2013 Paddlers Rendezvous Sept 26, 2013

Day 1: Pere Marquette River - Fisher to Bowman Bridge

 The Paddlers Rendezvous is held at Coolwater on the Pine campground on the last weekend of September. Kayak clubs from across Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio gather for an end of the season paddle. It works out perfectly for me as I have to use my vacation time by the first of October, and this year I had a full week left. That gave me three days to work around the house, and still be able to make it up for the Thursday early-bird paddle. 
 A perfect forecast of sunny days with mid 70 degree temperatures made a great setting for camping to end the week.
One of the organizers had a couple of extra Dagger Approach 10.0 kayaks, so he offered to let us try them.
 There were a couple of options to paddle on Thursday. Most planned on paddling the Betsie River, while four others had never been on the Pere Marquette, and decided to paddle there.
Tom and I were the only ones from our club there on Thursday, and since we had kayaked on the Betsie this spring, we joined the smaller group on the Pere Marquette. I hadn't paddled the PM since New Years day, and Tom had never been on the river.
The water was clear and cold, and the salmon were running. Hundreds of fish were spawning in the shallow waters, and we dodged them and the fishermen all day.

The leaves were starting to change. The colors weren't as good as last year, but still were still quite nice. Another week and they should be spectacular.
The water level was a bit low, and we found ourselves scraping the gravel on the river bed often. The flat bottom Dagger kayak probably did better than my Perception would have.

 Several times we waited while fishermen reeled in a catch. The fish were hitting fast and hard, and most every one had caught at least one. It was fun to watch, and we each wished we had brought gear so we could join them.


 An osprey soared above the river, hoping for a meal.

The Dagger was a lot different kayak than I was used to. There was very little back support in the seat, and that didn't do my back any good with the problems I've had. It was also a lot more difficult to handle with the flat bottom than the kayaks I was used to, but with the skeg down it handled reasonably well.

A fantastic first day of paddling, and even though my back was sore from using a different kayak, I was disappointed as usual to see the end of the trip.

Miles paddled today: 12.6. Year to date: 223.1.

View Pere Marquette River in a larger map

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