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Adventures in kayaking a new river


ReFur
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White Fox lives about 6 hours (?) from me and we have mentioned taking a canoeing, kayak trip here together. So yesterday I decided to take the afternoon to check out a river nearby me. I would never want to take someone on a river I had not gone on first.

 

The river is known to be "difficult". But, it is crystal clear water going through very beautiful natural areas. It also is the fastest moving river in lower Michigan. With water levels low, I thought this would be a good time to check it out. It also is a 2 hour trip and only 15 minutes from my home. So, it is an easy afternoon trip.

 

WELL!!! I have NEVER turned my kayak over. Not that I am some white water expert, but I usually can keep myself out of trouble, and know basic paddling skills.

 

As you have figured out, I did yesterday! What a pain! Bob, was my hero and save me. Got the water out of my kayak and got it up righted. Someone could write a whole comedy thread just on that process.

 

The guy who runs the livery had said, "Oh, you should not even need to paddle, except to steer" This was true!

 

But, what he should have said was, "You are going to be so busy paddling to make all the turns, that controlling the kayak will be a constant challenge." Paddling to move down the river is just not a part of the Sturgeon!

 

I think during the 2 hour trip with the fast moving water, minor rapids and constant turns, my mind did not wander much!

 

We passed one cabin on a 90 degree turn where they had lawn chairs set up to watch us go by. They had a full house! They could have sold seat!

 

So, WF, we will not be taking you on this river!

 

I went on the site they have set up for the river. Oh, my gosh! They make it seem so gentle and easy. It is not. Here is the link if you would like to see an area close to where I live.

 

http://www.fishweb.com/maps/cheboygan/sturgeon/index.html

 

Linda

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I have often heard of the Sturgeon river for canoeing but could not have told you if it is flat water or rough. Actually, I can battle "Rough" water and what you might call "Big" water with the best for the most part but "White" water I have little knowledge of. Little really means none!

 

It is indeed though so great to get out to just kind of let the world go by while you paddle down the river. You seem to be in a totally different world. It is generally so relaxing. But not when you are into something like you were in yesterday! The key though is obviously "Low" water. Just a few inches less water can make such a huge difference. And just a few inches more can turn a "Lion" into a "Rabbit".

 

I remember one day while on Lake Superior on some pretty rough water on 6 day trip. Rough as in "Canoeing rough". There were three boats. I was in the middle. A swell hit that I figured was big. Now then people who have canoed big water like Superior know that for some reason you see a big wave and think you are then ok. But so often for some unknown reason the second is usually so much bigger than it looks. That second wave hit me that day and I landed up facing the other direction completely. I was turned backwards by one swell.

 

The water in Superior often gets very deep very quickly off shore. So you can have what are called swells which are very deceptive. The swells are just "Rolling" water. Up and down. Up and down. If you are a group, you can actually lose site of the rest of the group. They can be within a few feet of you and you cannot see them at all. And if you get too close to shore you have waves coming at you from both directions causing a rather frightening experience.

 

On the other hand no one knows the world until they see it from a canoe. I am quite convinced of that. You can never see that beauty from a car window. This old world would be so much better if we could force EVERY polition to get out in a canoe for five long days (one at a time if they wished) every year to see nature.

W

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White,

 

I think maybe you and Bob would enough the trip then! I would be more than glad to drop and pick you up!!

 

And, this is no way White Water. Atleast it wasn't yesterday.

 

Linda

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linda...

I can only imagine how terrified Bob must have been when he saw you tip and thought "If she drowns I'll have to help all of those good looking women try on fur coats...!"

 

Was Bob behind pushing you by any chance?

W

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Linda,

 

I'm glad you survived the adventure. The individual who gave you the information about the river should have an anchor implanted in his a$$.

 

I've seen enough water incidents that I am very serious about boating safety. I have no objections to engaging in vigorous activities, but one must always be prepared. My dream boating fantasy would be attending the CG rough water school in Oregon and handling a craft in rough water including taking a roll over.

 

You wouldn't believe the stupid things that people do in their boats. I was running inspections on the LI sound today and in one inspection the boat was occcupied by 5 people. 1 male, 1 female and three children all under 10 years. They couldn't find the life preservers. They were finally located in the storage locker complete with their original packaging in place. This didn't even phase the parents. I'm sure the parents will love "Horror Night" run by our local Power Squadron. The Magistrates in all of the local towns on the sound have made this a part of the penalty for boating violations.

 

Oh, FYI, I'm an active member of the CG Aux. and spend weekends in the spring doing preseason inspection and I do a couple weekends of patrol over the summer.

 

Keep us informed if Bob and WF decide to do a trip on the river. I don't think I would be interested. My first love is sailing and if I can't sail, I settle for spending time on the water in Stink Pot. (WF will explain)

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One thing I have learned here is not to judge people by appearances. I didny have you down as being the outdoor type fur babe. You look too glam to even ever be out of stilletoes and fur.

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fur-babe,

 

We are sailors actually. Bob's true love is a C scow. I come in second.

 

Anytime I kayak, I have on a life preserver. Almost drown once. Don't like to make the same mistake twice.

 

So, I was fine. And, honestly now that I have gone down the river once, I don't think it would be as bad the second time.

