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Traverse Area Paddle Club

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Trip Reports

September 4 Upper Platte

Kat Mikula  | Published on 9/4/2021
Editor's note:  No photos today - too busy with extricating one member from bushes, and then a bit drizzly.  We forgot to get a group shot at lunchtime at Papa J's.

Our venue for Saturday, Sept. 4 was relocated to the Upper Platte River instead of the Betsie River due to weather issues which was a good call.  We had a bit of gentle rain drops ¾ of the way into the paddle but the heavier rain didn't start until we were loaded at the take out.

Facts I didn’t know are:
The Platte River originates in Long Lake.
Platte River 
starts in Lake Ann and ends in Lake Michigan and is 25 miles long.

“Platte” is French meaning "flat" which could denote the low banks of the river.

Main width of the river is 20-90 feet, but the average is 45-50 feet wide and between 2-3 feet deep.

Temperature is about 65 degrees.


Kayakers present were: Lois Goldstein, John Heiam, Paul Marsussen, Katharine Mikula,

Jacqui Morgenstein, Marlene Puska and Kent Scharff.


Put-in was at Veteran’s Park Campground, east of Honor, and take-out was Deadstream Rd. We paddled almost 3 hours with one break on land to stretch and snack, etc. There was also some "switching off" of kayaks for others to try out.

Current was fast, maybe 10-15 feet per second. Not as fast as Sturgeon River, but close at times. I wouldn’t advise ANY kayaker to paddle the Upper Platte alone. There are several hazards to watch for including rocks, underwater logs, pilings and small waterfalls. I was told to keep a keen "look-ahead" for maneuvering my boat. I tried to follow folks who were familiar with the river. I witnessed two "rescue clinics’" firsthand, which prevented an unplanned swim break. Unfortunately, those rescues managed to give Kent a flavor for the 65 degree river. I was so grateful that Kent and John were there. Experienced kayakers/rescuers are a blessing to the Traverse Area Paddle Club.

The scenery was lush, dark greens. Northwestern Michigan at its best. Smells were remarkably ‘earthy’ and sweet. I loved the bright green river grass under the water maintaining a continuous rhythmic sway.  We viewed several waterfront homes along the way, including a lot of great looking log homes that matched the river scene. I saw a great blue heron, and several wood ducks that didn’t mind Paul paddling right beside them.  Some folks even spotted a bald eagle after we crossed under US-31.

The river appeared clean. I didn’t see any junk along the banks. All & all a great paddle with good  friends. I wouldn’t hesitate to try it again.