Michigan Paddlers Rendezvous Thursday Sep 27, 2012

Platte River - Veterans Park to Deadstream Road 
This was the weekend for the Michigan Paddlers Rendezvous at Coolwater on the Pine Campground. I got to go for the first time this year. This is an annual gathering of paddlers from throughout Michigan, northern Indiana and Ohio that is held every year at the end of September. It is a great chance to meet fellow paddlers and gather for a good time at the end of a great summer of paddling.
The group decided to paddle the Platte River on Thursday for the people who showed up early. This was great because I have wanted to do the Platte River for a long time, but I had to miss the two previous trips here this year. And being on Thursday, there were only about 18 paddlers present.
 The weather was fantastic for a late September afternoon - lower 60's with clear skies and a light breeze at the beginning.
 Steve was the only person that I knew in the group, but everyone was friendly and helpful.
This is a nice stretch of river that offered a few challenges in the way of sweepers and logjams and a couple of 2'-4' drops that add a little excitement. 

 It was amazing how much the leaves have changed color from just 5 days ago when I was up here to do the Pine River. It looked like it was within a couple of days of being at the peak of color. The color tour scheduled for 2 weeks from now will probably be past the peak.
 Not sure why my camera doesn't show the color as good as my cell phone camera. These pictures don't do it justice.

Saw a couple of young eagles along the way.  Surely can't see such beauty sittting at home.

The takeout was a little difficult to find. Somehow I ended up at the front of the pack again, which is good except that I had no idea what the take-out looked like since I had never been on this river before. I had not driven the shuttle since I rode with Steve so I wasn't able to look it over. Someone mentioned at the beginning that we had to stay to the right as we neared Platte Lake. We managed to find it okay, but it was upstream on a tributary with a stiff headwind. It was a flat, marshy area that made it difficult to see where we were. As we rounded a sharp bend, suddenly there it was. The paddler I was with at the end left to scout another river, so I had to wait an hour before the rest got to the take-out. Spent some quality time exploring the area.

 A wonderful 9 mile paddle today with lots of new friends. Year to date: 215.2 miles including the trip last weekend on the Pine River that was the same as the Sept 8 paddle.

Kelli's Wedding Day

Bittersweet day as my youngest got married today. Second daughter to get married this year.
 A forecast on Wednesday called for 80% chance of showers on Friday. At least there wasn't a blizzard like Melissa's wedding. But the day turned out to be clear with temps in the low 70's. Prefect for an outdoor wedding.

Everything went well with the wedding and the catering. So now we are home with just the two of us, something we haven't experienced for over 25 years. Will be a lot different. In 2 years we went from 3 kids with all their friends always visiting to empty nesters. 
We did get to keep Jasper since her husband isn't a fan of dogs. That could be interesting since he has always been so depressed whenever she was gone. He would refuse to play, just wanting to watch out the window for her to come home. Now he will be watching for a long time.

Pine River - Dobson Bridge to Low Bridge Sep 8, 2012

A trip was scheduled down the Pine River at the last minute. I decided to go along since it has been a while since I had been out on the river, and I had never done this section before. These last minute trips are nice because there are fewer paddlers. Only seven people were there, although there were plenty of others canoes and kayakers to share the river.
Temperatures were in the mid 50's. There were a lot wet roads on the way up, but no rain. That changed as we were shuttling cars.
We began the trip with a steady rain falling that lasted for about 1/2 hour. After they ended, it became a typical Michigan autumn day: brief showers giving way to clear skies. Then it would cloud over and rain briefly again. And then the sky would clear again.
 This section of the Pine is a lot like the upper section - narrow and very winding. I used the Old Town kayak again, although I could have easily used my 13' Perception.
 There are a lot of small class 1 to class 2 rapids to keep it interesting most of the way. In between are a lot of narrow, shallow stretches.

The sky finally cleared after lunch, with partly cloudy skies the rest of the way. The wind did pick up some, but not enough to cause any problems.
The bottom varies from sand to gravel, with a few sections of clay toward the end that form interesting ledges in the water.

There were no deadfalls to block the river, although there are a lot of logs in the water.. With the popularity of the river the liveries keep it pretty clear.

This large dune that is very poplar with kayakers. It is much steeper and taller than it appears. Many people like to climb it, some even dragging their kayaks to the top to ride them down. Unfortunately, one young man lost his life doing that this summer.
Toward the end the river flattens out as it nears the Tippy Dam Pond.
It ended up being a nice day, and a great group of paddlers to spend time with. The trip took just under 4 hours, including a 1/2 hour stop for lunch.

Total length today: 14.6 miles. Year to date:191.6 miles.
 There is another trip down this stretch in two weeks. I may just do it again then, although that will with be a much larger group.
In three weeks there is a trip scheduled down the middle stretch during the Michigan Paddlers Rendezvous, from Walker Bridge to Dobson Bridge. This is the only stretch I have not done yet. Looking forward to it.

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