Trip report by Cyndi
Sunday, July 5, was expected to be a hot day. Even so, compared to paddling on the Lower Platte a few days prior, I expected this trip to be a shady, quiet expedition in the wilderness. With 13 boats (split between solo canoes and kayaks), we covered a section of the Manistee River that I had never been on. As expected, there were very few cottages along this route, and the scenery was beautiful. However, our first surprise came during our lunch break at a trailhead with a small boat launch. A river outfitter's bus full of 50-60 members of a very large family pulled in, followed by a trailer of float tubes. It was their annual family get-together, and another 30 or so had already started tubing upstream of us. We quickly got back on the river to stay ahead of this influx.
We found the remainder of this stretch of the river to also be very popular among the local folks, who all had come out with their tubes to cool off on the holiday weekend! There were apparently many unmarked spots where cars, motorhomes, campers, and tenters could camp and access the river. There was one established rustic campground. Every accessible spot along the river (which were many & attractive) looked to be occupied. Everyone on the river though, was friendly and loving the beautiful weather! I did not see any fishermen.
Navigating the natural obstacles in the river (occasional deadfall) and the tubers didn't really present a problem. The river was wide and relatively smooth, with no rapids. It made a very relaxing ride. Probably due to the heat and human activity, very little wildlife was seen. I saw only a large and a small turtle sunning themselves on logs. I also spotted a family of ducks and a small flock of Canada geese along the shore.
Our group was able to stay ahead of the busload of tubers, and a couple members even took time for a refreshing swim on a sandbar along the way.
The put-in and take-outs were a little busy due to our large group, but everyone looked out for the others and cooperated (as usual) to make it go smoothly. Shuttling, in spite of safe social distancing, was well-coordinated. Special thanks to Marv for transporting a few members in his pickup truck bed!
It was a great trip and a perfect way to spend the hot summer day! It was wonderful to catch up with old friends and make some new ones!
Photos by John and Jocelyn
Lois presents Marv with a gas card for all the shuttles he has done
People love to help carry a Kevlar canoe
Let the party begin
Despite the party, nature lived on - Cow parsnip
Kathleen in her 11 lb Wee Lassie