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Small Inland Lakes
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August 31 Upper Manistee from C-38
This was my 3rd trip down this stretch of river this summer, and in the past month, the beavers have been very busy taking their place in the natural setting that truly belongs to them. It took 1:10 to get from the put-in to "John's Landing", and about 2.5 hours to reach our lunch spot at Deward. This is one of my favorite trips for busy summer weekends, since I don't expect to find any other river users. We saw only one fisherman, and he was surprised to see us.
I want to thank Linda P and Bob M for assisting with the shuttle, and Ron for helping with the on-water communication using the walkie-talkies with me. Ron was also right there to push people over the initial downed tree. After that, we had about 4 major beaver dams to bust over, and finally, they were done by the time we reached the confluence.
Other participants were Jocelyn (my trusty driver), Jackie, Tracie, Harold and Pam. (For those who asked, John is laid up with back problems.) Everyone offered to help bring Bob and his boat back, and I also appreciated that. Note to self: when you launch in the middle of nowhere, and one of your shuttle drivers is late, there is NO cell service for any provider! Fortunately, she appeared and we were on our way.
The trip went smoothly (and quietly) until we arrived at Deward. At that point, we encountered a mass of about 20 kayaks and canoes totally blocking the access. There was loud music coming from a smartphone speaker, and even horses in the background. Here we thought that we were the only folks on this stretch of river, but it is Labor Day weekend. Fortunately, we found a way to park our boats, since we were hungry and also needed a potty break! The two large groups left while we were eating and later we passed them easily on the river. One of the boats set up a lawn chair on top of the stern canoe seat; we never did see how they managed to get under the tree branch that forced all of us to DUCK!
We had a bit of cloud cover and no wind, so the smell of their pot pervaded the valley, but at least we didn't have to be subjected to it for a long time. There were masses of wildflowers, and pleasant conversation as we floated downstream in twos and threes.
There was also a big party group launching when we got out at Cameron Bridge, but at least they made room for us. It was 3 PM, and we were able to haul our stuff up easily, with wonderful cooperation from everyone in our own group. Thanks for coming along!
Jocelyn here adding some visuals to the report by Lois.
The put-in right along side C38 east of Mancelona
Jackie executes a seal launch
Ron creeps along a log to help Tracie get through
Jackie gets a push
Lois almost over ... but the tight 180 degree turn at the end awaits
Linda confronts a beaver dam
Harold's turn -- but with wood on wood in his case
Selfie with both Lois and me atop another of beaver dam
Bob powers through yet another one
Ron full speed ahead
Here is what they look like from upstream
SURPRISE at our old Deward put-in and our current lunch spot of choice: Two groups of paddlers plus horses and a blaring radio!
Joe Pye Weed & Golden Rod, Grass of Parnassus, Virgin Bower or Wild Clematis, Bee Balm, fields of Bracken turning orange
Just to show there is unimpeded river too!!!