8/25/2014 0 comments

La Crosse River

Sparta to Bangor
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

A peppy, super-fun stream that begins around 30’ wide and gradually swells to about 50’. The water here is clear and clean, the bottom sandy and the current quite reputable. In the first five miles of this trip, there are four modest ledges ranging from half a foot to a foot-and-a-half high, none of them technically challenging but each one delightful. From Sparta to Bangor this is a long daytrip, so expect to be on the water for awhile.

ReLAXing on the La Crosse.

August 2, 2014

Class Difficulty:
Riffles + Four modest ledges

4' per mile

Sparta: ht/ft: 3.4 | cfs: 164

Fishermen’s Park, Sparta, Wisconsin
Highway 162 bridge, Bangor, Wisconsin

Time: Put in at 1:45p. Out at 7:10p.
Total Time: 5h 25m
Miles Paddled: 16.5

Wildlife: Two snakes, two great blue herons, two sandhill cranes, a turtle, a woodpecker, many frogs, lots of butterflies and we heard a couple deer leap about the banks.
Time worth driving to: 1-2 hours

Beginning near the marshes around Fort McCoy, the La Crosse river courses through Coulee Country (the valleys and ravines of west-central Driftless Wisconsin) on its way to the Mississippi River in downtown La Crosse. The La Crosse River watershed is not that large; the river itself is about 60 miles long and has a drainage area of 167 miles. It's dammed thrice at Angelo, Sparta and most prominently at West Salem, where the backwater creates the rather huge Neshonoc Lake (a pretty flatwater prospect with Driftless hills in the backdrop but you will be sharing the lake with motorboats).

A few historical curiosities before we continue. The word lacrosse, of course, is from a French term meaning “hooked stick” or is derived from a bishop’s crosier, an embellished staff (think fancy shepherd’s crook), which the original lacrosse sticks used by Native Americans playing the game resembled. I hate to burst the bubble but the game of lacrosse did not in fact originate in what is now the city of La Crosse, Wisconsin. That said, its origins are within the St Lawrence Seaway/Great Lakes area of Canada and United States. It was none other than Lieutenant Zebulon Pike (of Pike’s Peak fame) who gave La Crosse its name during an expedition up the Mississippi River in the early 19th Century and observed the natives playing the game.

One more etymological tidbit. The word “coulee” also comes from the French couler, meaning “to flow.” What I find so endearing about this is its poetry. Either the valleys and ravines in the very heart of Driftless Wisconsin were called coulees by the predominantly French and French-Canadians who settled here because of the gazillion streams that flow in between the hills, or, as I like to think, because the endless array of these beautiful bluffs flow one after another as if in an inland sea of waves. Seen from the air, these 300’-500’ high bluffs do look like ripples…

We chose the La Crosse River as a reluctant concession to both the Black and Eau Claire Rivers, where we wanted to paddle but could not due to low water levels. The La Crosse is a great stream in its own right and we’re glad we had at it. I had always kinda ruled it out because I assumed it was too close to the Interstate and thus would not be worth the trek out there. A friend of mine told me otherwise a couple years ago. There are basically two sections good for paddling on the La Crosse. This section, from Sparta to Bangor and then West Salem to the Mississippi River. We chose the former for no precise reason. Having done it, I’m now curious and eager to paddle the second section sometime soon.

We missed the turn for the recommended put-in by Mike Svob at the Highway 16 bridge and we’re glad we did. Instead, we put in at an official park immediately downstream from the dam in Sparta. This gave us not only an additional half-mile of paddling but a very fun half-mile at that, where all of the riffles and also a couple easy drops are located.

That said, there was a pretty decent sized snake at the put-in. A bad omen? Nope. We paid it little mind and all was well. We should note too that Svob suggests the Sparta to Rockland section as one daytrip and states the mileage as 9. According to Google maps, that distance is closer to 10.75, a sizeable discrepancy. We opted to paddle to Bangor, which in retrospect was rather ambitious and it too was a couple miles longer than stated on Svob’s map. In total, this trip is just shy of 17 miles from the dam in Sparta to the Highway 162 bridge in Bangor, a long day of paddling by any standard, particularly when one starts mid-afternoon (and even more surprising considering the swift current - this is closer to 3mph on the 3-4mph paddling rule-of-thumb). But despite its length, it was a great trip just the same.

