by Roger » Sun Jan 11, 2015 8:38 am

JTarver wrote:It was several years ago on the Big Piney. There was a large group of us that went down. The temp was 27 degrees when we put in. That was also one of the most interesting trips to and from the river I've had.
I rode with Shannon, we had a paddle fly out of the back of her truck, saw two wrecked semi trucks, passed an SUV or large truck on fir that exploded when we got beside it ( it was parked on the side of the road, and blew up as we passed by it). I don't mean it became much more engulfed in flames..it blew the hell up. :yahoo: Once on the river, we immediately had a couple swims, one person got very, very intoxicated and had to be put in a raft the rest of the trip...Monica tweeked her knee or ankle and had to be carried to the restroom at the take out, and then the raft with the innebriated individual had to be drug uphill by someone tying it off to the back of their truck with about 100 feet of rope..and them driving off to drag it uphill.
The best part....I got all of it on video. =) Well...all the good stuff anyway. I should really get the put onto DVD soon.
:grin:

Joe
Well, I wasn't on your ride up, but I was on that trip. I forgot all about that one. I remember helping carry Monica up the hill. Forgot all about that one. :oops: But I have been on colder trips.
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Re: What's the Coldest Weather you Paddled?

Post by Lupe » Sun Jan 11, 2015 10:36 am

Oh my goodness, yes, I remember this trip, Joe!!! I didn't see the exploding car but I remember seeing overturned trucks on the way (and I remember you showing us the video of the explosion...WILD!). Gosh that seems like so long ago.

You know I don't think I had done the Big Piney much since that trip and then this past year I was able to do a couple trips in MUCH warmer and fairer weather and I was like, wow - this is so much fun! But with temps in the 20's and with that howling wind, it was pretty brutal!

Note to self: when wind has blown semi-trucks over on the highway, it may not be a prime day to hit the Big Piney. :thumbup:
I've heard that into every life a little of it must fall,
but you'll never catch me complaining about too much of that southern rain.
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Re: What's the Coldest Weather you Paddled?

Post by Bullwinkle » Sun Jan 11, 2015 1:23 pm

For me personally, it was a canoe trip we took down the Upper Cadron Creek back in January of197 I think. It was a few inches of snow and 18 F. Wanted to photograph the frozen ice bluffs on that stretch of river. Got like two shots from my Olympus OM-1 35mm and the moisture from my nostrils froze the shutter button and I was really POed.. Back then we used 45 cal. army ammo boxes to protect our cameras from water.

Coldest and likely most famous cold weather float was the "10@10" float on Richland Creek. The temp was 10F and the level was 10" at the put in bridge. I was not part of the flotilla, but I believe Mike Beard, Stewart Noland, Robert Booth, Tommy Wingard and a few others were the core group on that float. Maybe could dig up a trip report on that from one of the older ACC newsletters for more info. I think it happened in the late 70's or early 80's. Stewart or Robert could likely shed more light on the trip.

A few cautions for paddling really cold water and cold days that some would not be normally thinking about

1. If you choose to go out on a really cold day, pick a stream that is well within your skill level. This talk of faces getting cold when they roll or swim is really asking for trouble. I was part of an ice rescue class on a lake some years ago up here in Iowa and my drysuit kept me warm for well over 30 minutes of submersion in 33 F water, but I had a neoprene scuba face mask on and neoprene diver's mittens on. Air temp was in the low 20's but minimal wind and cloudy.

2. If the river banks are iced over consider how you will get to shore if you do swim out of your boat. Paddling down a river that has a crust of ice on the edges and flowing water in the middle is going to make it really hard to gather your gear and paddles have been known to work their way under the ice covering and good luck retrieving that necessary piece of paddling gear once it disappears. Just accessing the bank is very difficult, much less finding a spot to get back in your boat. Try climbing on top of the ice crust some time for practice. It's usually the thinnest next to where the water is flowing under it and it will keep breaking and breaking until you wither get to the bank or ice that's thick enough to support your weight. Climbing that piece of ice is nearly impossible without a pair of "ice grip" handles designed especially for that task of puling yourself up over he ice layer. The last thing you want to have happen is to have the current carry you under the ice layer......need I say more??

