Last weekend I caught up with Traveling Ted who was on his way back from a week on Isle Royale in Lake Superior. Ted offered to help me run a couple of paddling trips for the Wisconsin paddling guidebook.
The first river was one I’ve been on many times before: the Wisconsin. However, just a dozen miles or so south of its source at Lac Vieux Desert, the Wisconsin River is nothing at all like what I’ve experienced. No mighty riverway, hydroelectric dams, or sandbars for camping. Just a narrow, clear river meandering through woods and marsh. Nearly entirely undeveloped and secluded. This section is just south of Land O’Lakes.
From there we crossed the watershed divide. The Wisconsin flows all the way to the Mississippi. Just a tad east, the waters headed for Lake Michigan. For the night, we found a very nice rustic campsite inside Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. Just $10 for the night at Chipmunk Rapids Campground. Of the six sites only one other site was occupied on the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend. Needless to say, it is typically pretty easy to just show up and claim a site in much of this part of the national forest. Our next day’s waterway flowed right past the camp: the Pine River.
Sunday we headed east to Florence, then south on County N for the put-in on the Pine River. Nice current, a 70-80-foot wide river of dark waters reflecting the skies and the forested banks along the entire 9.5 miles we paddled. We had the wind at our backs… and the deer flies in our faces. No eagles on this paddle, but we did see an osprey. The trip took less than 3 hours and the current and wind made it pretty relaxed.
Six more rivers to go….
See more of my Wisconsin canoe trips from this summer.