Manistee River M-72 to M-66 
July 14 - 16, 2017

I took a break from posting for a while, but I have still been doing a lot of paddling. I was paddling more often but finding less time to record it, so I took some time off from posting. I finished 2014 with 432 miles total, the most miles I had paddled in a year until then. In 2015 my back problems became worse, so I only paddled 340 miles all year. In 2016 I was feeling better, and finished the year just short of 450 miles. I set a goal of 500 miles for this year, and am rapidly closing in on that goal.

 I had been wanting to do another overnight trip on a river for some time, and decided on a three day trip on the Manistee River in northern Michigan for the middle of July. I invited my friends Sarah, Ron and Cyndi to join me, and thought we could use this trip to help us prepare for our upcoming trip to Isle Royale.

Preparing to set out
  We started out Friday evening to try to get a few miles in before dark. 

 The Manistee River is one of the most scenic rivers in Michigan. It is a fairly wide river, but with a good strong current. It is largely undeveloped for much of it's 232 mile length.

 This is one of the few sections of the river I have not kayaked yet, one of the reasons I chose this stretch of river.
 Ron and Cyndi seemed to be in more of a hurry than they usually are, paddling ahead of us most of the time with their faster sea kayaks.
 Sarah seemed content to paddle at a more leisurely pace, enjoying in the sights and sounds of the river and just taking it all in. This was her first overnight kayak trip, and she was in no hurry. I was just happy to be on the river away from the stress of life for a while, and so I was glad to keep her company.
 Other than a few fishermen, we had the river to ourselves Friday night and much of the morning on Saturday.
 Ron found a great campsite Friday night on a low bank on the river. The silence of the deep woods was astounding.

 Saturday morning Ron and Cyndi again took off down the river. Sarah and I floated more than paddled, enjoying the day again. But we still managed to cover almost 28 miles down the river with the strong current.

 River traffic did pick up Saturday afternoon as the day warmed. Tubers, swimmers, other kayakers, and a few drunk canoeists took away from the serenity of the river. But it all added to the experience.

 This has been a great stretch of river, and it makes me want to see what the rest of the river has to offer.

Saturday night camp
 Ron took his Dutch oven as usual, and treated us to pizza on Saturday night. He always makes the best meals, making these trips all the better.
Beaver dam at our campsite
 Sunday morning we packed up camp and paddled the last few miles to the takeout near M-66. A great weekend filled with good times, good friends, and memories that will last a lifetime.
I am looking forward to our trip in a couple of weeks.

Totals miles: 38.5

Year to date miles: 363.9

Manistique River July 23, 2014

2014 Upper Peninsula Trip Day 3 

The wind continued on Wednesday forcing us to look inland again for another river to paddle. We had crossed the Manistique River passing through Germfask on the way up to Munising, and it looked like a promising river to paddle. Steve had recommended it also, so even though it was close to an hour away, we decided to give it a try.
Sally decided to sit out this trip due to some back pain, so she dropped us off at Northland Outfitters Campground. She drove to the take-out for some quiet time reading and hiking, and Carla and I set out alone on the river.
 Once we were out of the town of Germfask, we entered the Seney Wildlife Refuge and paddled through it for the rest of the trip. The few houses there were in town and sparse traffic noise gave way to a mix of open banks and thick forests.

The Manistique is a lot wider than the Indian River was, so we didn't have any downed trees to worry about. We encountered a few other kayakers and canoeists, so the solitude wasn't quite the same as Tuesday. A group of scouts planning a multi day paddle to Lake Michigan left the launch as we were unloading our gear. But for most of the way we were alone with just the sounds of the river and the wilderness to relax us.

A beautiful warm sunny day made the experience all the more enjoyable. Even though the river wasn't quite as inspiring as the Indian River, it was a most enjoyable and relaxing day.

Some trees appeared to be changing colors already.

A worthwhile trip on a beautiful river with a good friend. Days like this are why kayaking provides some of the most relaxing and memorable moments of our lives.

Miles paddled: 12.2 Year-to-date: 170.5.

View Manistique River in a larger map