Chicago Whitewater Association is a 501(c) non-profit organization. Chicago, Illinois
The author of this is Mel Holmberg. I'm just posting it.
It always starts the same way. A fairly large group of brave CWA paddlers arrive at the Egg Yoke Café. As we feast on generous portions of eggs, waffles, bacon, and hash browns, we briefly discuss our holidays, families then get down to the business of embellishing stories of the best and worst paddling trips we have been on this year! But eventually it is go time and our breakfast crowd of a dozen or so dwindles down to 8 paddlers who elect to search for open water on this New Years day. So on this bright sunny day 8 hardy (or maybe foolhardy?) souls arrived at the Batavia dam and I do not see any other humans (or animals) out along either side of the river nor in the park adjoining the river. Not too surprised though with the 5 degree temperature and light wind bringing temps to well below zero (brr!) Then I notice the impressive ice shelves along both sides of the river ending in a river wide ice sheet a few hundred yards below the dam. Guess we will need to cancel right? But no, Rich has a long throw rope and Tom volunteers to drag anyone out who wants to slide across the ice shelf and into open water. So 3 of us (excluding yours truly) decide to enter the water. Although Mike wants to test his roll once he is in open water alone as Rich is on the other side of the river so we tell him he is a dumbshit for even thinking about this and so he doesn't roll. Gary is the third soul in the river, but he doesn’t stay long and when we pull him out he leaps out of his boat and strips off his gloves and shoves his bare hands into his arm pits as he tries to thaw out his frozen fingers to stave off the frost bite, but to no avail so he sprints for his car to save his fingers (wussy). All three brave souls leave the water and Mike and I are the last to leave after we have restuffed the worlds longest throw rope but alas we see Randy has finally joined us and wants to paddle, so we relent, even though the only exposed skin on my body (my face) is beginning to freeze. But all goes well with launching and retrieving our last brave/crazy paddler and I am sooo ready for the Lasagna feast at Rich and Julies place!