What we liked:
The current is consistently strong. The gradient begins at 5.5 feet per mile then tapers to 4 feet per mile midway but the river is always moving along. The water was clear as a bell, the bottom attractively sandy. Downtown Sparta was pretty fun to paddle through, particularly all the little riffles and one or two small drops. All in all, there are four ledges in the first five miles of this trip and each was easy but a lot of fun.

After you leave Sparta the surroundings are pretty sparse (dare I say, “spartan”?) and all in all, there’s very little development on this trip. This is not a lazy relax paddle though. The river meanders quite considerably, so even though the current is strong, you’re constantly turning and anticipating the next bend. We encountered only a few spots of downed trees, nothing formidable or requiring a portage. One of the best aspects of this trip is the feeling of being isolated and away. It’s true that you’re never far from I-90, but we never heard the sound of it (however, what you will hear, is covered in what we didn't like…).

A quick word about where we camped and one fun anecdote. First off, there are no great camping opportunities in the area. There are a couple awesome ones (Perrot and Wildcat Mountain State Parks in particular) but each requires an hour or so drive. So we settled on Veterans Memorial County Park in West Salem, which is on the banks of the La Crosse River some four miles downstream from Neshonoc Lake (where incidentally there is a private campground option).

Veterans Memorial Park is humongous but is actually the smaller of the two La Crosse County campground parks (even though it has 100 or so sites!). It’s mostly an RV campground, with only a handful set aside for tents. Everything is cramped and there is next to no privacy. While we chose the best site we could find (on the water), it was pocked with dog poop all over the place. The firewood was wet and pulpy and there was nowhere to collect sticks for kindling. All of this for $22/night. I won’t mince words: the camping pretty much sucked. Making matters worse, since we were running late and the paddling took a lot longer than we had anticipated, I forgot to buy milk, which I absolutely needed in order to make dinner that night (we won't give away what Chef Timothy had in mind but it was, no doubt, ambitious).

However… during our paddle, we saw first one and then a second kayak about 40 yards downstream of us just hanging out on the left bank – the first paddlers or anybody we had seen (or were to see) all day on the river. As we approached I recognized with great serendipitous delight that it was none other than my own very good friend Ken and his wife from Madison, who by total coincidence happened to be paddling the same stretch of the La Crosse River as we!

Of all the streams in all the counties in all of Wisconsin… Ken is the guy responsible for introducing me to kayaking in the first place, lo these many (6) years ago. And it was none other than Ken who was the one who recommended the La Crosse River to me a couple years ago, as mentioned earlier. We all laughed about this fabulously fortuitous and random encounter as we four proceeded to paddle together 'til their much more sensible take-out in Rockland. Ken generously offered to drive us back to one of our cars but we (foolishly?) pressed on to Bangor. We all hugged and went on our ways.

Later that night, as Barry and I were setting up camp and splitting shitty wood for the fire in the now nighttime, a car pulled into our site. I was hunched down and blinded by the headlights. Panic seized me for a moment because there was ambiguity about the campsite itself. While numbered with a placard, we couldn’t really decipher whether the site we were on was one individual site or an “easement” of two sites. We took the best location regardless and were prepared to apologize if necessary, rather than seek permission. So when I saw this car I feared it was a camper claiming we were on his site. I braced for an awkward encounter.

But no, it was Ken and his wife who came plied with beer and pizza! I suppose it must not have been terribly difficult finding my car with two kayaks on the roof but it was an impressive enough feat in the darkness of the sprawling RV-land campground. They had already washed up and went out to dinner while we were just returning to the campground and setting up shop. Nonetheless, they had purchased beer before 9pm and brought us leftovers from their meal. Not only was this extremely thoughtful and generous, it was a perfect solution to my problem of having forgotten to buy milk. Sometimes the universe provides like that!

Just the same, we do not recommend Veterans Memorial Park unless you have no other options. It’s not the worst campground whatsoever but it doesn’t make for a great camping experience either, unless friends show up out of the blue with beer and pizza!

What we didn't like:
The ugly, foreboding noise of a sand processing plant or fracking mine. Located in between the Highway 27 and Hammer Road bridges (and you’ll hear this chomping monstrosity well before you paddle up to it). To be fair, we have no idea if it’s actually a frack sand operation or a silica plant. To my ears, it sounded exactly like the silica plant in Wedron, Illinois, on the Fox River that I paddled last year. But Wisconsin does lead the nation in frack sand mining, western Wisconsin especially. Who knows?

