John, Danny, and Lois arrived at 10 a.m., thirty minutes before the scheduled time to run the shuttle, and they found Henry, Jim, Marlene, Mike and Jocelyn already there. While we were unloading, some National Forest Rangers drove in and asked to see our permit. This is the first time anyone has checked our permit in all the years we have been leading trips on the Pere Marquette or the Pine River.
Marv acted as the shuttle bunny, and gave the three other drivers a ride back to the put-in. At eleven a.m. we started down the river. Around the first bend we saw a family of green herons. Although they were full grown, we assumed most were youngsters because they were not as timid as other green herons we have seen on the river. A few minutes later we saw a doe getting a drink at the river’s edge. A little while later we saw a great blue heron, and an osprey.
Thirty minutes into the paddle, Lois and Danny decided they needed a swim break to cool off. We paddled at a casual pace and got to the Rainbow Rapids access at 1 p.m. We had lunch and talked about the merits of solo canoes vs. kayaks and watched a brave chipmunk try to steal a piece of our lunch. John left first and stopped halfway through Rainbow Rapids to set up for photos. Lois was the last to launch and noticed a raft with five people in it stuck at the bottom of Rainbow Rapids. She back-paddled and hung out at the top of the drop until the raft was able to free itself from the rocks. We continued our casual pace to Upper Branch where we ended our trip at 3 p.m. Of course, several of us celebrated another successful trip with Jones' ice cream in Baldwin.
Narrative by John; photos by John and Jocelyn
Lois pointing out the great blue heron to Danny and photographer Jocelyn