3. One necessary piece of gear on a really cold water trip is a couple of railroad style flares like the truck drivers used to use when warning other drivers on the highway that they were broken down on the side of the road. They are waterproof and once struck and lit, will catch wood on fire that matches and tinder could only dream about lighting. A flare can light even wet wood with some practice. As with other safety procedures, you should practice this in a controlled environment prior to needing it to stay warm on a cold remote river location. They are getting harder to find in stores, but most farm and feed stores still sell them.

4. The "Hot Hands" ie diatomaceous earth packets that sort of self warm themselves once you open them up and expose hem to air work great for warming hands and extremities, but once they get wet, they are worthless. I used to carry some on the river with me, but once I opened one up, I returned it to a small ziplock bag to keep it dry.

There are many other tips on staying warm that have been covered many times over, but these comments don't get tossed around this far south of the Mason Dixon because the weather doesn't lend itself to frozen river beds very often. Just use common sense when out in the cold and enjoy the river during the winter months.

DM&FS
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Re: What's the Coldest Weather you Paddled?

Post by Chicago Bob » Sun Jan 11, 2015 10:21 pm

I looked back in my canoe log and found 11 trips in the single digits. But then I did live in Northern Illinois. But two of those trip were down here. One on the Middle Fork of the Illinois Bayou the other on the North fork of the white. Dress warm and don't tip. BOB

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Re: What's the Coldest Weather you Paddled?

Post by Henry Gresham » Mon Jan 12, 2015 3:48 pm

Well, after reading all these, not sure I can top any. But here's mine. Way back in the olden days of aluminum canoes, a guy at the office asked to go with me. He and his son had their own canoe, and I got a buddy to paddle with me. The dad said he thought the trip would be good for his "emotionally troubled" son. We decided to hit Cadron Creek, and man was it cold. There was rim ice along some of the shoreline. We all had dry clothes in plastic garbage bags, then inside old Army duffle bags. The water was high, and I knew we might have trouble. Sure enough, my buddy and I went swimming! I knew we were in real trouble when I realized the problem son would absolutely make no effort to help his dad come to our rescue. As his dad hollered at him, he just sat there in his canoe like he was watching a movie. My partner and I swam about 1/4 mile before we got out, with the canoe and one paddle. (I had a spare tied in.) We were too cold to even break out the dry clothes (also tied in). Fortunately, the father helped us get undressed and redressed, and built us a fire. I refused to ever speak to his son again. After about 1/2 hour of doing jumping jacks by the fire, we were again ready to paddle. Terrible trip! The next day I ordered my first wet suit! That was the closest I've ever come to dangerous hypothermia.

PS: why do some posts, including mine, show up twice sometimes??? Hypothermic computer, maybe???

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Re: What's the Coldest Weather you Paddled?

Post by Bullwinkle » Mon Jan 12, 2015 4:48 pm

In early spring of 1977, a co-worker and I rented a Blue Hole from Ozark Outdoor supply and took it up to the Cadron. The water level was adequate, but the water and air were cold. We had dry clothes and food and a thermos and sure enough a mile or two downstream ofthe Hwy 65 put in, we hit a hidden rock and flipped. Changed clothes got dry and warmed up and back in the boat. Got ll the way to S-turn rapid(about a mile or so from the 285 takeout and we mis-communicated and flipped again. My co worker guy as it turns out, doesn't know how to swim and he was wearing his steel toed work boots for warmth. He was clinging to a medium sized willow in the middle of the river like a Koala bear trying to figure out what to do. I was uncontrollably shivering on the right bank but I had the canoe retrieved and the gear. He decided his best chance for survival was to jump in the water and get to the left bank. Once he got there he signaled that he was walking to the takeout and I was to solo the Blue Hole to the takeout. That was a harbinger telling me I had a future as a solo canoe paddler, since I then only had one person to blame if I swam!!. I also did like 300 jumping jacks as the 2nd stage Hypothermia was setting in. Got the internal body heat built up sufficiently and the paddling exercise and dry run the last mile or so got me back to normal more or less. Since we were a one boat, two person flotilla, we were lucky, as there were only a couple of kayaks on the creek that day and they long passed us after the first swim. A "teachable moment" for sure. Within a month I had sold several thousand dollars worth of stereo equipment that I no longer had room for and went out and bought my own Blue Hole, tent, etc.

