Spring Paddling On The Manistee River

Last week some friends, my spouse and I decided to paddle on the upper Manistee River in Michigan. Spring is progressing and it always nice to see the seasons on the river. We used our moderately fast tandem, an old Mad River Malecite with a nice stiff hull, fine entry lines and a low freeboard.

It is still early in the season so still pay attention to my technique. I started in the bow and the fun is getting in the groove with the cadence of a power forward stroke (the canoers here will know what I mean - power in the bow, winding up the torso for the catch and rotating through to the exit). Well, enough of that when my spouse splashed me to remind me that perhaps we want to be lilly-dipping on this trip.

But, the river and the scenery is wonderful. High water with fast current where we can enjoy seeing the trilliums on the banks under the cedars. The oaks still haven't opened their buds while the beeches and maples are starting to leaf out. A bit ragged, but all the different shades of green make is almost as pretty as the fall. Everyone in into a good pace and so we enjoy the sound of the river flowing past the few bankside obstructions and the passing scenery.

And we were lucky. Coming around a bend on river left was a mature male bald eagle sitting on a bare limb and posing as we passed by. And us without a camera!

Then after lunch I took my turn in the stern, practicing my J-stroke even as my spouse is a good bow paddler. Not many maneuvering strokes needed, so we practice some eddy-turns and peel-outs in the mild current. Only a couple of times did my spouse need to draw to avoid logs just below the surface. And then, the take-out came (too soon) and we turned, ferried to shore, our first day of paddling in Michigan for this year done.
GTR1400 GTR1400
61-65, M
May 5, 2012