For Gowen man, nothing like a winter kayak trip down the Flat River


By Bruce Bentley • Last Updated 10:44 am on Thursday, January 12, 2012

Gowen resident Ben Rees embarks on his Flat River kayak trip on Wednesday, an unseasonally warm January day.

GREENVILLE — While there may be snow on the ground today, or at least on its way, there wasn’t any on Wednesday.

In fact, temperatures hovered around the 50 degree mark, very close to the record of 52 set in 1975. Typically, mid-January average high temperatures are around 30 degrees.

Gowen resident Ben Rees was one of many who took advantage of the unseasonably warm temps by getting outdoors. Rees did so with a kayak ride down the Flat River.

Kayaking year-round is nothing new for Rees. Kayaking in January in near record temperatures is.

“Ask my wife, I am constantly kayaking,” he said. “I kayak on any river I can. This time of the year, just don’t tip over.”

Rees began his trip off of Franklin Street at Tower Riverside Park and planned to kayak to Bricker Road in Belding near the Eagles club.

“It will take a couple of hours depending on the current,” Rees said before setting off.

An avid kayaker, Rees has floated the Flat River (many times) including from Lakewood to the Grand River, the Rogue River and Chippewa River among others.

“I enjoy it because of the peace and quiet,” he said.

Rees is a local business owner and said, “No one can see me and I don’t have any problems to deal with when I’m out here.”

The snow on the ground today is actually what Rees was hoping for at this time of the year.

“It’s like being in the middle of a black and white picture,” he said of kayaking in the snow. “It’s just different than all the green in the summer.”

More than likely, for Rees, his next kayak trip this winter will be in the middle of that black and white picture he so fondly talked on a warm and sunny January afternoon.

Jan. 11 weather history

Sunrise: 8:12 a.m.

Sunset: 5:25 p.m.

Avg. high: 30

Avg. low: 13

Mean: 22

Record high: 52 (1975)

Record low: -20 (1979)

Actual high: 51

Actual low: 29

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