Sturgeon River June 23, 2012

 Considered one of the faster rivers in Michigan. Starts out narrow but with a strong current. Used the Future Beach kayak today because it's shorter and more stable on such a narrow river.
Clear day with temps in the low 80's. We didn't get started until after 12:30 as there were some festivities downstream we had to wait for.
Not too much challenge on the upper section. Lots of brush along banks that keeps landing spots to a minimum.

Getting more into the trees along the banks instead of just brush.

Lots of places where the canopies of the trees spread across the river.

 Lunch break at a city park in Wolverine, MI.
Current picks up and river gets wider downstream of Wolverine.
 Several places with small drops that provide a little fun.

 River gets much more winding as we go. Lots of deadfalls and logs in the river cause some problems. 2 water rescues as kayaks get caught in the logs. Everyone is okay though.
 River can be shallow in spots. There are some places with long stretches of rapids and lots of quick turns that keep you on your toes.
 Current gets so strong and turns come so fast it got difficult to take pictures. By the time the camera got out, you had to set up for another turn and another deadfall to go around.

 Finally reach the end at 6:25. With the waits for the rescues and several breaks, it was a long 6 hours on the river. Very tiring, but well worth the effort. My new favorite river.

Paddled 16.5 miles. Year to date:81 miles.

Gun Lake Safety Training June 18, 2012

A group of us met at Yankee Springs State Park on Gun Lake Monday night to practice wet exits and wet entries in preparation for our July trip to the Les Cheneaux Islands in Lake Huron. Good conditions to practice in with temps in the low 90's and wind gusts to 25 mph. The lake was much rougher than it looks in the pictures- the put in was in a sheltered cove. The warm air and water kept us cool while the waves gave more of a big lake feel to the water.
Much different conditions than most of are used to being river paddlers. It's good to mix it up a little.

Muskegon River June 16, 2012

Paddled down the Muskegon River from Croton Dam to Newaygo. About a 15 mile paddle that took about 3 1/2 hours.
 Rather large group today. The Muskegon River is a large river- plenty of room for everyone. And it's needed since it is essentially a party river because of its proximity to the largest cities in West Michigan. There are always lots of tubers, canoeists, and kayakers all dodging fishermen, both wading and in boats. Not the river you want to paddle on a warm weekend if you are looking for a peaceful float. If, however, you want to have fun with a large group of friends, bring your super-soakers and lots of refreshments.

Started out as a sunny day with temps reaching the low 90's.  Clouds built up as the day went on.
 As usual, we stayed near the front of the pack to avoid congestion, and to have at least a little peace and quiet.

The river was not nearly as crowded as last year when we were literally bouncing off tubes much of the way down. But this year we were able to steer clear of them for the most part. The 6 miles from Croton Dam to the Thornapple access there are mostly kayaks and fishermen. Not many tubers can stay sober enough to float the 14 miles or so to Newaygo.
That changes drastically at Thornappple, where busloads of tubes and canoes get in the water.

The M-37 bridge over the river at Newago, where the tubers get out.
We went about a mile further to the DNR takeout this time, to avoid the crowds getting off the river. Saw a pair of swans swimming in the river. Missed getting a shot of them taking off. Would have made a great picture.

Started to thunder and lightning shortly after getting off the river. Timed that just right. Didn't get much rain, though. We need it badly; it is still extremely dry out.

A 14.3 mile paddle. Year to date 64.5 miles.

Google Map

Kalamazoo River June 2, 2012

I forgot my camera today, but I did take a few pictures with my cell phone. Wasn't sure how they would turn out, but they look good enough to post.
 My first trip down the Kalamazoo River, and my first dawn paddle. Something I always wanted to do- be on the water at first light. But getting up at 5:15 every morning for work makes it hard to get up at 3:30 on a weekend and drive an hour to the river. But it was well worth the effort.

 Six of us met before 5:00 am at the Allegan Dam, spotted cars at the Pipeline Road takeout, and were on the river by 5:45. It was cloudy and cool, mid 50's, so there was no sunrise to watch, but the cool air did keep the bugs away.

It was a "silent paddle": no talking, and paddling as quietly as possible. Probably spent as much or more time floating as paddling, just taking in the sights and sounds of a wakening river world.
 Slight mist lifting off the water, very peaceful. Would love to do this every weekend.

Saw several deer, numerous herons, and a couple of geese who were not too happy to have us intruding in their morning.

After about a 2 hour and 15 minute trip to Pipeline Road, we went back to Allegan for breakfast while we waited for the late sleepers to arrive.

After breakfast we were joined by 10 more paddlers, and set out again at 11:15 for a 2 1/2 hour paddle to the New Richmond Bridge, and then another 2 hours to Wiley Road.

 The sky had cleared up, but the wind had picked up, too, and the black flies came out for lunch.

 After being on the water for almost 4 hours total, we saw the first house along the river. From the dam at Allegan, the Kalamazoo River runs mostly through the Allegan State Game Area, so the banks of the river are pretty much the same as they have been for hundreds of years.

By about 1/2 way to New Richmond, the wind had increased quite a bit.

By the time we got to New Richmond Bridge, it was decided to stop the trip there and not continue to Wiley Road as the wind was making it more work than necessary, especially since the river became more open beyond New Richmond.

It was a great day; beats working no matter what the conditions. Will have to do this river again, especially the dawn start.

A total of 15.7 miles today. 50.2 miles year to date.