Officially Summer

We're looking at a week of highs in the upper 80s and humid, i.e. summer! Water levels look to be receding back to their long term averages and sandbars are coming out in force. Long story short, this coming weekend looks great!

Who wants to flip a coin?

6/19/19 Update:

We won the coin flip! Water levels 36 hours upstream have now dropped below where we need them to be and will continue to drop over the weekend.  That means all trips Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are officially on.  Water levels are still above normal and sandbars will be smaller than usual but, while you may have to share some of the larger ones, there will be places to camp.

The weather for this weekend is still less than ideal but could be much worse.  Temps are in the mid 70s with a helpful east wind.  There is a continuing chance of pop up storms pretty much all weekend.  An unstable weather pattern will be in place so impossible to know what's gonna happen until you look at the radar day of.  Either way, plan to get at least a little wet and ride out a storm or two for an hour.  Read up on safety tips if you're nervous.

                  -Ryan

6/18/19 Update:

I'm not promising Friday is doable, but the water has definitely been going in the right direction.  Saturday and Sunday are looking better and better water wise.  The weather forecast is another story with an unstable system and chances for isolated storms throughout the weekend.  That said, I'm told it'll be more dry than wet.  We'll make the call for Friday trips tomorrow night.  Rest of the weekend will be called one way or the other Thursday.

                  -Ryan

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More rain than expected over the weekend (up north, it was actually pretty great right around us) but with the already elevated river levels and lots of still empty farm fields, we're looking at another bump in water levels.

Sandbars are out of the question now through roughly Friday. I say 'roughly' because 5 days is still a lot of time for things to change. If the current statewide forecast continues to improve as it has been, we should be in good shape for the weekend, maybe even Friday. If it doesn't improve or (shoot me now) gets worse, we'll have to call off another weekend (our 4th of a 14 week season).

We make this call at ~15kcfs which probably means way more to me than almost all of you. To give you an idea of what 15kcfs looks like on the river, here's a shot from last week when we were just under it:

You'll notice there are actually a decent number of sandbars out there. It's a little deceiving because you're still seeing a fair amount of sand that is at or just below water line, i.e. not campable. Most of the rest are still only a few inches above water (which is why we've also gotta see stable or downward trending water levels). Regardless, there are places to camp at 15kcfs which is exactly what I mean when I write "if we send trips out, it's because there is a reasonable expectation that everyone will have a place to camp".

If we're cancelling trips, yes, there are still technically places to camp, but it's not gonna be ideal conditions. This is where we might push that 15kcfs limit if it's a slow weekend and every other indicator looks good - trips are still cancelled by default, but you'll get an option to make it happen anyway if you know what you're getting into. That's the situation I'm foreseeing this coming weekend.

Keep an eye on it with the typically twice daily forecast updates on the graph below. We're aiming for at or below 13.5 feet.

Nice while it lasted!

It's a breezy one today. Gusts to 30mph - the kind of wind you hunker down in and wait for the evening calm to make any progress. Luckily, it calms down Saturday and Sunday with light winds from the South (less helpful) turning East (very helpful). The biggest event of the weekend will be the solidifying chances of a storm rolling through around 4-6pm Saturday evening. Storms are expected to be isolated and variable. There's no risk of widespread severe weather but with the uncertainty of the front, it may build a bit bigger than expected so good bet to watch the weather radar. Either way, the front will push all of the wet/warm weather south into Illinois by Sunday morning and any strong storms should be over in an hour or two. Total rain accumulation is still around 1/4". [Reminder: We don't cancel for storms/rain but if you're going out on a day trip tomorrow (Saturday), check the weather radar in the morning - if it looks like something you don't want to spend the better part of the day in, send us a message by 7am and we'll issue full credit to come back another time] Now for the bad news. A sizeable rainstorm up north today and more rain in the forecast has pushed river predictions up into no sandbar territory starting around Monday afternoon and lasting through the week. Too soon to know if it'll come down for the weekend as it could go either way at the moment and a lot of these numbers appear to be based on the forecast more than what's actually fallen. Given our (lack of) luck so far this season, I'm not terribly optimistic about getting everyone out this coming weekend.

Did summer just show up to the party?

Lots of sun this past week and some hot and humid temps to go with it. This has been great for water levels as they continue to come down. We've got a small amount of rain in the forecast this week but it shouldn't really have any impact. Overall, levels are still above normal but there will be sandbars out throughout the week and into the weekend. Speaking of the weekend - we're looking at a pretty reasonable one for mid-June. Highs in the middle/upper 70s with good sleeping weather in the 50s. Chance of a passing rainstorm or two on Saturday but total rainfall accumulation is currently less than 1/4" i.e. mostly dry. Water temps are already above 70 so the swimming isn't bad either. Currently, the biggest downside is the swarm of mosquitoes. With an extremely wet spring, who would have thought? Luckily, there's a near constant breeze on the water so in the main channels during the day you won't notice them. Once sunset rolls around, be prepared for war. Or build a really good fire. Same goes for any ventures into the woods.

Water levels coming down quickly this week, good to go this weekend

Only a few weeks late, it looks like we'll be able to get rolling with the 2019 season. High water will be receding all week with sandbars coming out just in time for the weekend with some room to spare. Combined with a mostly clear forecast statewide, we're in great shape for June 7, 8, and 9.

Behind the Boats

Ever wonder what life is like running a canoe company? Some people do. I've gotten questions ranging from "How many times have you been to the Boundary Waters?" (one) to "What do you do in the Winter?" (it depends) and my personal favorite "You must love paddling" (paddling is #4 on the list).