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Traverse Area Paddle Club

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Trip Reports

May 12 Pere Marquette - Bowman Bridge to Upper Branch

 | Published on 5/12/2019

We looked at the weather - cloudy, no rain, temperatures in the high 40’s and lower 50’s. We checked the water level. In the spring, the Pere Marquette usually runs at 700 cubic feet per second (CFS), but now it was at 1500 CFS. We really wanted to get out, so five of us, Sara, Marlene, Susan, Lois and me (John) decided we would give it a try. Lois and I had confidence in everyone who signed up.


We met at Bowman Bridge and saw that the river was over its bank on river right, but on our side, it was just up a couple of feet. Marv ran the shuttle for us so we could have all cars at the take out, Upper Branch. All of us had waterproof bags filled with a change of clothes plus extra layers tucked away in our hatches. What we found on the river was a lot of downed trees, but there was a way around or over all of them. It was really tricky in many spots because there was a very strong current, and we had to “thread the needle” time after time. Once, I didn’t see a branch sticking up just below the surface, and I came really close to an unplanned test of my new life jacket. We finished the trip an hour faster than our normal time, and everyone remained dry and warm.


Thanks again to Marv, who ran our shuttle.