On Saturday I had fun photographing the Vattenpaddlar Canoe and Kayak race on the Eau Claire Chain of Lakes in Barnes, Wisconsin.  The ten-mile race began in Robinson Lake and then followed the channel into Birch Lake and on out into Upper Eau Claire Lake.  From there, racers portaged around the outlet dam and followed the river on into Middle Eau Claire Lake.  After fighting even more wind and waves, they entered the channel between Middle Eau Claire Lake and Lower Eau Claire Lake, portaged around the lock and dam, and then paddled across Lower Eau Claire Lake to finish at Mooney Dam.  The five-mile race began in Middle Eau Claire Lake, but from there followed the same course through the channel and across Lower Eau Claire Lake.

(And now, as they say, a word from our sponsor…  The race was sponsored in part by my Realtor wife, Jean Hedren.  You can visit her website here, her Edina Realty page here, and her YouTube channel here.  And now back to our regularly scheduled blogging…)

Some racers, like the first few you’ll see here, took their paddling very seriously.  Others, less so.  Everyone seemed to be having fun, including the ones who were after fast times rather than just fun times.  But there seemed to be very little correlation between miles per hour and smiles per hour.   And apart from the headwind that made a few of those miles feel a bit longer, the weather was just about perfect.  It was a beautiful day to be out on the water.

For more photos, just scroll on down.  And please stay tuned for Part 2.