Besides that, the only dislike is that this trip lacked anything spectacular. Nothing truly outstanding stood out or came about (except a surprisingly random encounter with dear friends, of course). Rather, it’s a solid and very pleasant day paddle. But I’d rather something a little sexier for a two-hour drive. After Rockland there are occasional views of the Driftless hills in the background but none all too dramatic. Also, we failed to properly anticipate the meandering nature of the river. Consider this: the shuttle is a straight shot from take-out to put-in that runs parallel to the river, yet is 6 miles shorter than the river itself! This is not a bad thing per se but something to take into consideration before planning your trip.

If we did this trip again:
We both agreed that the Sparta to Rockland section was more fun than the Rockland to Bangor section, so we’d do that one again in a heartbeat. If anyone has information about the La Crosse River upstream of Sparta, we’d love to hear about it. Otherwise, the next trip in this area likely will be from West Salem to downtown La Crosse at the Mississippi.

Related Information
Guide: Paddling Southern Wisconsin
Outfitter: Ellistone Canoe Rentals
Overview: Hunt Fish Camp
Overview: Travel Wisconsin
Overview: WisconsinGuides.net
Wikipedia: La Crosse River


View La Crosse River in a larger map

Shuttle Information:
Having two cars and already running a little late, we drove a car shuttle, in spite of the La Crosse River Trail being readily accessible. The car shuttle is 10.8 miles, the bike shuttle 11.2. You will need a state pass to pedal the bike trail ($4/day, $20/year) but it’s totally worth it (the annual pass is good for all trails throughout the state, including cross-country ski trails).

Sparta, is of course, the headquarters of the famous Elroy-Sparta Bike Trail, the very first rails-to-trails bike trail in the nation. From Sparta you can pedal down to Elroy and cross over the upstream portion of the awesome Kickapoo River. From Elroy you can connect to the 400 State Trail, a different bike trail that follows the Baraboo River down to Reedsburg. Or you can go west from Sparta and pedal the La Crosse River Trail into the city of La Crosse, at which point you then can connect to the Great River State Trail up to Trempeauleau past the mouth of the Black and Trempeauleau rivers. Whole lotta great bicycling in this part of the state!

Photo Gallery:

Good 'ol Ben Bikin!

Evidence that some folks paddle upstream of Sparta and portage around the dam.

A concrete lining leads to the river just below the dam at Fishermen's Park.

So did this snake

East Avenue bridge.

Train trestle.


East Wisconsin Street bridge.


Light rapids in downtown Sparta below the park bridge and before the South Water Street bridge.


South Court Street bridge.


Don't say this guy never did anything for ya. Timothy's boat is a fully-stocked lawn and garden center just waiting for a challenge.

The first of four ledges from the put-in to Hammer Road.

Looking upriver at another ledge.

Highway 27/South Black River Street bridge.

Wisconsin Gold™




Hammer Road bridge.


Icarus Road bridge.

Random encounter with friends of Miles Paddled.


County J bridge.





Powered parachute spotting.

The setting sun.

The take-out at Highway 162.
8/24/2014 0 comments

Pine River III

Rockbridge to County Road AA
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

A wonderful stream that slowly meanders around the bluffs of Driftless Richland County, this trip will require the whole day to paddle but you’ll love it. Just don’t bother doing it in a canoe. About 30’ wide, very windy and with lots of obstructions, this is more of a kayak river.

It's like the Dells without the tourists and Duck boats!

By Timothy Corcoran Bauer
A Miles Paddled contributor

July 26, 2014

Class Difficulty:

1.5' per mile

There is no gauge on the Pine River but water levels are usually quite adequate. Call the local outfitter to find out for sure.

Pier County Park, Rockbridge, Wisconsin
County Road AA, Richland Center, Wisconsin

Time: Put in at 2:00p. Out at 7:50p.
Total Time: 5h 50m
Miles Paddled: 10.25

Wildlife: Great blue herons, kingfishers, cows, bulls and lots of beautiful butterflies.
Time worth driving to: 1-2 hours

Earlier in the week friends of mine, avid canoeists, asked me if we all could go paddling on the weekend (quite possibly the silliest and most unnecessary question a friend could ask me, along the lines of a wife asking maybe, pretty please if her husband could watch the game with her). After running through the pros and cons of a couple different stream options, they chose the Pine River in Richland County.

