2016 Paddle Namekagon River Day 1

Hello River Friends,

This is the second in a series of notes that will give you a good feel for the 2016 Namekagon Paddle. You don’t have to rely on these emails, there is helpful information posted here on the Paddle website, including what to bring. Of course you can also register online for the June 11-17, 92 mile, week-long river adventure on the Namekagon. Registration is open until May 1 or until full, and we will not exceed 80 people.

79 Days to River Time
In previous paddles, several people arrived with little paddling experience. That’s okay. But if you have some basic skills mastered, you can spend less time thinking about what you’re doing, and more time enjoying the river and your surroundings – and maybe less time in the water yourself! This kayaking website shows basic paddle techniques. I’ve learned some nice tips from this site, and you might too.

Dreaming of River Time,

Deb Ryun

Phillipi Landing, Cable, WI. Photo © Lisa Giefer.
Phillipi Landing, Cable, WI. Photo © Lisa Giefer.

River Day 1 – Sunday, June 12

Good morning and welcome to River Day 1. The weather forecast is for partly cloudy skies, with a high of 72 degrees and an overnight low of 50 (okay, it’s a good guess). Sunrise Yoga begins at 7 a.m. for those who would like to start their day with a stretch. Breakfast can be purchased from local restaurants (excellent options) or you can make your own in the camp kitchen.

The morning briefing will begin at 8:30, and it is mandatory. If you are arriving in the morning, plan to be on site and checked in before 8:30. Morning briefings are designed to share what the day may bring; weather and river conditions, educational stops, highlights to watch for and introductions of any special guests. Gear should be packed and set next to the truck by 9:30.

We launch from Phillipi Bridge Landing, after about a 1/2 mile walk to the river from the camping area. You’ll carry everything needed for the day to your vessel at the launch site.

Phillipi Bridge Landing to Seeley (Lenroot Lodge) is about 9.5 miles. The first run is a bit complicated; the river is shallow, narrow and rocky, with some low branches and fast water. Historically, a few people have tipped with in the first 15 minutes of launch. I don’t say this to scare anyone off, but it’s a good idea to know how to handle your boat prior to the trip, and be “river aware” from the start.

Native Blue Flag Iris along the Namekagon. Photo © Mark Sampson.
Native Blue Flag Iris along the Namekagon. Photo © Mark Sampson.

Assuming a typical spring, the riverbanks will be alive with color and song. Wildflowers and warblers provide a lovely show. There can be shallow and rocky stretches, and you may encounter beaver dams; for the most part the river stays narrow and winding, and is undeveloped. Under normal water levels, there are a few class 1 & 2 rapids, nothing scary or difficult. This is a short day, making it a good warm-up to our longer paddle days coming farther downstream.

Pacwawong dam site was a good ride in 2013. Photo © Tudy Fowler
Pacwawong dam site was a good ride in 2013. Photo © Tudy Fowler

About two-thirds of the way into the route will be the Pacwawong Flowage, the slow water for the day. The water is backed up by a small dam, which you can either paddle through or portage around. This was once the site of an Ojibwe village. This stretch of river continues to be a place for harvesting wild rice. John Haack will be at the dam site, which is river right, to talk about native and invasive plants.

2015 Paddle Namekagon at Lenroot Lodge in Seely, WI. Photo © Mary Paul.
2015 Paddle Namekagon at Lenroot Lodge in Seely, WI. Photo © Mary Paul.

Takeout will be in Seeley, at the Lenroot Lodge. A sign will be posted “river left” (on the left bank) at the takeout spot. You will set up your tent on the lawn of the Lodge, unless you’ve made arrangements to stay in Lenroot Lodge itself (with a hot shower). The camp kitchen will be set up, but I suspect the dinner provided at the Sawmill Saloon will be more than adequate.

cattail-moon-logoThere may still be a few rooms available, call to make your reservation at (715) 634-7007 and ask for the SCRA Paddle rate of $79.95/room for two people. This is always a very popular overnight stop, and it won’t disappoint this year. Cattail Moon, an acoustic musical “group” of five energetic and original singers, songwriters, & musicians who love to make music, will be playing at the Lodge. http://www.cattailstringband.com/