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Choose adventure this summer: Paddle the Namekagon!

Are you dreaming of warm summer days and time on the river? The 2017 Paddle Namekagon launches in just over two weeks! Haven’t registered yet? There’s still time… sign up today! We’re sure to have a memorable week. A wonderful mix of new faces and many paddle “veterans” are expected on Paddle 2017.

It’s a good idea to know how to handle your boat prior to the trip, and be “river aware” from the start. 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:

This post will whet your appetite for the paddle season and help you prepare for the 2017 Paddle Namekagon—a three-day, all-inclusive trip on one of the first wild and scenic rivers in the nation.

River Day 1:  Sunday, June 25, 2017

After shuttling from Camp Namekagon, we launch from Phillipi Bridge Landing. The trip from Phillipi Bridge Landing to Lenroot Lodge in Seeley is about 9.5 miles. The first stretch of the river is shallow, narrow and rocky, with some low branches and fast water.

The riverbanks along the Namekagon will be alive with color and song; wildflowers and warblers provide a lovely show. There can be shallow and rocky stretches. For the most part, the river stays narrow and winding, and the shoreline is undeveloped. Under normal water levels, there are a few Class I and II rapids, nothing scary or difficult.

About two-thirds of the way into the route will be the Pacwawong Flowage. 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 the river continues to be a place for harvesting wild rice.

We’ll take out in Seeley, where we’ll have dinner at the Sawmill Saloon and spend the night at the Lenroot Lodge. Lodging and dinner are included in your registration!

Paddling the Pacwawong Dam. Photo © Tudy Fowler

River Day 2:  Monday, June 26, 2017

We’ll start our morning off with a delicious breakfast at the Sawmill Saloon. Then launch onto the river which will be narrow and shallow, with several small rapids, and wind through wooded shores. 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.

Then float into the Phipps Flowage where the river becomes deep and wide. At Phipps Landing, Kaylee Faltys of the Cable Natural History Museum will give you an opportunity to learn about mussels and invertebrates.

The Phipps Dam is at the end of the Flowage. You can portage around the dam or choose to ride the chute. In the last few miles of the Flowage, you’ll float through a more developed area with some houses and a stretch of the river popular with tubers.

The final paddle of the day 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. We’ll take out at river (lake) left at the Comfort Suites, with a lovely dinner in town. Your meals and lodging are included.

Native blue flag iris along the Namekagon. Photo © Mark Sampson.


River Day 3:  Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Enjoy the hot breakfast at the Comfort Suites, with coffee to be taken with new friends indoors or on the patio, whatever your pleasure. Rob Olson from Xcel Energy will give a morning talk about the Hayward Hydro Generating Station.

The morning starts out on the only stretch of “big water” for the day. Less than a mile downstream is the Hayward Dam. We’ll team up and help each other carry our boats over the short portage, making quick and easy work of it.

Just below the Hayward 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, there is a very pretty stop on a bank above the river, a lovely break. Here is another fast little chute, and the river narrows quickly. 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.

We’ll end our 3-day adventure at North Springbrook Landing. A shuttle will take us from the river to Camp Namekagon where we’ll pack up and say goodbye to our new river friends.

For more information on registration, what to bring, and specifics of the route, there is helpful information posted here on the Paddle website, including what to bring.

Registration is open until June 9 or until full. If you haven’t already, register today, check your gear, watch some river movies, and connect with friends that may want to share a new adventure with you.

See you on the river!

Photo © Mark Sampson