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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Kayaking the Pere Marquette

Today will have too many pictures, but you'll have to suffer through. It was a great day! Ester, Ellen and I kayaked from Bowman Bridge to Upper Branch Bridge on the Pere Marquette River. Counting a couple of stops, we were on the river for 5 1/2 hours. It was a perfect day!

Just this week the colors have begun showing up in the trees. The air was crisp and the sun warm!


We paddled for a couple of hours and pulled out on a shallow bank to eat lunch. Just to prove we were all there: Ester and Ellen


Joan and Ester


Most of the water was pretty smooth, but in a few places we got in to some riffle-y rapids. Nothing difficult, just a little fun.


We saw a few interesting details, but it was really hard to get good pictures because the water was moving fast enough that it was hard for the camera to focus. We saw a really large wasp (bald-faced hornet) nest. It seemed to be unoccupied- shut down for the winter- but I sure didn't bump it to check that!

wasp nest

This was really neat, but I didn't get a single good picture. We only saw one turtle all day. The weather has cooled and even with sun today, most of the turtles must have already headed for the mud. But, the one turtle we saw was was the somewhat rare Blanding's Turtle. You can tell because of the rather high shell and yellow chin.

Blanding's Turtle

By far, the greatest activity on the river today was fishing. The salmon are beginning to run upstream, and there were anglers every few yards for almost the entire distance. I would be 95% correct if I used the more common term "fishermen." But we did see a few women. Once in a while we saw a fish swimming, and we saw a few get caught. These guys had just netted this one off the line.

catching salmon

We did have one extra bit of excitement. Just before the takeout, less than five minutes from the end, Ester thought she should take a bath. (Not really, it was definitely not planned.) Over she went, right in a fast bit of current as the river went under a bridge. She verified that the water was "really cold." But she got the kayak to the bank and emptied it, and only lost one little personal item. Everything else was in a bag clipped to the kayak. Since we were SO close to the end she waited to get into dry clothes till we all got off the river, and all was well.

It was a totally wonderful day!

See Personally Crafted Paper for another wasp nest

See The Secret Pond and an Amazing Turtle for another Blanding's turtle
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Loretta said...

overflowing with envy!! love the photos...not fun for Ester to hit the cold water, but bet she still thought it was a wonderful day.

rainfield61 said...

Love this simple but interesting life.

Ann said...

Another blogger who has recently found a love for kayaking had pictures from her most recent outing and she saw a nest just like the one you saw. I believe she said the one she spotted was buzzing with activity though.
Oh and by the way you can never have too many pictures :)

Meghan said...

Looks beautiful!! Great pictures. Fall kayaking is definitely a great experience.

john bain said...

Wonderful pictures. I am so envious of your kayaking adventure.

vanilla said...

That was a fantastic day! Thanks for the river trip.

Sharkbytes said...

Loretta- Wish you could have been there, of course!

rainfield- hours on the river are calming

Ann- I think sometimes too many pictures leaves people wondering what to comment on.

Meghan- thanks for stopping by. Fall air is wonderful.

John- come along! (But it's a bit of a trip to get here)

vanilla- you are welcome! Shall we do this for our next get-together?

Secondary Roads said...

I tried to leave a comment here the other day, but something must have glitched. It sure looks like that was a fun day. Seems like the perfect time of year too.