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Traverse Area Paddle Club

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Trip Reports

July 23 Pine cleanup, Elm Flats to Dobson

Elizabeth Saunders  | Published on 7/23/2021
Trip report by Elizabeth Saunders, CHS grad (2020), now a rising sophomore at Georgetown

The Friday cleanup of Elm Flats to the Dodson Bridge section of the Pine River will be forever marked as one of the best cleanup trips! Even though this was my first clean up with the TAPC, I do not think another trip will ever compare to the energy and efficiency of our crew. Not only did we avoid the stormy weather that Saturday had in store, but we found lots of good treasures on our trip. Aside from a pink iPhone 8, many types of shoes (from flip flops to Converse), we even found a large, blue candle that melted into a collection of trees.

Our trip began with John teaching me the basics of ferries and eddies while the gang shuttled cars to the Dobson Bridge. His crash course extended to a mini lesson with Becky joining in. Some could say I am the “Kayaking Queen” (by “some”, I mean I). While others would argue that I am the “Kayaking Princess” (by “others”, I mean Lois… who actually deserves the Queen title). Regardless, there was true royalty on the Pine River for Friday’s cleanup! 

While we struggled to find trash initially, we slowly began to find very old cans throughout our first couple of hours. Because the cans we did find were older than me, I would like to acknowledge the remarkable work of TAPC over the years for making my job so hard. Save some for the rest of us, you guys! 

We did, however, leave behind a single piece of trash. As Wayne was using his spear to stab for a can, he inevitably lost his spear’s head. Thanks to Lois, she lent him her spear and our team quickly developed a pretty efficient system on collecting these cans: spot a can and have either Wayne or Mark stab for the can. Judging by the amount of trash we collected, I think this was a very productive setup! 

As a competitive individual, I really enjoyed messing around with Harold and Mark at the back of the pack as we played our “point” game (one can = one point). Even though we were not keeping score, I think Mark was our winner.

After stopping for lunch, the gang settled back into our positions. While I was waiting for Emma by leaning downstream into a collection of fallen wood, I saw a dollar peeking from a birch branch. Through further investigation, the dollar I saw was actually a waterproof bag with $59 and a pink iPhone 8. 

The further we progressed into our trip, Mark got more active with his chainsaw and made a few safety stops to remove fallen timber that collected across the river. 

Our group stayed fairly dry as soft rain came in and out throughout the day. But I do not think any amount of rain could have spoiled our attitudes! Everyone came prepared, excited, and engaged throughout the trip. It truly was one of the best trips ever!

Back at home, I plugged the phone in for it to charge and it did work and turn on. While it did not connect to its service provider, I took the phone to the Apple Store on Saturday. There, they removed the sim card and suggested I take it across the street to T-Mobile so they could use the card to identify the owner. And voila! We had the owner! Thanks to Lois and her savvy Facebook skills, the phone has now been mailed out and is enroute to its owner. 

Cheers to the team for another job well done!

Photos by John & Harold

Elizabeth (who is on the rowing team at Georgetown U) coaching Emma on how to tie a bowline

At the beginning - minus John the photographer. Marlene, Becky, Jane, Mark, Wayne, Steve, Harold, Emma, Lois & Elizabeth

Mark's old PFD was falling apart, so we gave him one we hadn't used in years

It fits!

Wayne got to use Lois' spear since the head of his ended up somewhere in the river bottom


Mark, in his usual stance while paddling (Steve in the foreground, Lois & Wayne in the background)

Emma's third Pine cleanup; Elizabeth's first

We all met in calculus at TCCHS

Mark pulling up another old can

Wayne broug
ht the right canoe for HUNTING for trash

Mark doing a bit of chainsaw work

Lois waiting for Wayne to retrieve an old plastic cup off the bottom

The end; a few folks had already ta
ken off.  Becky, Jane, Elizabeth, Emma, Lois, Steve and John (taken by Mark)

he hat says it all!