Video: The ice on Devil’s Lake began to recede just a few days ago, put it wasn’t until Monday before it was open enough for an early season paddle! Paddling this time of year can be a lot of fun. There is nothing more unique than the wind chime sounds that the ice makes while rolling on slightly moving water. This time though, the water was dead calm, so we had to settle for the scraping sounds as we used our kayaks as ice breakers!
A note on safety: As you can imagine, the water temperature this time of year is barely above freezing and no matter how warm the air is, you are taking a considerable risk to be out on the water this time of year. If you fall in, cold shock can kill you almost instantly by causing you to drown.. Hypothermia can get you soon afterward. This is why you should not go out on the water right now without the right attire.
In the photo below, park naturalist, Susan Johansen is showing off the proper gear. First she is wearing a drysuit with warm wicking clothing underneath. The drysuit has gaskets around the neck and hands as well as watertight booties to keep the water away from your body. Gloves and a hat are a good idea as well depending on the situation. (In the video above, I am walking and standing in the water because I am wearing dry gear as well). Sue is also wearing a life jacket, which will keep you afloat even if you are not able to swim. She also has a whistle to signal for help if she were to get into trouble out there. Lastly, she is not paddling alone.
Remember, you can join us at Devil’s Lake State Park for a kayak tour or a learn to kayak class through the Nature Center, check the dates on the events calendar and reserve ahead… Of course, by then the water will be much warmer!!