Hello River Friends,
Spring is in full swing here in northwest Wisconsin and recent rains have filled the streams. With the snow and ice finally gone and the river temperatures rising, people are back on the water. It’s hard not to be out there.
The St. Croix River Association has sponsored a 6-day paddle on either the St. Croix or the Namekagon rivers for the past five years. For 2016 we will be paddling the wild and scenic Namekagon River from June 11-17.
Plus this year, we’re offering the opportunity for a shorter trip of 3 days and 3 nights from June 12-15.
There is still time to register for either trip option of the 2016 Paddle Namekagon. To learn more and register, visit our website at scrapaddle.org.
If you are already registered, or are thinking or registering soon, and have questions on how to prepare for the trip, I encourage you to visit the trip planning page on the Paddle website. There you’ll find suggestions on how to pack, plan for food, and other great tips.
This is the next to last update on our 2016 Paddle Namekagon. I enjoy writing River Day 5 descriptions. Over the last 5 years, the memories of the last night on the paddle are still strong and very dear to me. Participants have bonded and formed a new community – they have forged new, lifelong friendships. People have gained a deep respect for the river and its wild qualities. This week-long adventure isn’t just about paddling: It’s About the River.
43 Days to River Time
River Day 5 – Thursday, June 16
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 is 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, and speak about the history of hydro-power and current conditions. The portage around the dam is river right where 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 at County K Landing, below the dam. Paddlers who choose to portage around the flowage will skip the tour of the dam. This 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. The name Namekagon originates from an Ojibwe name meaning “place of the sturgeon” and this is one of the days you may catch a glimpse of one. You’ll want to stop at Whispering Pines to learn about river turtles from Professor Tim Lewis.
Take-out at Howell Landing 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 that WCCO Meteorologist Mike Lynch will host the evening Star Party. On this last night of the 2016 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.