Pere Marquette River Nov 10, 2012

A typical gray November day in Michigan. This is my first paddle down the Pere Marquette River this year. The skies grew darker as I got closer to Baldwin, but except for a few stray sprinkles, the rain held off. Temperatures started out in the upper 40's, warming up to the mid 50's by afternoon, about 15 degrees above normal. The water was very clear and cold.

The upper stretch of the Pere Marquette is similar to the nearby Pine River - fairly narrow with a some quick turns. It is also similar in that it can be very shallow and rocky, with sharp drop offs. The shallow water tends to force you to stay to the deeper water in the outside of turns, with the strong current trying to force you into sweepers and deadfalls. It was just such a spot that made me take my fist swim in over a year.  I got over too far to the outside trying to avoid a shallow spot, and got turned sideways against the butt end of a log. The cold water was a quick cool down since I had overdressed as usual. Luckily my dry bag worked as designed, considering the kayak was full of water. After a quick change of clothes we were back on the water, although with a little more caution and more attention to where the current was taking us.
There were lots of fishermen to dodge on the river today. Somewhat surprising since the salmon run is over. There was plenty of evidence of that with the corpses of dead fish lining the banks in many spots. The fishermen seemed prepared for a long day, with several groups having tables and chairs set up on the banks and grills and fires cooking up a hot lunch.
The bare trees held a beauty all their own, and offered a view of what lies beyond the banks that you don't get in the summer.
The river widens and straightens out as you get closer to the Bowman Bridge take-out with fewer obstacles but still plenty of current to move you along.
We saw several eagles today, along the river and at the take-out at Bowman Bridge. I just need to be a little faster with the camera.
The clouds did break up some toward the end, providing a rare look at the November sun. Another great day on the river, as always ending too quickly. I should be able to get in a few more trips this year with a trip to Florida in December.

Total miles paddled today: 11.5. Year to date 262.9 miles.