There are a few of us diehards who refuse to put our kayaks away for the winter. Yeah we have been called crazy but it r3ealoy isn’t that bad. The water is crystal clear and you pretty much have the river to yourself. I cannot stress enough that you have to be prepared for anything that might happen.
I did this particular float about 6 or 7 years ago. I broke rule number one, I went by myself. It wasn’t very smart on my part and I am not very proud of myself. I was on the Bourbeuse River in Missouri. The river had flooded and the temps plummeted below freezing and ice had formed. As the water level dropped the ice had remained creating some beautiful sights.
The water was crystal clear and the beaver were active along with a few otters. In 3 miles I didn’t see another person.
Proper preparation can be the difference between life and death.
Rule number one: DON’T be a Wayne. Never go alone. ALWAYS take a buddy along with you. If you end up in the water it doesn’t take hypothermia long to set in and you need to get dry and warm ASAP! As you are getting out of your wet clothes they can be starting a fire to help the warming process.
Rule number two: Pack dry clothes in a good dry bag along with an emergency blanket. Don’t forget socks, underwear, gloves and boots.
Rule number three: Fill a dry bag with fire starting materials i.e. matches, lighter, good tinder. Make sure you are well versed in starting fire under any conditions.
Rule number four: Pack a first aid kit and signaling device.
Rule number five: ALWAYS tell someone where you are going and what time you plan on returning. If you change your plans make sure they know.
Kayaking can be very rewarding in the winter months as long as you observe the rules, use caution ,and DO NOT take chances. Dress warm. You can always take off layers and place them in an extra dry bag. Winter is one of my favorite times of the year to kayak.