 

When I ski a difficult slope the first time or go down a fast river I am always a little tense.

 

What got me into trouble was a downed tree I tried to go under. I thought a movable branch was in front of me. It wasn't. With the fast water, in a split second I was over. Usually I assess the situation better.

 

The biggest adrenaline rush of my life was doing Spring white water rafting in West Virgina. And, when they said it was a class 5 they meant it.

 

I had no idea the danger I was in until afterwards. There were several times we were falling straight into a hole in the rapids. I was on a huge raft, too.

 

I was flying through the air several times. If I had not been on a boat of all guys who kept pulling me back into the boat in the free-falls, not certain what would have happened.

 

Although it was a lifetime experience, that is something I do not care to experience twice.

 

Carol, it is great that you do the water safety. What a wonderful way to enjoy the water and at the same time make the world a better place!

 

We don't do that. But, Bob does several charity sailing events for handicapped kids that both sail and ski here locally.

 

Linda

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Carol:

You bring out some really intersting points. As for safety one thing I have never forgotten is that night you came on site to tell us that you had seen a 5 year old boy die in the water that day. I have always remembered that one!

 

Generally speaking I am not too bad when it comes to water safety. I have to admit that I don't always wear my life jacket in "Flat" water but have it very, very handy. I can Always reach it instantly with my eyes closed! AND when it begins to get the least bit rough I am wearing it. Every strap tightened!

 

The worst I can remember! There is a thing where you are supposed to be able to haul one "Tipped canoe" up over another and flip it back right and launch it again. Works great in a swimming pool! Well, I went past a kid's camp one day in pretty rough windy weather. A canoe had tipped. I could not believe it but the instructors had decided to show the kids how to do a "Canoe over canoe" as they call that with the kids. One should Never think of doing that in conditions like that! Total stupidity. And kids were involved!

 

It is actually surprising what a canoe or Kayak can take. I remember standing on a beach in southern Florida. 10 miles long and only 2 tents allowed per night if I am not mistaken. Beautiful place! Anyhow it was pretty rough water that day due to wind. A very small cabin cruiser came along and we honestly were wondering if we might have to go to rescue them. About a half hour under exact same conditions along came a kayak having no trouble at all. And, as I recall we had canoed in as well earlier the same day. I have talked to safety people at Superior and they mention that though they discourage canoes there they are far less fearful of those than larger boats. It is just so surprising what a canoe can do in rough water when properly handled! And when it gets too rough you just go to shore. One cannot do that in a larger boat.

 

So much for sermons. As for beauty. Best I can remember. Following maybe a couple of mtrs behind an aligator as it swims in front of you. Tail wagging slowly back and forth to propel it. Feet doing the "alligator paddle". Man that is beautiful!

 

Course the fish and birds don't think so!

 

White

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WF,

 

I wish you hadn't brought that incident up. I still have bad times and probably always will with it.

 

But it still blows my mind when I see or hear of the stupid things people do on the water. And they always seem to invove kids.

 

However, there are also the good ones. About two or three years ago, my team did a stop and inspect on a boat without a safety sticker. They had a yougnster about five or six with them. When he heard that we were doing a CG inspection he went below and reappeared just as fast with his life preserver. Without hesitation he proceded to put it on without any help. He was as proud as could be to show us what he had been taught. We knew he would probably never be a problem. BTW, they had the safety sticker but also had a new windshield and had not yet gotten it replaced.

 

Got to go. I'm doing another tour today which should finish me up for the season. Ha ha.

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Canoe story you might find interesting.

 

As some of you may know we have a huge park in Ontario called "Algonquin". It can not by any means be called Wilderness camping as it is so very busy. But it is all most people have the knowhow to safely do. On the edges of the park it is normal to see 20 or more canoes in a day there while paddling along. In the middle you will see maybe five. (Where I often go you will see maybe one in 5 days!).

 

If you discount some of our huge parks in Northern Canada, it ranks very large in size in the world. Number two maybe? Can't remember. Something close to 2000 square miles total if I recall correctly.

 

Well now that park is pretty close to Ottawa. Quite a number of years back it was fairly common for folks to run into a fellow there canoeing called Pierre Elliott Trudeau. He canoed there often, carrying his canoe over mile long portages and all such. It was his way to relax.

 

Some of you may recognize that name. He was one of the better known Prime Ministers of Canada.

 

Died probably 15 years back. Not sure why he wanted to do that!

W

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It's amazing what you don't know about people. Isn't it?

 

I never thought of Linda as a Kayaker.

 

A skier? Yes.

A sailor? Yes.

 

If I stretched it a bit, I could imagine you, Linda, taking a trip down a whitewater rapid in a rubber raft but it blows my mind to think of you in a hard boat! (Pleasantly!)

 

It just makes me wonder about the things we don't know about anybody on the internet.

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I too have gone kayaking/canoeing a few times, but on relatively calm waters. But the time I remember with the most fondness, is when I couple friends of mine and my girlfriend came out to Hawaii to visit me and we went to the west side of the island. We found a beach that rented out canoes for the day, and my friend and I went out canoeing (in a two person canoe) on Hawaiian ocean waters (maybe an hour before sunset) and went about a mile off shore, maybe a little more. It was one of the most beautiful things I've ever experienced.

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