Maunesha River
★ ★

Maunesha River V

By on April 8, 2015

County Road TT to Canal Road
☆ ☆

A sluggish trip upstream and down to the interior of the Deansville Marsh and subsequent mile of the Maunesha River before the lake impoundment caused by the dam in Marshall. This trip is only for rugged enthusiasts who don’t mind portaging and dodging deadfall in near-stagnant water.

Date:
April 5, 2015

Class Difficulty:
Flatwater

Gauge:
n/a

Recommended Levels:
Water levels are almost always reliable for this trip.

Put-In:
County Road TT, Deansville, Wisconsin
Take-Out:
Canal Road, Marshall, Wisconsin

Time: Put in at 2:40p. Out at 4:40p.
Total Time: 2h
Miles Paddled: 5.25

Wildlife: Sandhill cranes, great blue herons, a bald eagle, tons of turtles, lots of wood ducks, scores of songbirds and two elusive hooded mergansers.
Time worth driving to: 30-45 minutes (if at all)

This was one of those days were just about nothing goes your way. Originally my plan was to start at Twin Lane Road and paddle one-way to Canal Road, a modest jaunt of 7 miles. I had used Twin Lane Road as the take-out for upstream trips of the Maunesha River before, so I knew it would be shallow and prone to obstructions. I just didn’t know how shallow or clogged it would be. After bottoming out ten feet from putting-in and portaging less than 100 yards from my car, (with nothing in sight ahead but more ugly downed trees and shallow water) I decided to bail, a first for me.

OK, I reasoned, I’ll just regroup and put in at the next bridge downstream, only 1.3 river miles away. Heck, this might even save me time (at least a lot of energy) and I wouldn’t end up looking like Pig-Pen from Peanuts after lots of portaging and sawing off tree limbs. Great idea in theory but each side of the bridge at Greenway Road is marked with “No Trespassing” signs and the presumed associated property owners’ houses are all right there. So that bridge is a non-option.

Not one to be easily stymied, I then drove up the road to the nearest public parking area into the Deansville State Wildlife Area in hopes that I could hike in to the river itself and commando launch. Not so much. After 10 minutes of stomping across a wasteland of down trees, brambles, rocks and thistles only to find a drainage ditch, I gave up trying to find passage to the Maunesha (in retrospect, I now know it’s a 0.4-mile walk to the river from the parking area, still a long schlep to paddle a shallow marsh). I wasn’t about to delve even deeper into a pathless woods with a 50-pound kayak on my shoulder, thank you very much.

So in the end, running out of options, I decided to put in at County Rd TT and paddle upstream (something I am loathe to do) as far into the marsh as I could, or would want to, turn around, paddle down the same way I came, past the put-in and down to the takeout a mile or so later.

What we liked:
At the put-in there is a pleasant woodsy backdrop with a couple rugged cabins on both banks (one a quaint hermitage narrower than the length of the canoe just outside of it). As much as I dislike paddling upstream, the current is so slack it’s none too strenuous – it just feels wrong. Some paddlers probably have no problem about this and don’t think twice about paddling upstream. Call me pampered, but I just find paddling upstream a perversion of the natural order. Who wants to go deliberately against the flow? The flow! It’s like intentionally violating the force in Star Wars. It’s like purposefully undermining the Tao. It’s like running backwards up a hill. It’s like playing catch with your feet. It just ain’t right.

Anyway, the marsh is indeed lovely. It’s nowhere as large or surpassing as Horicon, Necedah, or even Grand Marshes but it’s quite pretty nonetheless and generally undeveloped (you’ll pass a dozen or so drainage ditches gouged into the banks, not to mention the occasional deer stand, but being so close to Madison, it feels like a PG-13 wilderness). The wildlife was quite pleasant here – nothing I haven’t seen before or elsewhere but still much appreciated. There were cranes, great blue herons, a bald eagle, tons of turtles and lots of wood ducks. The choragic chirping of songbirds in surround sound was an especially welcome harbinger of spring!

And this has nothing to do with the river itself but there’s a nearby road called Berlin Road where a section of it courses the perimeter of the wildlife area that is so cool in that rustic, countrified way. It’s unpaved, first of all, and an isthmus-like strip of it is flanked on both sides by water (canals, drainage ditches?). It has the look and feel of somewhere exotic. That such a back-in-time stretch lies still within Dane County, 10 miles away from the Red Lobster and Applebee’s at East Towne Mall is downright charming.

What we didn’t like:
To begin with, the accesses… or lack thereof. What’s the deal with the landowners of Greenway Road? It’s the Maunesha River surrounded by cow country… how many people are really storming the bridge here? It’s so shallow and obstructed, I can’t imagine paddlers or anglers come here often, if ever. It’s not a swimming hole. I don’t get what the hostility is about.

