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Autumn kayaking at Stoney Creek MetroPark

- Stoney Creek MetroPark -
- Stoney Creek MetroPark -
-Stoney Creek MetroPark -

Paddling after Labor Day is one of my favorite times of year to be on the water. Today at Stoney Creek MetroPark, as the solo boater on the water, I found solace. The water was warm and there were no powerboaters or sailboats to contend with. High school and college students had returned to their studies and all was quiet on the lake. The MetroParks of greater metropolitan Detroit, Michigan are a great kayaking resource.

There was one slight catch today, relatively steady strong wind with plenty of gusts. Surface winds tend to blow counterclockwise into a low pressure area.

The wind chill temperature is calculated using the following formula:

Windchill (ºF) = 35.74 + 0.6215T - 35.75(V^0.16) + 0.4275T(V^0.16)

Where: T = Air Temperature (F)
V = Wind Speed (mph)
^ = raised to a power (exponential)

Pontiac municipal airport weather on the morning of September 8th, 2010 was overcast, about 60 °F with a fairly constant wind at 15 mph gusting upward of 25mph. This made the windchill for a dry human feel like 56 °F.

Kayaking in windy conditions often involves splashing and plenty of water spray. Wet spray makes people feel colder from the evaporative cooling effect . A fine water mist on the skin modifies the wind chill by an extra 5 to 10 degrees colder. Perhaps one day in the near future an index can be developed for paddlesport enthusiasts. Even when the water temperatures are "warm", hypothermia can set in for paddlers that don't take the proper clothing precautions.

A simple paddling jacket with sealable wrist and neck enclosures combined with a good solid base layer can work quite well on a windy fall day. Pogies are also a wonderful option for keeping hands warm and protected from a knuckle chilling wet windy spray.

Pack a few different clothing options in a dry bag when paddling in the early autumn months.  Nobody enjoys paddling when they are cold and wet. Clothing does make the difference.

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