The third in a series of River Day posts about what you can expect each day of the 2015 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, visit the Canoe & Kayak website for canoe handling tips.
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.
River Day 2: Monday June 15
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 78 degrees, with a chance of showers overnight, a low of 45 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.
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 marsh marigolds. Anglers come from all over the world to fish these cool clean waters for big brown trout and other fish. About a mile downstream, Max Wolter, a fisheries biologist with the Wisconsin DNR, will do a fish shocking demonstration at Larsen Landing. Fish shocking is a common method used by scientists and fishery managers to temporarily stun fish so they can easily be captured and studied before being released again. This will give you a great chance to see some piscine residents of the Namekagon up close!
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. 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.
Take out will be river (lake) left, watch for the sign and flag marking the landing – if you reach 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” at the Comfort Suites, call (715) 634-0700, $74 per room.
Once you’re settled in, enjoy a “taste of Hayward” 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.