Then there’s the obstructions, oh the obstructions. We at Miles Paddled haven’t worked out an exact ratio of obstructions/portages worth putting up with per trip divided by perks like scenic beauty, cool rock formations, rapids, etc, but I think a modest corollary would be like 2:1. If there’s something truly good, I’d be willing to endure two inconveniences for each individual charm but the trouble one often runs into is when the inconveniences greatly outweigh the good, or worse – when there’s hardly any good because all one can see are the detriments.

For me, this trip had more bad than good. None of it was awful by any stretch. But the payoff was wanting. I paddled 1/3 of the way upstream into the marsh before deciding that I’d had enough. It got to a point where fallen trees were as far the eye could see and since I would be going back down the same way I came up, every portage was double. After four I’d had my fill. Besides, I didn’t know what to expect once I paddled back downstream and past the put-in. For all I knew, there could be more crap to contend with beyond the marsh. Turns out there is, but it was all negotiable – in a kayak at least (earlier in the day I talked to a guy who’d tried canoeing from the takeout upstream the river but could not get through the railroad trestles (there are two), where there’s a bunch of gunky junk – a loose debris of logs and lumber, pond scum, duck weed, no current, etc.) Houses are more prominent below the put-in too. In fact, except for a brief but attractive hill you pass, there’s very little one would describe as attractive in between County Road TT and Canal Road.

If we did this trip again:
If the marsh were more accessible and clear, I’d paddle up and back down it, putting in and taking out at County Road TT, without going downstream to Canal Road. There is a genuine serenity to the marsh landscape and its abandons that invite the admiring paddler, but the cluttered obstructions together with the poor accesses make this more work than it’s worth. For me at least. I’m not at all discouraging folks from checking this out. Just know what to expect beforehand.

Upon reflection, there’s a saying that to a hammer all the world’s a nail, meaning that a hammer really has only one purpose – to strike nails (oh I know that handyman and -woman enthusiasts will protest that a hammer can be used for dozens of purposes but I didn’t invent this expression, so let’s not argue about it). The same can be said about paddlers, right? To a kayaker and canoeist, every stream looks like a potential trip. No matter how daunting, dangerous, or dumb. We can’t help it, it’s how we’re oriented. You cross a bridge and you look out the side to see what the body of water looks like and whether it can be paddled. But not everything should be paddled, even if it can be.

At the risk of offering some varnished rationalization of a trip gone awry, I find it comforting that there remain huge tracts of land and water left to the domain of wings, rodents and mammals, without paddlers, bird-watcher’s with binocs, fishermen with flies or bait and hunters with their rifles. We’re not lacking in navigable public streams and lakes here in Wisconsin. This trip is for the birds, as it should be.

***************
Related Information:
Maunesha River I: Waterloo Road to Firemen’s Park
Maunesha River II: Elder Lane to Twin Lake Road
Maunesha River III: Waterloo to Portland
Maunesha River IV: Elder Lane to Twin Lake Road
Maunesha River VI: Marshall to Firemen’s Park
Good People: Capitol Water Trails
Good People: Maunesha River Alliance
Maps: Capitol Water Trails
Wiki: Maunesha River

Map:


Shuttle Information:

1.3 miles.

Photo Gallery:

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Namekagon River

Namekagon River
7.16-7.19.15 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
County Road K to Riverside

Neenah Creek

Neenah Creek
4.19.15 | ☆ ☆
County Road EE to Oxford

Nippersink Creek (IL)

Nippersink Creek
11.3.13 | ☆ ☆ ☆
Richmond to Spring Grove

Oconomowoc River

Oconomowoc River III
6.4.17 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Monches to Okauchee Lake

Oconomowoc River II
4.8.17 | ☆ ☆ ☆
Wisconsin Avenue to Fowler Lake Park

Oconomowoc River I
6.25.11 | ☆ ☆ ☆
Concord Road to County Road P

Old Pearl River (LA)

Old Pearl River
4.3.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Crawford Landing Road to Indian Village Road

Onion River

Onion River II
10.11.16 | ☆ ☆ ☆
County Road A to County Road V

Onion River I
9.23.16 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
County Road V to Sheboygan Falls

Pecatonica River

Pecatonica River IV
5.20.16 | ☆ ☆ ☆
Mifflin to Jones Branch Road

Pecatonica River III
4.16.15 | ☆ ☆ ☆
Brownton to Winslow

Pecatonica River II
11.15.13 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Darlington to Red Rock

Pecatonica River I
6.16.12 | ☆ ☆ ☆
Calamine to Darlington

Pecatonica River: East Branch

Pecatonica River: East Branch V
5.2.15 | ☆ ☆ ☆
Woodford to Highway 11

Pecatonica River: East Branch IV
4.11.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆
Argyle to Blackhawk Memorial County Park

