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Traverse Area Paddle Club

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Trip Reports

July 21 Pigeon River

 | Published on 7/21/2019
Most people know that the Pigeon River flows through the Pigeon River State Forest, and consequently there are few homesites, and lots of forest. We paddled from Webb Road to Afton Road. It is important when paddling this section that the water discharge be over 80 ft per second or you can wind up dragging your boat during the last mile. The river was running near 90 CFS so conditions were perfect. Whenever we paddle this stretch people ask, "How many portages were there?"  I am going to answer that question like one of our presidents by asking, "How do you define portage?"  If you go by Webster's definition, we never portaged our boats. Check out the photos below to decide if you want to take on the task of paddling this section.
Report by John

Photos by John and Jocelyn

The access at the put-in presents the first challenge

But it is not that difficult if people cooperate; John is holding Lois' rear painter to make sure the boat doesn't go flying down the embankment

Much of the river looks like this with tag alders lining the banks

This is one of the many summer flowers we saw along the banks.

Some downed trees you can paddle around.

Then there are others that totally block the stream. Each of us had our own way of getting past the logs.  In this case, Lois gingerly exited her canoe, and stepped onto a floating log.  Then she slid down into the river on the downstream side.

Lois lenjoyed getting into the the warm water.

All it took was a bit of tugging to have the canoe follow her over to the other side

Jocelyn (the most agile one in our group) balanced on the log, pulled her canoe over, then climbed back in

Ron powered his way over many of the logs.

I walked through some shallow mucky spots to do some lumberjack work, and got a leech on each foot.  My wife saved me with her official Boardman River Clean Sweep knife!

To get back into my kayak, I used my paddle to brace on the log.

We had several other opportunities to display our talents.

Besides all the climbing in and out of boats, we had lots to look at.