Paddling season is hitting its prime, as sunny days, normal water levels and the scenic St. Croix combine to offer adventure and relaxation to anyone with a few hours to spare.
A recent article in the Pioneer Press featured interviews with canoeists and canoe rental businesses on the river below the Dalles. Reporter Bob Shaw reports that flood waters have receded and people are having a great time:
After his first canoe ride, Harvey Klinger was laughing like he had just climbed out of a dunk tank.
“It was tippy!” said Klinger, wet and grinning with his friends on the banks of the St. Croix River. “I was surprised how relaxing it was.” Klinger, who lives in New Richmond, Wis., was one of hundreds on the St. Croix on a recent weekend, paddling canoes and kayaks for what many said was their favorite Minnesota summertime experience.
For a fee, businesses rent boats to travel south from Taylors Falls and provide a shuttle service to get paddlers back to their cars.
One business is Eric’s Canoe and Kayak Rental of St. Croix Falls, Wis.
Owner Eric Flinn, a guy with the booming voice of a camp director, will send as many as 60 canoes down the river in a day.
“That is only if it’s sunny. If it is cloudy, it knocks business right in half,” he said.
Overcast days often are better for paddling, though, if they are windless. “Then the water is just like glass,” he said.
Standing in his 10-foot-by-10-foot log-cabin service hut, he said business was hurt by the recent flooding.
Worse, there was persistent late-season flooding in the Twin Cities — which made potential customers think that the flooding was everywhere.
But the St. Croix recovered more quickly than the Mississippi River, and the canoe-rental businesses are now in full paddle. “The river is perfect now,” Flinn said.
The rest of the article considers the question of whether a float is good exercise or a good way to relax. Some renters the reporter spoke with chose to paddle hard, while others let the river do the work.
A list of outfitters is available on the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway website.