For the 14th year in a row, we defied the weather, and most people's logic, and paddled a stretch of the Kalamazoo River yesterday. The temperature was in the high twenties and the weather was, well, you can see for yourself, all 14" worth. But, almost no wind, really the bane of this trip when we get it. For most of the time we were sheltered by the trees, though on the one open stretch we did get a little. Naturally it was on nose, but not enough to cause much discomfort. It was a small group this year, only two boats and four persons. The high for this trip is 13 boats and over 20 people. Those who couldn't make it this year missed a wonderful day on the river. For the first time in memory there weren't any fishermen on the river so we had the entire stretch (Wild and Scenic-no houses) to ourselves and the critters. We frequently see two or three small fishing boats out harassing the Steelhead population. The critter count was fairly typical, a Piliated Woodpecker, a Red Bellied Woodpecker, several Hairy Woodpeckers, two Bald Eagles, assorted Titmice, Chickadees, Juncos, the inevitable Blue Jays and other LBJs (little brown jobbers, too far away to identify) a Great Blue Heron that apparently likes frozen seafood, and one muskrat. The best part comes at the end when the hospitality hour convenes for hot chocolate and wet burritos at a local restaurant. Or, is the best part watching folks stare at you on the road or in the parking lot with snow covered canoes on the roof? In any event it's enough fun to make one ask "what's a football game?". All in all, a wonderful way to start the new year off. Hope you all have a Happy New Year and at least half as much fun as we did yesterday.