So painfully close

While the storms were a bit of a wild ride locally, it looks to have spared a lot of central and northern Wisconsin. That said, with the new river predictions out in the last hour, we're just on the wrong side of where we need to be for at least Friday night trips. Saturday isn't looking great but it does look possible that we'll let people attempt Saturday night trips if they really want to (and the further we get into the week, the better the outlook), but for now, Friday night is officially out. Day trips will be in good shape. There are a number of places to pull off the river but with the high water levels, you're also able to get into a lot of neat backwaters that are normally inaccessible - this is especially great for wildlife sightings. Our neatly defined threshold of 15,000cfs is a little fuzzy in the real world. While there are technically a small handful of sandbars/islands out on the river right now, there just aren't enough to expect everyone to find a place to camp. 6" makes a huge difference at this level. If we didn't also have so much local rain that doesn't show up in the gauges and river predictions right away, we'd probably give you the option to try. As it is, we just don't know whether or not you'll wake up underwater at 4am Saturday morning. How will we know for Saturday night? We're currently expecting the dam 36 hours upstream to drop between 1-2,000cfs mid to late Thursday morning. If this happens, we'll check the new output against what's happening directly above us at Prairie Du Sac and if it looks like we'll stay level or drop close to that 15k number, we'll give the option. This is likely when you'll see my next update. In an ideal world, we'd see the graph below putting is in the white boundary. As it is, we can stand to be a little bit into the yellow, but we definitely want to be trending down. High water on the Wisconsin River

River conditions for 4th of July weekend

We're so close! The latest river update avoids a spike in water levels, BUT, it's right on the line for where we'd cancel overnight trips. It looks like we'll have a handful of sandbars regardless but at this level, a few inches makes a big difference. Likely no decisions to be made until tomorrow morning after we have rainfall totals but it's certainly looking better than what I thought would happen. Assuming things stay as they are, we'd offer full refunds and recommend canceling but allow people to go overnight with the knowledge that they can't be picky about campsites.

We’ve got a new website!

[caption id="attachment_900" align="alignright" width="400"]Working late on the Wisconsin Canoe Company website Typical working conditions, except this was a technical issue that I had to deal with at 2am in a Flint, MI hotel. Ugh.[/caption] Over the course of the past few months I've been going back and forth over whether or not we needed to put together a new website.  The old one had been working pretty well for the past 6 years and while I couldn't always get it to do exactly what I wanted, it was functional.  I've had many debates over many beers about website form vs function with my friend Nick Wilkes of Devil's Lake Climbing Guides fame.  While I can barely build websites for my own projects, Nick occasionally gets paid to do this kind of stuff which ultimately drove me to his point of view.  Thus, 2.0 was born. I'm amazed at how fast technology advances on all fronts.  I mean, it's easy to see in the grand scheme of things - self driving cars, drones, video games, streaming tv, smart phones, etc - but in the case of rebuilding this website, I've come back to a field I largely ignored since 2010.  What took me three or four weeks for a mediocre outcome back then doesn't even compare to now.  This site, built from the ground up with freely available tools on the internet, fully responsive to all screen sizes, and pretty decent looking (if I'm allowed to say so) was done single handed in under a week for a grand total of $3.50 (paid for icons).  Crazy.  Huge shout out to all of those developers and programmers that poor countless hours into open source software. Given this is all brand new and put together by a complete amateur, please forgive the occasional screw ups.  Better yet, please point them out by emailing us! I promise it'll be appreciated.  Thanks guys! Hope to see you out on the river this summer! Ryan

Colorado River Canoe Trip

Another off-season activity - we'll often run semi-private (friend of a friend kind of thing) trips to various parts of the world.  In this case, we did 100 miles on the Colorado River below Moab, Utah to the confluence of the Green/Colorado Rivers in 2014.  This was 100 miles straight into the heart of nowhere (well, technically it was the middle of Canyonlands National Park).  No roads, cell service, or otherwise for miles. P1050341 P1050331 P1050294 P1050282 P1050243 P1050237 P1050224 P1050184 P1050172 P1050169 Canoeing the Colorado River with Wisconsin Canoe Company      

Building a canoe

I am often asked "What do you do in the winter?" and while the typical answer is "a lot of napping" it really depends.  After the 2012 season, I took up amateur boat building with a great group of retired guys that had some boat building experience and a great workshop (it was a barn). [embed][/embed]

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).