For the first time in 2015, we’ve launched our kayaks out onto Devil’s Lake. Well, a small portion of Devil’s Lake. You can put in on the north shore boat launch and paddle out into the lake about 50 yards, before you have to turn west and follow the ice line over to the boulders along Tumbled Rocks trail at the foot of the west bluff. There was a small lead along the shore, but it didn’t take us far either. It took us all of about 20 minutes to make the lap. But hey, we got out!
What’s interesting to me is that for the last couple of weeks I’ve been getting emails from folks looking to rent kayaks or canoes and get out on the water! Up until this week, the lake was completely frozen. Even now, it took us more time to pack and transport our kayak gear than it took to actually paddle the small slice of open water once we arrived!
So here’s the deal. Over the next few days, the lake will continue to open up. There will be enough open water very soon for even the non-crazy kayakers to get excited. That said, the water is going to be very cold and the risk of cold-shock, drowning and hypothermia are very real threats. (Especially now through late May.) Cold water paddlers depend on the proper gear and drysuits to survive immersion at this time of year. Trust me, as a former EMT and a sea-kayak coach, you don’t want to take a surprise swim right now. If you go into the water, you may not come out. Be careful out there!
The North Shore Chateau’s goal is to be open around May 1st. Boat rentals at the park will probably not start much before Memorial weekend.
Summer kayak tours will be put on again this summer by the park naturalist, Sue Johansen. For more info and tour reservations call the nature center. (608) 356-8301.