Another trip up there that spring I rented another OCA from OOS and got up to the put in and another co-worker that lived in Greenbrier was going to run my shuttle. The river was very high and well up into the trees and the deciding factor for me to not run the river that day was that it was too windy.......One of those right choice,wrong reason decisions that worked out for the best.

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Re: What's the Coldest Weather you Paddled?

Post by maggiepowell » Mon Jan 12, 2015 8:33 pm

Lower Richland in a raft with Ross Noland and Toby Von Renbow. Not sure the temp but it dropped the further downstream then started sleeting on us. Steve and Paul Shepard paddled tandem...I seem to remember some swims.

Mags

From Paul: Are you kidding? I broke my new paddle, swam with my drysuit unzipped, and Steve Shepherd got a bruise so ugly it looked like he cracked a kidney.

Yup, I remember. Steve said the temp was only in the low 30''s though. But I don't think we were expecting it to be so cold with sleet.

I have no doubt both of them have paddled in colder weather, I on the other hand, have not.

Was still fun. :)

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Re: What's the Coldest Weather you Paddled?

Post by Charles1967 » Fri Jan 16, 2015 8:46 am

Cory,

This will make you feel better. :grin: 50+ degrees here with water I'm guessing in high 40's. Testing equipment/drysuit. Hit every roll, came up screaming each time. :D Realized I need better 'base' layer gear if I plan to drop into water/air 10 degrees cooler. This is my first year [2014] paddling WW, and I had NO expectations at the end of the Summer of hitting water anywhere near the freezing temps. Very lucky to have the Ford 4 miles away to test gear. Decided to use the harshest part of winter to get in shape for the cool/cold'ish waters toward the end of winter. My circulation is good, but not what it was 20 years ago. :myday"

Warmest? Ooooo...that sweet pool at the Jones's Center. Am I right? All rivers should be heated! :clap:

CC
Siloam Springs resident a few miles from the Ford. ccoletexas@gmail.com - Charles

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Re: What's the Coldest Weather you Paddled?

Post by RomanLA » Fri Jan 16, 2015 3:08 pm

I don't remember exact temperatures, but there are a few days that stand out in my memory. The first one was a snowy weekend in January on the Buffalo. I had a gallon of water freeze outside my tent that weekend. The second was doing required swims at raft guide school on the Nantahala on a snowy day in March. The one that got me to buy a drysuit was a swim on the upper Mulberry on a very windy, snowy river cleanup day. I don't do too many cold days anymore though. My drysuit is going to dry rot from lack of use.

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Re: What's the Coldest Weather you Paddled?

Post by Fish » Sun Jan 18, 2015 8:26 pm

It's not just the air temp that matters in terms of cold... Coldest I remember it feeling was a run down Boxley Valley. Temp in the morning 34 deg. Temp at launch 27 and dropping fast. Temp when I got home about 20 and still dropping. Wind 20+ mph, blowing sleet and snow. Water freezing on my glasses, paddle, skirt. Absolutely stupid conditions. Only time I can remember wanting off the river real bad about 20 min after we put on. Luckily the level was high, our passage downstream was swift, and there was thermos of hot cocoa in the car.

Coldest I've ever been at the end of the day was a high water run in Little R. Canyon (AL), Suicide to the parking lot (12+ miles...). Very, very... very... long day. Temps hovering around freezing. Survived OK down Suicide, downtime in the big hole in Humpty, saw the Three Wise Men, rolled up. Knocked over/silly by a rock in Deep Throat and fought for a bit to roll up. Saw the Virgin Mary. Never even remotely warm after that. By the time we hit Chairlift section put in I was just staring at the water directly in front of my boat with grim resolve, focused on surviving until I got to the car. Hit Bottleneck at some god-almighty huge water level, fingers blue, teeth chattering, never slowed down. Big hole swallowed me and I surfaced maybe 10 seconds later 60 feet to the left of where I entered it, half-upright and still moving forward. Saw the father, son, and holy ghost. I honestly don't remember paddling to the takeout from there. Couldn't take off my gear at all. Vaguely remember being helped freeing the sprayskirt. Got in the car to thaw, but I wasn't right until I got a hot meal about 3 hours later... Woke up and ran it again the next day with sunshine, about half as much water, and about 15 more degrees... and had a damn great day!

- Fish

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