I'm checking everything off of my summer to-do list. I've been thinking it would be a good idea to paddle the entire St. Clair River, from Lake Huron to Lake. St Clair. I planned to wait for a nice day with a pushing wind, but then I saw that a group was doing a big chunk of the trip yesterday. It's fun to meet other paddlers, so I launched with them just north of the Blue Water Bridge and paddled with the group for a half hour or so.
The current is strong at the beginning of the river under the bridge to Canada. It was a calm day with warm water, but it reminded me a bit of paddling under the Golden Gate Bridge. The boat traffic kept it interesting; there were some decent size wakes from all directions. I made it a third of the way very quickly and I actually thought I might get to my end point too early. This was not at all the case; a headwind started up right on schedule in the afternoon and slowed my progress.
I saw a rose floating past and regretted not grabbing it, but had the chance to grab a second one. Maybe they were tossed overboard after an argument?
I didn't really see freighters, but there was plenty of other boat traffic. The only close encounter was with a group of six or seven go-fast boats that were spread out across the river, maybe racing. One got way closer than I'd want, but mostly boats kept a reasonable distance. The river has a seawall the entire length of it, so I believe boat traffic can use the entire width. And the current is stronger closer to the center so I didn't want to stay too close to the shore.
Some of the industrial areas in Canada and south of St. Clair (the town) were interesting to look at. Lot of houses, and an awful lot of outspoken lakefront republicans. I also saw a set of flags that I didn't recognize. They looked like the pro-police flags, but with green or red stripes instead of blue. Turns out they are pro-border patrol flags. I had no idea the border patrol had fans like that, but apparently they do.
It was slow going after Algonac, in the North Channel. I'll admit I was a little tired. There was quite a bit of boat traffic, or at least the river was narrower so it seemed that way. I did see a shore diver off of the seawall at Algonac, it made me wonder if there's anything interesting down there other than maybe a dropped phone.
I was happy to get to my endpoint, the flooded DNR boat launch right at Lake St. Clair. The parking lot has 1-2 feet of water, so I was able to paddle right in through a gap in the guardrail.
All in all, it was an interesting trip and a nice challenge. And of course dinner afterwards at Bobby Mac's was fantastic! As for the flower? I found a nice vase for it and it still looks okay after being waterlogged.
If you want to learn to paddle more safely on open water, it's important to learn risk management and rescue skills. Check out my Kayak Essentials course for available dates.