All of us (minus Linda W.) met for lunch at Papa J's Pizzeria in Honor before the paddle. In looking at the radar, we decided to linger at lunch a bit longer than planned in an attempt to wait out the threatening storm clouds headed our way. While driving to the put-in at Homestead Dam, we got some rain, which continued after our arrival. So we waited there in the parking lot a while longer. Finally it stopped raining, and after positioning our boats and gear, it was decided by the trip hosts (Lois and John) that we would do the shorter trip to Smith Bridge because we were getting a late start. While setting up the shuttle, it rained again, but it stopped by the time the drivers arrived back to Homestead Dam.
We were surprised to see that the salmon run had already begun, and we encountered a sizable group of fishermen. Usually they don't show up until well after Labor Day. So the litter season has begun, unfortunately. They were polite whenever we passed by.
This was Linnaea's first time paddling this section of the Betsie, and it presented a few unexpectedly semi-tricky spots, including a log jump, immediately followed by a low double tree duck-under. Everyone made it through fine, though Roseanne chose to portage around the dicey section. There were many spots where strong eddies caused boats to drift in unexpected ways, but the current was overall fairly slow, so we weren't likely to get in too much trouble. It was good practice for boat maneuvering.
There was good wildlife viewing on this trip, including dozens of cedar waxwings, belted kingfishers, a group of mergansers (female and/or immature), a northern map turtle, and a great blue heron (possible that only Linnaea saw this as she was in the lead and it flew away as she approached). Flowers in bloom include swamp milkweed, cardinal flower, Joe Pye weed, and the invasive purple loosestrife. It was a pleasant trip, if short, but that's all right -- because we kept hearing thunder, and we got off the river before the next downpour found us!
Trip report by Linnaea, photos by John
Linnaea leads the group down river
Roseanne and Mike
Tracie ducks low
Mike tries the same path
With a new fragile canoe sometimes portaging is the best option.
Jocelyn and Roseanne.
Lois back in the saddle with Linda