Only 3 PSC members were listed on the sign-up sheet for this rescheduled Ralph Frese Memorial Trip May 5 on the North Branch of the Chicago River - the unofficial Ralph Frese Water Trail. According to our great friends at the Forest Preserves of Cook County who sponsored the event (thanks for the goodies and drinks at the takeout) there were 26 boats and 30 paddlers who signed the FPCC waiver.
As awful as the original date's weather was…..cold, windy and very wet - the day on this trip could not have been more beautiful. With the water slightly higher, the portage at the golf course dam was much easier - thanks also to the FPCC's effort to smooth out the portage with wood chips, and….as one of the safety boaters, hit by a golf ball on the chin that required several stitches wrote:
"The golf ball incident was an accident waiting to happen: having paddled that reach of the river a number of times, we would joke about the day when an especially inept golfer would take out a paddler. Looks like the joke's on me….. Going forward, we can use this incident to guide how we approach such a trip, some of the ideas you've already voiced in your e-mail. The helmets must be a last resort, I think." I suggested that at future trips, we provide hockey helmets to the safety crew, or maybe the Golf Course could have a rule to wait until the paddlers have cleared the area.