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HomeNL-2010-09 Paddling in Michigan
October, 2010
by Paul Woodcock
I went to Michigan near Battle Creek to meet with some friends to paddle Pine River, but because of health reasons and a lot of rain they decided to do a series of day trips rather than the week long camping trip.

The first one was on Wabastin Lake. It was a beautiful little lake with some houses around it. We were planning on paddling upstream but the water was so high we couldn’t get through the culvert and as we started to portage around it over the road one of the home owners started yelling about us ignoring the no trespassing signs. So we got back on the lake and paddled across the lake and paddled downstream until the current got so strong I felt it would be hard to paddle against it, so we all agreed to turn around and go back to the take-out. It was wonderful paddle despite the change of plans.

 Wabastin Lake 1
 Wabastin Lake 2

The rains hit the next couple of days so I read a couple of novels and helped stack firewood.

The next trip was down Rice creek. It was a small winding stream and we had to pull over some logs but the weather was perfect and the current strong. One thing puzzled us: every 150 ft or so we had to go over or under some orange cable and trees had been cut down to create a four wheeler path next to the creek. We met some workers in orange hats and vests and they explained they were laying seismic sensor for gas explorations. Further down stream it split in two directions and we decided to go right. After a few minutes I looked over my shoulder and discovered I was paddling alone. I really feel it is unsafe to go separate directions on a paddle and was sort of upset that I was not being followed. I turned around and paddled upstream. I was dragging over logs and ducking under limbs until I finally caught up with the paddlers at the take-out.

Rice Creek (1)

Rice Creek (2)

Rice Creek (3), Orange cable

Rice Creek (4)

More rainy days were spent sitting in a lounger and reading novels until it cleared up.

We met up with other paddlers and did the Saint Joe River. The water was high and we ended up paddling through the trees in a straight line rather than following the bends in the river. I finally got to meet the legendary Bear. He is in his 80’s and has decided to paddle all of the watersheds in the area. He does the rivers, the creeks, and even the ditches, and travels with bow saw and limb clippers to clear the brush. They call them "Bob trips" and they can get really intense. This trip was just a pleasant float down the river as we could not get permission to get on the ditch that led to the river.

St. Joe River (1)

St. Joe River (2)

St. Joe River (3)

St. Joe River (4)

I was disappointed that the trip plans were changed as my true love is traveling and camping on a river, but it is beautiful country and any time spent on the river is time well spent.

The author, Paul Woodcock

The earth is my mother.
The sky is my father.
The animals are my brothers.
The canoe lets me get closer to them.

- Paul