Wisconsin Travel Blog› entry 5 of 7 › view all entries
My most recent trip was to the Flambeau River in Northern Wisconsin. Yeah! We headed up to the Northern part of WI after spending a day climbing at Devil's Lake (also in WI and some of the best climbing in the midwest).
So, I've only ever flat water paddled before this trip and, let me tell you, I was a little afraid. And I did tip over once. If you're coming close to hitting a rock, you're supposed to lean into it to counteract the impact, or 'kiss the rock'. If you lean over too much, you're in trouble either way. As were we! :) Luckily all our gear was in dry bags. Phew! We put in on the North fork. Our first rapid was a class I with no pitches. We worked our way up to class II with 2-3 pitches. Lucky for me, I'm a far better paddler than I really thought I was and my good friend, Mike, was able to give me some great navigation tips on reading the river and maneuvering the rapids.
So, this trip was actually a lot less strenuous than my last one because there was no portaging and there was also a river current to take us down. Some areas of the river are flat water but overall, you've got some kind of a current to help you along the way. Unfortunately, this river is dam controlled (not a proponent of controlling our natural water sources, but I digress). For us, this meant that many areas of the river, including some of our rapids, were quite low and we had to walk our canoes. This gets old after a while. My keens got a workout. But, overall, there were some thrilling moments on this trip.
"Flambeau" was a name given to the river by the Native Americans. It means beautiful flame or light. As for wildlife, I paddled our boat up close enough to the shore where a deer was munching on some wildflowers. I think Mike was ready to pelt me, we were about 6 feet from him and he could have charged any minute! (Don't do this.
Overall, besides a few logistical issues, great trip! What's nice about this location is that it's got some medium sized adventure and is backcountry enough to give you the experience but not too backcountry that you can't get out if you're in a pinch. Obviously, your celly's not gonna work back here, but there are plenty of logging roads and boat landings if necessary...although I hope they wouldn't be needed for any of you reading this. :)