I’ve been scoping out the Pine the last couple years and it has, at its heart, three essential characters: Upstream by Rockbridge it’s narrow, windy and lined around cool rock outcrops. “Midstream” by/in Richland Center it’s more urban but still awfully pretty with a peppy current and even a fun Class I-II drop. And then downstream towards the confluence with the Wisconsin River it widens out, slows down again, gets muddy and the landscape begins to flatten out (while offering occasional views of pretty rolling hills). Miles Paddled is missing a couple links still before we have “completed” the Pine River but for my friends’ sakes I wanted to put the river’s best foot forward, so we went back to Rockbridge.

In the interest of eliminating redundancy, I am simply going to refer to my earlier trip on the Pine River, rather than recap the whole thing here. No, no, I’m not trying to quote myself or take the vain academic route of referring to my previous work in the bibliography (“bi-blog-raphy”?) of an assigned book for class.

What I want to pronounce here though, in as clear and unequivocal a voice as I can muster, is this: the thing I best loved about this trip – the cool rock outcrops – are no less true or sincere a year and a half (and lots of other paddles) later. The thing I most disliked about this trip – the obstructions and frustrating deadfall – also are no less the case, in spite of a new rental/livery company that has cleared out some of the mess I first encountered in the spring of 2013.

What I liked:
If you’re looking for an intimate stream that wends this way and that, is narrow and showcases beautiful bluffs and exposed sandstone rock outcrops, the Pine is all those and then some. There are at least five major sections of cool rock formations, ranging from 20’-50’ high, most located in the first six miles and most lining the water itself. This trip is possibly the most scenic anywhere on the Pine River. The river is narrow and creek-like, winding all the time, always alluring. There are deep pools by the rock walls, so I can imagine the fishing to be pretty good. The water quality isn’t great but it's clear and shale-gray in some sections, typical of Driftless streams. The only trouble is that between the Highway 80 bridge by County Road SR and the bridge at County Road AA, you'll find lots of downed trees.

What I didn't like:
Let me back up some before I delve into this dislikes. Before we even drove to Richland County I had told my friends (had assured them) that a new local outfitter had cleaned up the tangled section from Highway 80 to County Road AA. Pine River Paddle and Tube reached out to us last year, after we reported on the ugly logjam monsters and told us they had cleared it all up. Sweet, let’s go! I thought. When I paddled this last year it took me 3.5 hours to paddle 10.5 miles. This time around, going at a slower pace and two of us in a canoe, I thought it would take 4-5 hours but maybe even less since there should be no obstructions slowing us down.

As we were putting in at the county park in Rockbridge a friendly woman came up to us and started chatting. Turns out, her great grandparents owned the land on which the county park now sits but that’s another story. She asked us how far down we were going and when I told her AA, she seemed to chuckle and then ominously mentioned that when she paddles that same stretch with her girlfriends it takes them about 7 hours. Yeah, yeah, whatever I thought; we were younger and experienced paddlers. I inquired about local efforts cleaning up the deadfall. She allowed that yes, a local outfitter does go through but they leave a lot of it intact in order to preserve the natural setting. OK, we all thought, that’s cool. And so we set off.

Almost immediately, just past the first bridge at Highway 80, about 100 yards from the put-in, there’s a whole lot of crap to dodge, duck, slow down and hope for the best. The two in the canoe gave me that look of what are you getting us into? Six hours later, I wondered the same. Six hours!?! We were only one hour faster than a bunch of grannies!

We encountered a ton of crap in the water, a lot of it totally non-negotiable. Yes, there were indications of sawed off limbs and so forth but the cuts and clearing seemed arbitrary at best. For instance, if you’re going through the trouble of cutting back nasty branches with the potential for even nastier strainers, then why for the love of all things holy not cut it all the way back? Why saw off a limb midway through and not at the base of the trunk? I then started thinking about this allusion (illusion?) of preserving the natural setting by not removing the whole tree. That’s great and all if you’re way away up in northern Wisconsin in a pristine setting or a protected wildlife setting for beavers or bird habitat or whatever. But the Pine River basically runs parallel to Highway 80 during this entire trip, so what does preserving a natural setting have to do with highway traffic never out of earshot?

This trip was pretty awful in a canoe (we all swapped boats midway through the trip). The Pine is just too twisty and there’s just too much damn shit in the already narrow stream to make canoeing fun. You really want to paddle this in a kayak.

