Au Sable River Stephans Bridge to McMasters Bridge Aug 17, 2013

The Au Sable River. Famous for its trout fishing. Home of the Au Sable River Canoe Marathon, a 100+ mile canoe race, the second leg of the canoeing triple crown. The first river I kayaked on, still the river I've paddled most often. And still one of my favorite places to paddle.
After camping at Paddle Brave campground with an overnight temperature in the mid 40's, it turned into a beautiful mid 70 degree day with mostly clear skies. The water was as clear as I have ever seen it.
The fish were feeding on the river. Too bad there were only a few people fishing. More room for us though.
Some friends of my wife moved up here about eight years ago, about 1/2 mile from the river, and we would visit a couple times a year. Whenever we did we would borrow their kayaks and head for the river. We all grew to love it here, but rarely get up here anymore since our friends' health is declining and they can't accommodate us as well. I had planned a camping trip up here with one of my groups, and my kids decided to tag along with their spouses to paddle it on their own, opting to stay at a hotel instead. They did end up paddling the same stretch as us, about an hour ahead of our group.
There are quite a few cottages along the river, so there is not as much forest as other rivers. But they are mostly well maintained and not overly crowded. There is still plenty of solitude to be found.
The river is fairly shallow for the most part. Its clear water, fallen trees, and a stoney bottom provides great habitat for trout.

We put in at Stephans Bridge where most of the canoe liveries take out, so there were only a few other kayaks and canoes on this stretch of the river. Closer to Grayling it can get rather crowded on the weekends.

Some leaves were already starting to turn color, seeming to warn of the approach of colder weather. The cool summer we have had probably is speeding it along.

Wakeley Bridge. Time to stop for lunch.
Rodney brought his hammock to relax on at lunch break.

A family of geese swimming in the river, not too happy to be disturbed by our presence.

The local bra tree, donations always accepted. No one from our party donated, though.
A Cooper's hawk didn't like our presence much either, screeching from the treetops as we took a short break at Conners Flat Landing.

Another great day, followed be dinner at our friends house. I have missed this river. Hope to return soon.

Miles paddled today:12.3 Year to date:191.2

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