Pecatonica River: East Branch III
3.16.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆
Highway HK to Hollandale

Pecatonica River: East Branch II
11.19.13 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Hollandale to Blanchardville

Pecatonica River: East Branch I
9.29.12 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Blanchardville to Argyle

Peshekee River (MI)

Peshekee River
8.31.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆
Peshekee Grade to 3-Mile Mark

Peshtigo River

Peshtigo River
9.2.12 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Burnt Bridge to Goodman Park

Pigeon River

Pigeon River
12.5.15 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
County Road J to Lake Michigan

Pine River

Pine River (Lincoln)
9.7.15 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Center Road to County Road W

Pine River III (Richland)
7.26.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Rockbridge to County Road AA

Pine River II (Richland)
5.12.13 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Krouskop Park to Twin Bluffs Road

Pine River I (Richland)
4.7.13 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Rockbridge to County Road AA

Piscasaw Creek (IL)

Piscasaw Creek III
4.17.17 | ☆ ☆
Denny Road to Squaw Prairie Road

Piscasaw Creek II
4.12.17 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Streit Road to Denny Road

Piscasaw Creek I
4.9.17 | ☆ ☆ ☆
Maxon Road to Streit Road

Platte River

Platte River Overview
Our Guide to the Platte River

Platte River V
3.27.16 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
County Road A to Platte Road

Platte River IV
10.28.13 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Big Platte Road to Indian Creek Road

Platte River III
11.10.13 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Platte Road to Big Platte Road

Platte River II
9.22.12 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Ellenboro to Platte Road

Platte River I
6.19.11 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Ellenboro to County Road B

Plover River

Plover River
5.19.13 | ☆ ☆ ☆
Jordan Park to Iverson Park

Prairie River

Prairie River II
5.27.17 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
County Road C to Stange’s Park

Prairie River I
11.17.12 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Haymeadow Creek to Prairie Road

Puchyan River

Puchyan River
04.19.15 | ☆ ☆
County Road J to Huckleberry Road

Red River

Red River
12.9.12 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Gresham to County Road A

Red Cedar River

Red Cedar River
5.30.15 | ☆ ☆ ☆
Menomonie to Downsville

Robinson Creek

Robinson Creek II
5.7.17 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Old County Road I to Kelly Road

Robinson Creek I
7.8.12 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Old County Road I to Kelly Road

Rock Creek

Rock Creek
3.26.16 | ☆ ☆ ☆
Lake Mills to Millford

Rock River

Rock River IV
7.16.16 | ☆ ☆ ☆
Watertown to Johnson Creek

Rock River III
9.27.15 | ☆ ☆ ☆
Kanow Park to County Road P

Rock River II
9.21.13 | ☆ ☆ ☆
Janesville to Beloit

Rock River I (IL)
8.4.13 | ☆ ☆ ☆
Oregon to Dixon

Root River

Root River
8.2.13 | ☆ ☆
5 Mile Road to Horlick Dam

Root River: South Branch (MN)

Root River: South Branch
9.20.16 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Highway 5 to Preston Trailhead Park

Rubicon River

Rubicon River
5.27.15 | ☆ ☆
Saylesville to Neosho

Seeley Creek

Seeley Creek
5.4.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆
Seeley Lake to Hatchery Road

Six Mile Creek

Six Mile Creek
6.7.14 | ☆
Waunakee Village Park to South Woodland Drive

Spring Creek

Spring Creek
4.20.13 | ☆ ☆ ☆
Fair Street to County Road V

St. Croix River

St. Croix River II
8.11.12 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Osceola to Somerset Landing

St. Croix River I
8.8.10 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
St. Croix Falls to Osceola

Starkweather Creek

Starkweather Creek
6.08 | ☆
Yahara River to Highway 30

Sugar Creek

Sugar Creek II
4.17.17 | ☆
Bowers Road to State Road 120

Sugar Creek I
4.15.17 | ☆ ☆ ☆
County Road ES to Bowers Road

Sugar River

Sugar River Overview
Our Guide to the Sugar River

Sugar River XI
11.15.15 | ☆ ☆ ☆
Attica to Albany

Sugar River X
10.4.15 | ☆ ☆ ☆
Highway 69 to County Road A

Sugar River IX
3.28.15 | ☆ ☆ ☆
County Road A to Belleville

Sugar River VIII
9.6.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Brodhead to Avon

Sugar River VII
9.14.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆
Riverside Road to Paoli

Sugar River VI
5.18.14 | ☆ ☆
Albany to Brodhead

Sugar River V (IL)
9.14.13 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Colored Sands Forest Preserve to North Meridian Road

