Smaller sandbars for a few days

Saturday afternoon update: Storms held off today, that was nice! Water levels up north have peaked and should start receding down here on Monday evening into Tuesday. If the current forecast holds, we should have plenty of sandbars for this coming weekend.

Previous update:

Thursday’s rainfall was substantial and statewide. Water levels have come up quite a bit over the past 24 hours and will level off near the upper end of our overnight trip limit for sandbar availability. All overnight trips ending by Sunday shouldn’t have much trouble though sandbars will be quite a bit smaller than usual and the larger ones should expect to have multiple groups camped on them (but still better than camping in a state park campground).

Beyond Sunday into the first few days of the week, it’s likely we’ll rise above our normal limit for overnight trips. That said, while there will be substantially fewer campable sandbars, there are even fewer paddlers. For reference, we’ve got 7 total canoes going out overnight between Sunday and Thursday compared to 116 canoes between Friday and Sunday. All of this is to say that while water will be cresting ~6″ above our limits, there will be places to camp during the week. We should be back below those limits by Thursday.

If you’re a larger group going out this weekend, the following satellite images were taken at similar water levels earlier this season. Good, campable sandbars have been highlighted. Any of these should hold 10-20 people *based on current river forecasts*. Mazomanie to Arena | Arena to Spring Green

Saturday afternoon will be worth watching for weather. Looks like a line of storms could rise north out of Illinois for a few hours in the afternoon. If that happens, be prepared for wind – if you’ve got a cheaper tent with fiberglass poles and no guylines, keep your tent down until the initial gusts of wind pass through (you should be able to get the tent back up before it starts to rain). Use paddles as deadman tent anchors buried in the sand. Tie your tent to a canoe or at least keep an eye on your canoes in case one tries to launch itself into the river. Wind is the biggest cause of problems on the water but it’s easy to mitigate if you’re ready for it. Even just parking your boat under a tarp along a tree lined piece of sand will let you ride out just about anything.