Indian River July 22, 2014

2014 Upper Peninsula Trip Day 2

Our annual trip to the Upper Peninsula didn't attract many paddlers as before, with several cancelling at the last minute. Sally and I were joined by Carla this year, and the three of us managed to have a great time even if no one else could make it.

 High winds would keep us off Lake Superior the first full day here, so with a little online searching and asking locals for information, we found the Indian River nearby and decided to check it out. After a few missed turns due to bad directions and a lack of signs, we stopped at Wide Waters Campground and decided to put in there.

The roads to the river ran deep though the Hiawatha National Forest, for miles with no sign of civilization. The perfect area for some solitude on the river.
The river is wide at the campground, resembling a small lake, hence the name. According to the map, it is about the farthermost point upstream which is navigable.
The only people we saw on the water were some fishermen near the campground.
Lots of lily pads and reeds lined the banks of the river at this point, and the slow current made for a leisurely paddle for the first mile or so.
The river quickly became one of our favorite rivers to paddle, one that we will remember for a long time. There is just something special that can't be explained about some rivers, and this was one of those.

Shortly after campground the river quickly narrowed and downed trees were scattered along the banks. We never saw another person on the water the rest of the day, having the river to ourselves for three hours or so of peaceful bliss.

 Although it did take some maneuvering around many of the fallen trees, there were no blockages or portages needed. The local liveries did a good job of keeping them clear enough for passage.

The shore varied from grass to woods and back again, providing a great variety of scenery along the way.
The challenges continued most of the way, enough to keep it interesting but nothing that proved to be too difficult.
A pine tree in the middle of the river decorated with a couple of ornaments. We added a bobber to the tree for our own touch.

A little excitement was added to the day when a beaver became unhappy with our presence and decided to let us know of his displeasure. He pursued us for a short distance, enough to make Carla a little nervous. But we easily outpaced him and continued down the river. Now Carla will be have to watch out for beavers as well as bears.

We found a large pond hidden in the reeds along the river, and drifted around it and relaxed for a while, just enjoying the wonderful scenery and peacefulness that comes from being out in the wilderness miles from any town.

A butterfly resting on my kayak during a small break at Tommy Page Landing. We were going to end the trip here, but after seeing the map provided at the landing we figured we only kayaked 4.7 miles. Seeing as it was still early in the afternoon, I waited with the gear while Sally and Carla searched for another landing. We then continued on and added another 4 mile stretch to the day.

 With only three of us we were able to kayak at a pace we all enjoyed, and were free to relax and not worry about keeping up with a larger group or having to wait for slower paddlers.

Definitely a memorable day. We will have to return to this river and explore another stretch if we come back next year. Possibly even do an overnight trip as there are several paddle-in-only campgrounds along the river. There are many more miles and access point on the river as it flows south toward Lake Michigan.

Miles paddled today: 9.1. Year to date: 158.3.

View Indian River in a larger map

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