We had a skilled crew that signed up for this paddle, so we were looking forward to a day of playing in the Lower Peninsula's fastest river. The group included: Sara Cockrell, Lois Goldstein, John Heiam, Pam Lassers, Harold Lassers, Kathleen Imre, Jocelyn Trepte, and Mike Rodenberg. On Sunday, when I checked the forecast for Wolverine on Monday, it predicted partly cloudy skies. When I woke up Monday morning, it was raining! Lois said the forecast predicted it would stop by 10 AM when we were scheduled to run the shuttle. Lois and I arrived at 9:30 AM, and of course it was still raining; so we decided to wait until it stopped.
By 10:30 AM it seemed to be letting up a little, so we unloaded our gear and ran the shuttle. We launched a little after 11 AM, and it was still raining. It never rained hard, just a constant light drizzle. At about 1 PM, we stopped at Rondo for lunch, and the rain had just stopped. The river was running at 280 cubic feet per second (CFS), while the normal flow is 180 CFS. This meant that the gravel bars were covered, so we had the whole river width to work with, but the eddy currents were really strong. Lois and Sara thought the increased flow made things a little easier, while the rest of us thought we had to work harder than normal to keep our boats pointing downstream.
Just as we finished with our lunch, the rain started again! No one dumped, or even got into trouble, but even the smallest miscalculation had us caught in an eddy we hadn’t planned on visiting. We finished about 3:30 PM and it was still raining. At least the temperature stayed in the mid 50’s so we didn’t get overheated in our rain gear. No one felt like stopping for ice cream on the way home.
Thanks to Sara for the photos.