The sixth in a series of River Day posts about what you can expect each day of the 2015 Paddle.
River Day 5: Thursday, June 18
Trego to Howell Landing = 20 miles (optional 14)
Good morning and welcome to River Day 5. The weather forecast is for mostly sunny skies, with a high of 80 degrees and an overnight low of 55 degrees.
The 20 mile journey from Trego to Howell Landing will be highly varied, beginning with a five mile paddle through the Trego Flowage. This section is a little less wild than you’ll experience later in the day. At the end of the flowage is an Xcel dam. Staff will be on hand to give a tour, speak about the history of hydro-power and current conditions.
The portage around the dam is river right, a large sign indicates the take-out. This is a very short portage, but it is on a slope and the river access below the dam is a little tricky. Use the buddy system to portage over the dam, and for the put-in. Partnering makes very short work of it. Tours will begin on the north end of the dam, the same side as the portage.
We will offer the option to skip the flowage, and shuttle around it, making this a 14 mile day. The put-in will be County K Landing, below the dam. Paddlers taking the shuttle option will skip the tour of the dam. The shuttle option will be offered the night before.
Downstream from the dam, the river narrows and contains a series of riffles for several miles. Then after Whispering Pines Landing, it widens and slows again. Keep an eye out for sturgeon beginning at County K Landing; this stretch is where you are most likely to see them. This bottom-feeding fish can look like a large shadow or log in the water. The name Namekagon originates from an Ojibwe name, meaning “place of the sturgeon”.
Restrooms are available at County K and Whispering Pines, and pit toilets are available at the many campsites found along the route. You’ll find several sand bars and landings that make for delightful swimming on a hot summer day. Take out at Howell will be river right, as usual watch for the sign.
This will be the most rustic night, and the final night out on the river. The services include water, non-flush toilets, and an incredible view, with the nearest town a LONG ways away. If the weather is warm enough, the swimming here can be very fun. If it’s cold, the campfire will feel great.
The last night is typically one of the best nights, though bittersweet. I am very pleased to say the Ojibwe Drummers & Dance Troupe be with us this evening, adding to the spiritual feel for this special place. On this last night of the 2015 Paddle, people will have many stories to share around the fire. People start thinking about getting back to their “normal” lives. But it’s hard to give up the river.
One more River Day to come.