2016 Paddle Namekagon River Day 3

Greetings fellow paddlers,

Mother Nature seems to have a sense of humor this spring. She teases us with good weather, and then it snows. What better time than now to plan for the 2016 Paddle Namekagon. The registration deadline of May 1 is fast approaching. If you are still thinking about joining the June 11-17, 2016 Paddle Namekagon, now is the time to sign up.

Great Blue Heron. Photo © Mark Sampson
Great Blue Heron. Photo © Mark Sampson

We are sure to have a memorable week. A wonderful mix of new faces and many paddle “veterans” are expected on the 2016 Paddle. If you are new to river paddling, Kevin Callan has a short video on how to run and read rapids; it is fun and informative. http://www.kevincallan.com/2012/12/11/run-read-rapids.

Happy Spring to you all,

Deb Ryun

River Day 3 – Tuesday, June 14

Hayward to N. Springbrook (13.5 miles)

Good morning and welcome to River Day 3. The weather forecast is for partly sunny skies, a slight chance of showers in the afternoon, with a high of 67 degrees and an overnight low of 45 degrees.

This is another morning you won’t have to fuss with fixing breakfast. After a cool night, you’ll enjoy the hot breakfast at the Comfort Suites, with coffee to be taken with new friends indoors or on the patio, whatever your pleasure. After packing up your gear, you’ll start out on the only stretch of “big water” for the day. Less than a mile downstream you’ll encounter the Hayward Hydro Generating Station, which is NOT a dam you can shoot. The portage is river left. People will double up and help each other carry their boats over the short portage, making quick and easy work of it.

Portaging around the Hayward Hydro Station dam. Photo © Geoffrey Gates.
Portaging around the Hayward Hydro Station dam. Photo © Geoffrey Gates.

Just below the dam, the river turns rocky and narrow with small rapids, winding back and forth with a few cabins along the way. Further downstream it becomes sandy and slower, with a grassy, more marsh-like feel. At Stinnett Landing, Elsa Hansen from Cable Natural History Museum will talk about animals of the Riverway between 11-1. This is a very pretty stop on a bank above the river. After your break there, get ready for the ride. The river narrows quickly, with another fast little chute.

Portaging around Hayward Hydro Station dam. Photo © Dan Garrett.
Portaging around Hayward Hydro Station dam. Photo © Dan Garrett.

As you continue downstream, the banks are forested, and the river stays narrow and quick, with many Class I and Class II rapids, depending on water levels. Take out is river left, at North Springbrook Landing. You’ll leave your boats here overnight, and a shuttle van will cary you and your gear one mile to Camp Namekagon. This is a full-service campground, with hot showers and flush toilets, and a few cabins they rent. You’ll want to contact them directly at 715-766-2277 if you’re interested in a cabin, though they may be full by now. There is also a “barn” on site where you can share your river stories, purchase beverages and food. They make a super pizza, and have a variety of sandwiches from the grill if you’d prefer buying dinner over making it. Tom Fitz, Associate Professor of Geoscience at Northland College, will talk about River Geology during the evening program.

This ends your snapshot of River Day 3. We’ll be sending our next update soon with a preview of River Day 4 and a special announcement.