Sunday, July 18, 2010

Kayaking the Pine

My brother, Gary and his wife, Jane, invited me on a kayak trip down the River River.  They were meeting old friends from Kalamazoo at a nearby campground and spending the day on the Pine.  The Pine River gets a lot of river traffic in the summer.  You have to get a river pass so they can limit the number of people on the river.

I had my Scamp trailer set up for Gary and Jane and I slept at home, which was only 12 minutes away.

The kayaks were ready and I dropped off my car at the lower end.  We had a group of about 14 people but they were in canoes from the campground.  We just followed everyone to Elm Flats.  From there we would float down to Peterson's Bridge.                                                                                                        


We unloaded the kayaks and got our things in order.  We pack small coolers for food and drink and had a towel in a dry bag.                                                                                                           

I guess everyone else decided to go on the river this day also!


That doesn't look too bad. We pulled our kayaks down to the launch site.  Suddenly everything was different!  Where did all these people come from.  It was about 9:30 am and everyone was here!

No one was in charge of take-off!  This was going to be a La Mann's style start!  Everyone was anxious to get on the water but no one was directing traffic.  Chaos!

We finally got into the water and it was crowded.  The Pine is a small stream but it can be tricky.  We pushed off and headed around the first corner to re-group.  As Jane came around  the corner a canoe backed out into her space and forced her into the tree limbs.  Over she went!  Jane always manages to get wet right away so she doesn't have to worry about the first spill.  .... and it wasn't her fault!

Gary stopped to help and pulled the kayak up the bank to get the water out of it.  Our group was down stream somewhere.  Soon we were back in the water.  Most of the people were in large groups and they stopped often to get a drink or spray the floaters with their water guns!

The river was in good shape.  It was moving at a nice pace but you could still spot the ripples where rocks and branches were located.  The corners were always tricky because you had to stay on the outside or the current would suck you in toward the logs.  We didn't paddle much and tried to just float with the current and just correct your position as needed.  We passed the group but decided to keep floating in our small group of 3 kayaks.  We would all catch up somewhere along the river.

We stopped every so often when we could find a sand bar to stretch our legs and look for the group.  We would get something to drink and then get back on the river after the break.  Actually, we had the river to ourselves for most of the time.  Sometimes someone would come up on you from behind and you wouldn't hear them.  Then they would pass on the corner and push you into the corner!!   Most of the people were not very good at steering their canoes!  Luckily we got ahead of most of them because we weren't drinking beer and kept on floating down river!                                                                                

Jane enjoyed the trip and took over the lead for most of the second half of the trip.  We were headed to the halfway spot.  From Elm Flats to Dobson Bridge is about a 2 hour float.  We took 3 hours and ate our lunch there and used the bathroom.  The second part from Dobson Bridge to Peterson Bridge was another 2 hour but we took another 3 hours to float it.  By floating down instead of paddling, you get to sightsee a little more. It was fun to notice the wild flowers and spot the birds along the trees.  It was peaceful most of the time.  We did get together with some painted-up college students.  They were polite but very drunk. 

This was my favorite view.  You can see the green colored  river pass on the front of the kayak and the faster water up under the tree.  The faster riffles were fun and we looked forward to them.  You just had to scout ahead to see where the rocks were by reading the river.

There were some beautiful cabins on the river.  They were so peaceful but I wouldn't want a bunch of drunks floating by every day in my front yard.                                                               


Gary was the only one not to get wet in the river.  I slipped over too close to the log jam and the force of current pinned me and then tipped my kayak over.  I dove in and grabbed my paddle and pulled my flipped kayak into the log jam.  It could have been a bad moment but just my pride was injured!  The kayak was swamped with water and very heavy.  I managed to get the bow up the bank and the water slowly drained out the drain hole.  It was too heavy to flip over so I just waited for 20 minutes for it to drain.  Then I had to figure out how to get off the log jam and back in the river with the current coming towards me.  It took some planning but then I was back in the river floating down stream   Later I thought about how dangerous it could be if you don't pay attention.

We finished the float and never saw the group we started with.  They were to be picked up by the shuttle and we had our own car so we didn't worry.  We would all meet back in the campground.

It was a great day on the river and we were hungry.  Gary and Jane had an extra steak so we grilled our dinner and relaxed while we dined outdoors on the picnic table.  Another great day in paradise!  Next time, join us for our next adventure!

No comments:

Post a Comment