2016 Paddle Namekagon River Day 2

Hello River Friends,

While the weather isn’t cooperating for a paddle this week, the rivers are open and the paddle season has begun. I love spring paddling; there are few if any other people, flocks of birds are migrating through, and it is mighty nice to be on flowing water again.

70 Days to River Time

This is the third in a series of notes that will help you prepare for the 2016 Namekagon Paddle. Canoes and kayaks are the mode of travel for this trip. You don’t have to be an expert paddler to enjoy this trip, but having some good basic skills will certainly make it more enjoyable. If you are planning to canoe the Namekagon, check out this link for canoe handling tips.

Oh, the things you will see. Photo © Mary Paul
Oh, the things you will see. Photo © Mary Paul

One frequently asked question is, can I bring my dog on this trip? While we are huge fans of them, pets are not allowed on the Paddle. Give them a week at the doggy spa, they’ll thank you for it, and you’ll be more relaxed as well.

Remember, registration is open until May 1 or until 80 people commit, whichever is first. You’ll find lots of information about the trip posted here on the Paddle website, including what to bring, and how to register online for the June 11-17, 92 mile, week-long river adventure on the Namekagon.

Dreaming of River Time,

Deb Ryun


Breakfast of wild rice pancakes at the Sawmill Saloon. Photo © Tudy Fowler
Breakfast of wild rice pancakes at the Sawmill Saloon.
Photo © Tudy Fowler

River Day 2 – Monday, June 13

Lenroot Lodge to Hayward (13.5 miles)

Good morning and welcome to River Day 2. The weather forecast is for mostly sunny skies, with a high of 68 degrees, a chance of showers overnight, and a low of 48 degrees.

Start your morning off with a hike to the Ernholt Forestry Area with a local expert to learn about the birds of the area. The folks at Sawmill Saloon will be making a wild rice pancake breakfast for registrants.

Mary said "Work, work, work, work, work, work, work." Photo © Mark Sampson
Mary said “Work, work, work, work, work, work, work.”
Photo © Mark Sampson

The first stretch of the river will be narrow and shallow, and will wind through wooded shoreline. If we’re lucky, the banks along this stretch will be loaded with blue flag iris and other native flowers. Anglers come from all over the world to fish these cool clean waters for big brown trout and other fish.

St. Croix snaketail dragonfly. Photo © William A. Smith
St. Croix snaketail dragonfly. Photo © William A. Smith

During the 13-plus miles to Hayward, you’ll start with some rocky areas with several small rapids, but as you enter the Phipps Flowage the river becomes deep and wide. At the end of the flowage is the Phipps Dam site, with a portage to the right. Bob DuBois with the WI DNR will be at mile 74.5 (Phipps landing above the flowage) to share his knowledge of the dragonflies and damselflies that are native to the area. Did you know that the St. Croix Snaketail is found almost only on the St. Croix River?

You’ll find pit toilets at the marked campsites, plus restrooms at Phipps Landing and Eagle’s Landing. In the last few miles you’ll float through a more developed area with some houses, past the KOA campground, and down a popular tubing stretch of the river. The final paddle will be through Hayward Lake, which is large, slow, and open. A strong headwind can make for a strenuous workout on the final leg of this day.

Sunset in Hayward
Sunset in Hayward

Take out will be river (lake) left, watch for the sign marking the landing; if you come to a dam, you’ve gone too far. There are pilings from an ancient dock as you approach takeout at the Comfort Suites, a slalom course of sorts. We will make camp right there on the river, on the hotel lawn. Comfort Suites is offering full use of the indoor pool, including its showers and toilets, to registered paddlers.

Participants can make arrangements for a room in the Comfort Suites if they choose; 15 rooms are held in a block under “SCRA Paddle” for $79 per room.

Once you’re settled in, enjoy a “taste of Hayward” with hosted by local merchants and the Hayward Chamber of Commerce. After dinner, paddlers are invited to walk a few short blocks to see the Lumberjack Show. Steeped in the logging history of Wisconsin’s north woods, Fred Scheers Lumberjack Shows are a blend of sport, history and comedy. Breakfast, dinner and the show are all included in your registration fee.

That ends your River Day 2. Watch for our next update coming soon to find out what River Day 3 holds for you and your fellow paddlers.