2020 Season Recap

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That's it for us in 2020! Certainly a weird year with Covid acting as a 3rd wrench (after weather and water) but everything generally went about as well as could be hoped for.

We struggled with water levels just about every other week as a large storm would come through the watershed just as the river was about back to normal. We made a few questionable calls on whether or not to cancel trips but in the end, we only lost three weeks to high water cancellations. Had there been even one more rainstorm in addition to our regular weekly dumping of rain, it's quite likely we'd have lost eight more weeks of our eighteen week season (that's how tight the water management was this summer). I think we may have gotten low enough to touch the median water level mark twice all year. Climate science has been predicting these bigger midwestern storms for more than a decade and we've seen it happening real time the past 3 years or so. I don't expect this struggle to get easier but I'm hopeful that the hydraulics of higher water will lead to higher sandbars and we'll get some kind of equilibrium. There's some anecdotal evidence of this already happening but also maybe some wishful thinking.

The water struggles came as a surprise to a lot of people in the area since weather wise, it was about as good a year as you could ask for. We only had two good storms come through over a weekend and not a ton of big headwinds or severe weather. The trouble came from up north where water uptake isn't as strong in the forests of northern Wisconsin and they just kept getting heavy, regular storms.

Covid, on the other hand, turned out to be a good thing for us overall. For all outdoor pursuits actually. Tons of interest from people where many of their usual options are shutdown and, similar to previous economic recessions, a lot of 'close to home' travel which is good for regional recreation destinations (i.e. us). After a very slow start - down 90%YOY at one point from what was already a washed out season, we ended up crushing our previous season best, mostly due to a relatively huge increase in weekday trips. I don't know how well our Covid policies played into this but given the doubling of our usual cancellation rate (and associated refund rate) plus not getting a single report of a positive test or contact tracing request, I think we made it through pretty responsibly.

Thanks to all of you that came out with us this season! Already looking forward to 2021! (And taking reservations now)

-Ryan

Last weekend of our season!

We're down to the last few days of our season. While there is still plenty of good paddling weather left in the fall, this is generally the last week it makes sense for us to be open as most people have moved on to fall activities (sandbar trips don't typically make that cold weather list).

While we had a quick rise in water levels early this week, all traces of that will be gone by Thursday as everything settles down nicely to ideal levels for this coming weekend. This is made even better given the near perfect fall weather forecast. Cripsy air in the upper 60s, sun, and great campfire weather. 0% chance of rain in the forecast and there's even going to be a slight tailwind. All in all, couldn't ask for a better way to finish out the season.

Heading for the finish line

Only two weekends left for our regular season.  In true, fall like fashion, we've been cold and damp all this week however water levels are hanging in there and should remain in a good place.  This lingering low level front will finally get pushed off for Friday bringing at least a little sun and touching 70 degrees.  Unfortunately, another low pressure system will drift through Friday night and Saturday leaving us in the 60s with mostly damp, cloudy conditions (but no storms).  Sunday looks like a perfect fall day though and headwinds shouldn't be an issue at all this weekend! Once we're through this bit, looks like we'll be in for a long stretch of nice weather, hopefully into our last weekend of the year.

Labor Day Weekend

Water levels are looking good! Weather is looking mostly good!

Sounds like we might get 3/10ths an inch of rain early Sunday morning and a little headwind to go with it later in the day but can't complain about sunny and 80s the rest of the weekend!

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).