September 6 - Morning Boardman trip
Gorgeous morning, but the river was high and fast. Thank goodness we had 6 very experienced paddlers: Lois, Sue & Gerald, Danny, Tracie and Marlene (and shuttle by Marv - what a guy!). It was 53 degrees when we ran the shuttle at 9 AM, and 67 when we took out. Sunshine all day!
Right before the second bridge over River Road, we came across a newly downed tree that completely spanned the river. The water was deep and fast and fortunately, all of us were able to come to a stop and wait for further instructions. What followed was a small bit of sawing (so I could grab a branch to stay in place), and then scouting trips for portage trails on each side of the river, courtesy of Gerry and Danny. We found a decent route, though it entailed getting back in from someone's lawn. I tried to find the owner, to no avail. Getting out of the water wasn't too bad, and dragging the boats down the path about 40 yards was doable. Getting back in was a bit more challenging, but everyone made it without incident.
By the time we got to Shumsky, we were a bit worn out. Then I noticed that the boats were able to float over the bottom step at the landing. Given the extra low bridges that I knew we would encounter during the next hour to Beitner, I declared the trip over. Safety is important, and we really didn't want to risk an accident. Thank goodness everyone was amenable to the change in plans, and seemed a bit relieved. We found a guy named Phil, who was about to launch, and he graciously drove a couple of us back to our cars. He had done a bike shuttle. If we hadn't found a ride right there, I was prepared to walk out to River Road with a paddle and my PFD on and hitchhike. Who could resist giving a ride to an old lady in a life jacket?
We were all safe and enjoyed the solitude. I did see several ducks and a diving osprey.
P.S. Afterwards, I made it to school and was able to help out in a trig-precalc class, plus calculus.
PPS: Shortly after we took out, I made a few phone calls about the tree blockage; it was removed the following day by staff from the Grand Traverse Conservation District - thanks!