The day was hosted by Lois Goldstein and John Heiam who with all other participants had a delightful lunch at Rico's Cafe and Pizzeria on US-31 in Grawn. They were joined by Marcy Maller, Debby Page, Mike Schaeffer, and Tom Auer. The weather was sunny with temps touching 70. We dropped our boats at the US-31 launch and took off westward to leave our vehicles down on Deadstream Road. Marcy drove the 4 drivers back in her van, and later Tom took her and her kayak back to the put-in to retrieve her car. Mike also saved the day when one of the trip hosts realized that he had forgotten his water bottle on the kitchen counter.
The current was quick, but attentive paddling left time for sharing stories and experiences. Tom got a little scared and tangled up in a deep hairpin turn where many poles came from the bottom. It took him several minutes to “extract” himself without getting wet. He was grateful that Lois stayed back with him for safety and encouragement. This put them a bit behind the rest of the group for the remainder of the trip, but that was okay, since they had plenty of time to chat.
We saw several beautiful great blue herons including one which flew up to roost on a tall pine tree branch 45’ above the water. Other critters seen were mallard ducks and chicks, cedar waxwings, unknown songbirds, a single mink, a muskrat, a few crayfish, and 3 large (8”) Northern Map turtles (because of thin tan stripes on the neck and legs). Tom suggested they were probably 30 years old, and added the fact that their diet is mostly mollusks - including zebra mussels.
There are no obstructions encountered on the river. No other boaters were seen. Obviously missing from all the rock tops were silver aluminum markings that we have seen later in the summer. I was surprised to see maybe half of all the cottages had no evidence that the seasonal occupants have been there yet.
We knew the Deadstream Road takeout was coming as we saw no traces of human activity in the huge cedar swamp; the second and widest waterway to the right was the connection to the nice takeout there. Loading boats went well. Debby & Mike enjoyed ice cream cones on the way home, but the others made the lines back to TC.
Trip report by Tom Auer
Reference: Amphibians and Reptiles of Michigan by J. Alan Holman, pub 2012, WSU Press, Detroit MI