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Traverse Area Paddle Club

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Trip Reports

June 18 Sturgeon River

Lois, John & Brad  | Published on 6/18/2021
Brad, John & Lois wrote this report on the way home - a true joint effort, and a good way NOT to nap in the car!  John and Jocelyn provided the photos.

The forecast earlier in the week was for 75% chance of thunderstorms, but by the night before this trip, Joe Charlevoix assured us that the early morning rain would be over by launch time, and would not return until evening.  He was right, though it didn't rain at night either.

Brad was using Harold's Dagger Catalyst kayak, and he decided that upon launching, the inside of the boat needed to be rinsed.  Unfortunately, John was not ready with a camera at the moment of impact.  Brad, not willing to stop with only one unplanned swim break, continued downstream until he encountered a swift eddy.  A "river snake" tripped him on the eddy line, and he was suddenly in the water over his head, losing his beach towel, a good water bottle and John's splash deck.  Luckily, there were no injuries, except pride.  All day long, he kept repeating how much he was learning on the river today.  Meanwhile, Lois was leading the ducklings on, and was in constant communication with John via their waterproof walkie-talkies.  Sara and Jocelyn, in matching canoes, completed our group.

After lunch, we encountered a new downed tree that almost spanned the river.  Lois was in the lead, ferried over, and approached it very slowly.  She determined that we could slide through on river left to maneuver through the narrow slot.  A bit further on, the "maze" that tripped some people up last year is still there, but it seemed easier to get through this time around.  Maybe we were all just all warmed up by then.

In the last hour, we came upon a large bachelor party, lazily (but loudly) heading downriver in tubes.  They had an ice chest that was as big as my fridge!  It was apparent that they had already consumed a substantial amount of alcohol.  Oh, did we mention that their boom box was almost as big as their cooler?  Lois went into "teacher mode" and asked if they could please turn down the volume.  Their response: "It's not gonna happen, honey.  We're just jammin' on the river".  They were friendly drunks, but we wondered what would happen when they returned to their vehicles.  Brad understood why we usually avoid this river on Saturdays!

Sara provided the shuttle to return John back upstream to Wolverine to pick up our car and trailer.  We ended the outing without further mishaps and in bright sunshine.

Jocelyn went ahead at the beginning, so she could get out at the beidge and get these overhead shots of the rest of the team.  Here's Sara using a kayak paddle. 


And Brad


And John


And Lois


John got out his pump to help Brad, and also check inside Brad's hatches to make sure they were still dry.  They were!  Brad wasn't.


Here's Lois going through a riffle; there were tons of eddies that required major correction strokes in the Mohawk 13.


Jocleyn looking confident, as always.


Sara with her canoe paddle


Brad holding his own


The sun came out on Sara


Lunch stop at Rondo; Brad decided to change to a dry shirt 


Overhead view of the lunch area; John had parked his kayak on river right, where it's easier for kayaks to land.


Married couple navigating one of a million tight turns


Sara and Lois in the cedars


A closer shot as Sara heads to the front