I would describe this paddle trip as a late summer, pre-salmon run day on the Betsie River. Nine paddlers participated in the float trip, Wayne A , Lois G, John H, Paul M, Katherine M, Jacqui M, Marlene P, Michael R and Jocelyn T. This section of the Betsie has little development and is very scenic.
The river was a few inches higher than its typical late summer level and slightly turbid from recent rains. This condition was ideal for paddling on this section of river that has a moderate flow and a few challenges posed by wood in the river.
We didn't encounter any portages but did have an almost portage. A water logged tree about 10 inches in diameter extended across the river. We discovered that the end of the tree could be pushed down stream while it pivoted on another tree submerged in the river. We referred to this as "the gate" which was held while the group paddled through the opening. After everyone had passed through, the gate swung closed.
We did have one unplanned swim by myself. As I negotiated a narrow opening between some wood in the river, I leaned too far left and left the canoe. This was not a difficult spot to navigate as the rest of the group had no problem passing through the opening. My mistake was to remain sitting rather than kneeling in the canoe, as I went through the opening. With my center of gravity higher and the river current as it was, I gently rolled out of the canoe. This was my first capsizing of this year and completely avoidable. The water was warm and no harm was done.
I saw 5 salmon and a few fishermen. The fishermen were all friendly. Nice to share the river with others who are enjoying their sport.
Although the trip wasn't an official cleanup, it is difficult to pass by litter in the river without picking it up. We removed a large bag and a half from the river. Also found a kayak paddle in good condition that can be recycled. Paul took it home.
The take out at Fred's Landing required a team effort to extract the canoes and kayaks from the river and transport them to their waiting vehicles.
A very enjoyable day weather-wise with a comfortable temperature and we beat the rain.
Thanks to Lois and John for hosting this trip. Thanks to the reliable shuttle service provided by Marv. Thanks to the paddlers for working so well together on the river to assure an enjoyable experience for all!
John tells Mike about the character of the river bottom - mostly sand with some silt. Paul and Kat getting ready.
Heading down the Betsie: Kat, Paul and Lois
Collecting trash - sometimes it is easier to get out of your boat. Wayne
Wayne gets back in after taking an unplanned swim break; Mike and John offer assistance if needed.
Eating lunch in their boats: Wayne, Jacqui, Mike
Others choose a more comfortable dining location: John, Lois, Marlene, Paul, Kat
Lois makes sure all make it under the tree successfully; luckily Mike took her advice to remove both hat and PFD to make sure he didn't get caught
Jocelyn displays her skill picking up trash
The first signs of fall
A wood turtle with a leaf to shade its eyes
The guys haul the boats up the stairs at Fred's Landing
Some of the stuff Wayne picked up
All trash picked up and ready to be disposed of