Title: Opining the Pine's Stony Bottom
Photos by John & Glenn
Driving south of Traverse City on M-37, passing hypnotic Hodenpyl Pond and the magnificent Manistee, we anticipated a panorama awaiting when we arrived at our Northwest Michigan Pine River.
Passenger Mitch Treadwell, loyal river steward, gazed out the window, verbalizing his desire to assist TAPC's Lois Goldstein on her 2021 Pine River paddle cleanups. Barely discerning the tired highway's concord resonance, we, becoming silent at the landscape, attended its bemoaning solitude.
Prior to her upcoming, scheduled Pine cleanups, Lois had graciously engineered today's reconnaissance paddle from Dobson to Low Bridge to determine trash amounts left by capsized Pine paddlers and guiltier patrons.
Marvelous Marv Puska ran our car shuttle, even sparing John Heiam and I the humid walk up to the take-out vehicle parking lot after an invigorating paddle. I asked Lois why Pine newbie, Brad Gillespie, had "missed" our minimal vehicle shuttle, and she informed me he'd ridden with her and John to the put-in.
On the river, I made sure to "poke" at Marlene Puska, as I sometimes do, one of TAPC's most experienced paddlers. I hope she enjoys my teasing about her courteous patience, as she never takes the "stupid" lines a few of us take, and she often chuckles at our antics when we get stuck on gravel shelves and deadfall.
Five kayakers, in green, yellow, blue, blue, and blue boats, and me in my green canoe, made up, this day, what was sometimes a "rock-finding" crew.
Brad mentioned hitting a few stones, and we laughed, understandingly, as I had left Kevlar marks on a couple boulders where there were already-present plastic markings. Lois quipped, "It would be difficult for anyone to miss the rocks at these lower water levels!" Very true.
John seemed to have the least "trouble" of all, and he would paddle ahead, through the many rapids, positioning himself for photographs which make us look better. Mitch almost continuously zipped up and down, collecting trash most don't see. This is Mitch's modus opperandi, no denial.
Just after putting in, a large eagle was sighted, flying river right to left. Afterward, there were numerous, "Awe, cute!" moments when we surprised mergansers, mallards, and their ducklings. Several of us exclaimed at sightings of what were probably "piping" plovers and their hatchlings along the huge sand bluffs.
There were no "boat washings" or "swims" to report, but Lois reminded a couple of us to keep the "sweep," or last person, within sight of the second-to-last paddler. This is excellent advice, and we do appreciate Lois' vigilance, especially on these "pushier" rivers, where age and health can become factors.
At the end of our adventure, Mitch and Brad assisted loading kayaks, and we carpooled home through the forecasted "rain," which never arrived.
Another successful Lois-guided TAPC trip is in the bag, as will be the trash we remove from the Pine River during the next several weeks of cleanups.
My thanks to all who make these lovely trips so memorable.
Trip report by Glenn Bier.