August 12 Manistee River US-131 to Baxter
Trip report by Lois
The neatest thing about this trip was that everyone except the leader had never paddled this section of the Manistee River - even though four of them live in Kingsley, just up the road from the takeout. For me, it was fun to show them a gorgeous place to use their kayaks, with virtually no other paddlers out on a beautiful summer Sunday.
They were surprised at the solitude, until they realized that choosing a section where there are no outfitters will usually assure a quiet journey. The stretch just above this one tends to be filled with people tubing and floating with rental watercraft. We enjoyed the scenery and spotted a variety of wildlife. We encountered two guys who were camping beside the river, and one fishing boat fairly close to our destination.
The group consisted of myself, Kathy Ledford, Tom Lipps, Donna Steinebach, Brian Steinebach, Brenda Steinebach. The latter two were our guests for the day, and they will be joining the TAPC shortly. We are willing to take them as guests until September 1 (when they promised to join), since anyone who joins the club in the last four months of a calendar year gets the next calendar year for free!
Kathy helped me do a pre-shuttle, which allowed us to launch exactly on time. The group was impressed with the time estimates all day; I was lucky that we had a tailwind for a while, since we did do a bit of floating as we headed downstream.
At lunchtime we learned a new fact: an American flag with black and red stripes is a commemorative symbol to a fallen firefighter. We shared our large lunch venue with a nice group of car campers who even offered to haul our boats up the riverbank. It wasn't necessary, since there was plenty of room for all 6 kayaks to tie up or pull up just a short way.
After lunch, we stopped at a sandbar for a little practice session: "Let's see what it takes to capsize my kayak"! Without a paddle for bracing, Brian learned that it was quite easy, though emptying a boat with no bulkheads took a lot more effort than emptying Donna's Pungo - with one bulkhead in the rear. Donna did a great slow-motion tip-over. For all of us, it was a refreshing swim break, with perfect weather for it.
After reloading the boats at Baxter, five of us met for ice cream at Whirly's in Kingsley - Moomer's!