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July 15 Pere Marquette with the birthday boy

Lois Goldstein  | Published on 7/15/2015
It was the 30th anniversary of John's 40th birthday, so we celebrated with Marlene, paddling the Pere Marquette from Bowman Bridge to Upper Branch.  Marv was our "shuttle bunny", as he has been several times this season due to an injured shoulder.  What a guy!
   
Marv with his new truck
 
The weather could not have been more perfect - bright sunshine with a few wispy clouds, highs in the 70s.  Except for the thirty canoes that were launching after us, we saw no other river users. 
  
This is the scene that greeted us when we arrived at Bowman Bridge.
 
I had forgotten how many cottages (and therefore private property) line the banks of the river.  We stopped for a lunch break at the Rainbow Rapids access, since there were few other suitable stopping places during the first two hours (or for the matter, during the next two hours, except at the Sulak landing).  Recent rains had obviously brought down some new trees, so we were doing lots of back-ferries to set up a line to slide through just the right spot in the river.  We got a workout!
  
 
Going through the small riffles was fun, though Marlene had to remove some excess moisture from her cockpit after that section.
  
 
The group of scouts who were using all those canoes began to show up just as we were leaving our lunch stop, though many of them apparently capsized trying to negotiate through the twists and turns.  The kids were well mannered and polite, so we chatted a bit before taking off.
 
After we got off the river, John & I went out to eat and then to Ludington State Park where we hiked a bit and then watched a delightful concert by Lee Murdock, singing lots of songs about the Great Lakes.  A great day! 
Written by Lois, photos by John
 
 
P.S.  On John's birthday in 1985, we were canoe camping on the Wisconsin River.  In 1995, sea kayaking at Isle Royale.  2005 - the Upper Manistee River starting at Deward.  So do we see a pattern here?