Sunday, June 11, 2006



Paint River, Upper Peninsula, Michigan

What a terrific vacation! A Wisconsin cabin 15 miles south of Iron River MI in the Chequagemon/Nicolet National Forest. Five days of paddling, five very different bodies of water. An opportunity to paddle with some new friends. Lots of beer, food, and campfire stories. Coyotes calling just after sundown. The odd call of the sandhill crane. Loons performing their mating ritual. Bald eagles soaring. An osprey fishing. Wild turkeys taking flight. Tiny young fawns, barely able to run. A black bear in full gallup, after being chased out of a neighbor's back yard. And my personal favorite, my first sighting of a least weasel, at about 6 inches, the world's smallest carnivour. It scampered across the road in front of my truck early one morning, pausing just long enough for me to get a really good look.

Oh yeah, and that Yooper delicacy, Pasties! For the uninitiated, a Pasty is a kind of meat pie, typically containing ground or diced beef and pork, onions, potatoes, rutabaga, and occasionally, carrots. Served slathered in butter, gravy, or Catsup. It is the official dish of the Upper Peninsula.

Day 1: THE BRULE. This river forms the boundary between Michigan and Wisconsin. Started out as a peaceful, scenic river, then gradually changed to a swift shallow river with numerous riffles, rock gardens, and minor rapids. Very scenic, lots of deer. At about 8 hours, our longest trip.

Day 2: THE PINE (Wisconsin). Started out with a short challenging rapid. Quick water, lots of rifles and rock gardens. After a few miles, river settles into quiet, scenic, meandering stream. We see our first Bald Eagle, an immature bird not fully colored yet. But very impressive! Also see osprey and lots of deer. Mike brings in real nice Brook Trout. River changes in nature again, picking up speed, lots of rifles and rocks. Stretch ends with a 100 yd rapid bordering on class II.

Day 3: Rain and recuperation day. Carol and I sit around cabin eating too much and watching old movies on TCM. Watch Oilers chances for Stanley Cup die with Dwayne Roloson writhing in pain.

Day 4: THE PAINT, south branch (UP). My favorite stretch all week. Varied water conditions. Extremely scenic. We see our first eagle nest and a number of mature eagles either perched atop the highest tree, or soaring in flight.

Day 5: THE PAINT, north branch (UP). Starts with quick, tricky rapids. TGWB swims. Shallow, rocky, lots of twist and turns, with numerous small islands and narrow, swift, twisting channels. The hardest work all week.

Day 6: SYLVANIA WILDERNESS AREA (UP). This is a mini boundary Waters. Beautiful scenery. Portaged to five different lakes. Numerous eagle. A number of loons, including a pair in mating ritual. Just gorgeous.!

The end of day 6 also led to the discovery of a great new recipe. In an effort to get rid of as much remaining food as possible, I created a dish that turned out to be delicious. I am calling it CANOE CAMP CHOWDER, and I am posting the recipe on THE CHURCH POTLUCK.

All in all, it was an incredible week. I hope I can do it again next year.

Now cooking at THE CHURCH POTLUCK: Canoe Camp Chowder.

Sounds like you had a great time! It's good to get away from it all but I'm sure everyone here has missed you terribly. (You've also missed some interesting developments in hockey...don't get me started on my dear makes me want to cry...*sigh*).
I LOVE that part of Wisconsin. We were up near that this past Christmas and go up there every few summers. Sounds like a blast!
Welcome back! Sounds like you had a gas up there.
I've never been to Wisconsin. You'll have to be our tour guide if we ever get up there. Glad you had a nice trip. Welcome back.
What a trip! It sounds beatiful! Nice to have you back, though.
"TGWB swims." Um, does this mean you wound up in the drink? If so, it probably also means I'd have been doing a lot of swimming too. I've never taken my kayak on any sort of rapids so I don't know how well I'd handle those. Sounds like you had a great time. Wish I could take a long trip and do the boat thing, maybe eventually. Welcome back!
Thanks all! Nice to be back! sort of....

VV - unfortunately, thats exactly what it means.
Sounds like a lot more fun than watching concrete dry. Probably cheaper too.

How are you? Vacation sounded like a dream! Glad you're back. Look forward to more posts from you.

I'm back in Bahstin. Hope to be back posting again soon.
Oh, I am envious!
Sounds like a great time, I'm very happy for you! post more pictures if you have them!
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Thanks for posting the pictures. What a great way to spend your vacation. I'm pea-green with envy.
Oh,and by the way, my gawd you're one handsome bear!!!
MM - aww shucks!
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