The east side of the Boardman River is particularly popular in April and May when spring runoff creates Class II rapids, drawing the attention of kayakers and other whitewater enthusiasts. However, in winter, a small group of paddlers meet every Saturday, even in the coldest conditions.
It's 8am on February 5th, most people in northern Michigan are cuddled in bed at this hour. But for this group of paddlers, it's time to suit up and get after the day.
"Paddling will always be so much bigger than the waves and the water. I’ve found my community on the river. It’s an opportunity to be present, fully immersed in nature, and to work out the parts of life that can only be solved on the water."
-- Paige Michelle
We've got big goals & small rivers in Michigan, so we don’t have the option to take winter off. But, I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s beautiful, and sometimes I can’t believe I’m one of the only people using the white water in February.
I used to think that paddling in winter was just a training tool for spring high water, but I’ve grown to feel differently. Only in winter do the wild animals present themselves without hesitation and plants form ice bells that wade in the river. Kayaking, especially in winter, is a gift.