The upshot: In the first report on this section I warned about two low-clearance bridges that would be “impossible to pass under in a canoe.” Well, I was wrong about that. Having first run this in April last year, the water must have been much higher. Still though, I strongly discourage paddling this in a canoe. Moreover, I don’t want there to be bad blood or vibes in the paddling community. Before writing up this trip report I checked the Facebook page of Pine River Paddle and Tube, and the most recent message on 8/7/14, stated this:

"Section 3 (Hwy SR/80 Bridge to Hwy AA Bridge) is now in great shape for kayaking and is able to now be used by Canoes as well!! Josh Cunningham and I took a 7 hour pass through the section and removed all of the ducking points. Places that we passed up before due to danger were taken out. This provides you with better options. Starting at Hwy D now gives you a 3-4 hour option with a very nice landing area to finish at!! Thanks for your patience. Check it out this weekend."

Well, dog my cat. So maybe we missed this by two weeks. Maybe we just happened to catch the Pine during a bad time. I don’t know. Timing is everything when paddling. I offer all of this for the reader to make her own best-informed choice. The Pine is a great river and absolutely worth the drive. Whatever obstructions there are also are worth the effort. But do plan accordingly and give yourself a lot of time before paddling this section and at least mentally prepare for getting dirty and wet, even if you don’t in the end.

One last thing, my friends the avid canoeists, told me the following day that they were going to sell their canoe and buy kayaks instead. My intention was not to evangelize kayaks at the expense of canoes but I took this as a good conclusion to what I worried had been a bad experience. Nope, they loved the paddle and took it all in good stride (even though one, in my 15’ kayak, tipped over after running into a tree and got awfully wet).

If I did this trip again:
I love this stretch of the Pine River, so yes, it will be done again in future. Not in a canoe though. And not starting mid-afternoon! I wouldn't take newbies on this either. While the current is slack, there are too many tight turns and obstructions, plus it's a long day of paddling. But otherwise this is a great trip that gets a strong endorsement.

Related Information
Pine River I: Rockbridge to County Road AA
Pine River II: Richland Center to Twin Bluffs Road
Camp: Pier Natural Bridge Park
Outfitter: Pine River Paddle and Tube
Overview: PaddleAway


View Pine River in a larger map

Shuttle Information:
Just shy of 6 miles, though all of it on Highway 80. There’s little traffic on the road but vehicles will pass by pretty fast, so if you find this intimidating, you may want to shuttle via car instead of bicycle.

Photo Gallery:

Narrow, intimate and hilly.

The first of many more exposed rock outcrops.

Many of the rock formations jut out into the water.

Slow-going in a canoe through the tight twists and down trees.

Probably a good rule of thumb is that when the length of your boat is more than half the width of a stream, it's too big!

Curious cows.

Rolling Driftless hills usually in the distance.

Another good reason not to canoe the upper Pine.


Trying to go over a submerged log.

The most magnificent of rock formations just upstream of the Highway 80 bridge near the County Road SR intersection.

Cool early-evening mist on the river.
8/12/2014 4 comments

Honey Creek

County Road O to Ferry Bluff Landing
☆ ☆

A pleasant enough stream meandering around the Baraboo Range, unfortunately there are way too many portages to make this a recommendable paddle.

Good glimpse of Loddes Mill Bluff.

By Timothy Corcoran Bauer
A Miles Paddled contributor

July 25, 2014

Class Difficulty:

2.4' per mile


County Road O, Sauk County, Wisconsin
Ferry Bluff public landing, Wisconsin River

Time: Put in at 1:10p. Out at 3:35p.
Total Time: 2h 25m
Miles Paddled: 5.5

Wildlife: Sandhill cranes, deer, cardinals and geese.
Time worth driving to: 30 minutes (if you love portaging)

Despite its name, there is nothing sweet about this creek. “Bittersweet” is probably a better way of describing it. If you look at a map and see Honey Creek, how big it is and where it courses through Sauk County, it’s easy to wonder/hope/expect it to hold a lot of promise, particularly the downstream section where it passes past not one but two beautiful bluffs that are designated state natural areas: Lodde’s Mill Bluff and Ferry Bluff.

That said, don’t fall for it, unless portaging a dozen times in 5-ish miles is your idea of fun. Besides, the bluffs are better by boot than boat and there’s nearly no specific detail that can be discerned from the water, just the general idea of “oh, there’s a big hill out of nowhere.” I’ve had this creek on my curiosity list for years now but it’s crossed off, finished and never to be repeated. It ain’t worth the pain in the ass. Not in a kayak but absolutely positively definitely not in a canoe! It’s too narrow and the obstructions, too many.

What I liked:
The water is mostly clear (not crystal clear but clean) with a lovely sandy bottom. Random sand banks and even sand bars are dotted along the trip. Where the creek flows through wooded sections, it’s very intimate and pretty but terribly neglected. Thus, you will run into lots and lots of deadfall.

The open sections provide for a nice break from the ducking, dodging and portaging. It's in these parts you'll be rewarded with a handful of views of the lovely rolling landscape. After three miles, the creek rounds the base of Lodde’s Mill Bluff. Maybe the view is better in early spring or late autumn, without leaves on the trees, but I was disappointed. There were no exposed rock outcrops, no discernible features, etc. Cool that it’s there but it’s more of an intellectual appreciation (knowing that it’s there and then confirming it once you see it), rather than an emotional one (seeing it with that jaw-dropping “holy shit, that’s pretty!” kind of feeling).

To be sure, there is a feeling or a reckoning beyond the realm of words that is paddling below a 300’-high bluff that is 500 million years old. Hang on a second, because when figures like those are casually thrown around they’re easy to slide past the mind’s more acute sensibility. Let’s put this in perspective for a second (no pun intended). The scientific consensus is that the Grand Canyon is a wee young thing of 6 million years. Dinosaurs only reared their Jurassic faces around 200 million years ago. Half a billion years is very, very old indeed. Granted, that awe is compromised somewhat when the water is too shallow to float on or there is yet another godforsaken downed tree to portage. But for a paddle lacking in some other choice factors, the dumbstruck awe of geological time is a pretty good standby.

The take-out for this trip is at the base of Ferry Bluff, which is one of the single prettiest hills on the entire lower Wisconsin River. If you have the time, (hint: you should make the time for this!) leave your boats by the launch and hike up the trail to one of two lookout points offering gorgeous views of southwestern Wisconsin. From here you can see Columbia, Dane and Iowa counties, including the bluff at the Battle of Wisconsin Heights, Blue Mounds and even a hint of a rather bare beach in the Mazomanie area… Just don’t try this from November to April, the trail is closed due to bald eagle nesting.

What I didn't like:
This is a narrow stream tucked in the nooks of the Baraboo Hills serviced by no one, so one can expect a lot of deadfall. A lot a lot. I had anticipated this, so I was not at all surprised to have to get out of my boat and portage only a couple hundred yards after putting in. So it’s gonna be one of those days, I told myself.

But the section in between the put-in and Highway 60 was surprisingly not too bad. So much so, actually, that it lulled me into thinking that the downstream stretch from Highway 60 to the take-out at Ferry Bluff and the confluence with the Wisconsin River would be a piece of cake. It should be wider and deeper, after all, right? Wrong – very wrong. That section was suck city, pure and simple.

Even to the very end, the water is shallow almost to the point of futility. Huh? Why? And here too is where apparently a memo went out long ago telling the trees to just give up, die, and fall into the water bank-to-bank. I stopped counting after 10, no longer amused or in the mood. To put it another way, it took me 80 minutes to paddle the 3.5 miles from County Road O to Highway 60 but 75 mins to paddle/portage the 1.9 miles from O to the take-out.

If I did this trip again:
Hell no! Not only do I not recommend this trip, I’d advise against paddling it. There’s just no point. What fleeting attractions it has can be found in greater abundance without the fuss and frustration on other nearby streams. I’m glad I personally paddled it, since it’s been on the list for years but it’s crossed out and not to be done again.

Related Information
Wikipedia: Honey Creek


View Honey Creek in a larger map

Shuttle Information:
A pretty 4.5-mile bike ride or drive through hilly farms.

Photo Gallery:

Ninja-style put-in.

Double downfall portage only a hundred yards from the put-in!

...And some more portaging not long after that.

When not portaging, the surrounding landscape is pretty.

You learn to love these open spaces absent of trees!

Random twin swings serving as eerie high-water mark.

Cool paint stains on eroded mud banks.


Surprisingly very clear water.

Cool mossy log.

Downstream view of Loddes Mill Bluff.

After the Hwy 60 bridge, the deadfall portages are ridiculous.

Confluence with the Wisconsin River.

Looking west (downstream) on the Wisconsin River with Ferry Bluff on right.

Ferry Bluff - a great hiking trail leads to the top.

Ferry Bluff landing.

Possibly the best part of this trip is this shot: being done!


Fun and informative.