Sugar River IV
8.11.13 | ☆ ☆ ☆
County Road X to County Road EE

Sugar River III
7.22.11 | ☆
Valley Road to Paoli

Sugar River II
7.3.11 | ☆
Paoli to Belleville

Sugar River I
6.9.12 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Belleville to County Road X

Token Creek

Token Creek III
5.22.11 | ☆
Token Creek County Park to Cherokee Park

Token Creek II
8.22.09 | ☆ ☆
Token Creek County Park to Cherokee Park

Token Creek I
5.2.09 | ☆ ☆ ☆
Token Creek County Park to Cherokee Park

Tomorrow River

Tomorrow River
7.4.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Rolling Hills Road to Amherst

Trappe River

Trappe River
8.2.15 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
County Road WW to Wisconsin River Road

Trempealeau River

Trempealeau River II
9.27.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Highway 35 to Perrot State Park

Trempealeau River I
8.16.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆
Whitehall to Independence

Turtle Creek

Turtle Creek Overview
Our Guide to Turtle Creek

Turtle Creek VI
3.20.16 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Fairfield to Sweet-Allyn Park

Turtle Creek V
6.21.15 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
School Section Road to O’Riley Road

Turtle Creek IV
6.19.15 | ☆ ☆ ☆
Springs Park to School Section Road

Turtle Creek III
7.14.13 | ☆ ☆ ☆
O’Riley Road to Sweet-Allyn Park

Turtle Creek II
7.13.13 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Sweet-Allyn Park to Dickop Street

Turtle Creek I
8.6.11 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Sweet-Allyn Park to Dickop Street

Upper Iowa River (IA)

Upper Iowa River II
5.29.17 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Kendallville to Bluffton

Upper Iowa River I
5.24.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Chimney Rock Road to Bluffton Road

Waupaca River

Waupaca River VI
6.2.17 | ☆ ☆ ☆
Weyauwega to Decker Memorial Park

Waupaca River V
10.24.15 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Amherst to Durrant Road

Waupaca River IV
4.12.15 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
County Highway Q to Brainards Bridge Park

Waupaca River III
9.22.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆
County Highway DD to County Highway Q

Waupaca River II
7.7.12 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
County Highway Q to Brainards Bridge Park

Waupaca River I
7.9.11 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
County Highway Q to Brainards Bridge Park

Wausau Whitewater Park

Wausau Whitewater Park
7.13.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Wausau, Wisconsin

Wedges Creek

Wedges Creek
9.20.11 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Middle Road to Black River Lodge Resort

White River

White River III (Walworth)
3.12.16 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Sheridan Springs Road to Lyons

White River (Waushara)
11.1.15 | ☆ ☆ ☆
County Road YY to Czech Lane

White River (Bayfield)
8.16.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Maple Ridge Road to Highway 112

White River II (Walworth)
6.30.13 | ☆ ☆ ☆
Sheridan Springs Road to Wagner Park

White River I (Walworth)
5.15.10 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Sheridan Springs Road to Lyons

Wisconsin River

Lower Wisconsin River
…………………………………

Lower Wisconsin Overview
Our Guide to the Lower Wisconsin Riverway

Wisconsin River VIII
6.22-6.23.13 | ☆ ☆ ☆
Lone Rock to Muscoda

Wisconsin River IV
9.4-9.5.10 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Prairie Du Sac to Arena

Wisconsin River III
5.29-5.31.10 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Arena to Gotham

Wisconsin River II
9.5-9.7.09 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Gotham to Boscobel

Wisconsin River I
8.22-8.24.08 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Boscobel to Wyalusing State Park

Middle Wisconsin River
…………………………………

Wisconsin River XV
7.11.17 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Castle Rock Dam to Lyndon Station

Wisconsin River XIV
10.11.15 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
River Bay Road to Norway Drive

Wisconsin River XIII
6.13.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆
Pine Island to Portage

Wisconsin River XI
4.22.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Portage to Dekorra

Wisconsin River IX
10.13.13 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Lyndon Station to Wisconsin Dells

Wisconsin River VII
8.6.11 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Wisconsin Dells to Norway Drive

Wisconsin River VI
8.15.11 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Dekorra to Whalen Bay

Wisconsin River V
6.1.11 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Lyndon Station to Wisconsin Dells

Upper Wisconsin River
…………………………………

Wisconsin River XII
5.11.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Grandfather Dam to Lokemoen Road

Wisconsin River X
12.2.13 | ☆ ☆ ☆
Pine River to Texas

Wolf River

Wolf River III
9.6.15 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Lily to Hollister

Wolf River II
9.5.15 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
County Road A to Lily

Wolf River I
8.29.09 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Lily to Langlade

Yahara River

Yahara River Overview
Our Guide to the Yahara River

Yahara River XII
7.16.17 | ☆ ☆ ☆
Veterans Memorial Park to Windsor Road

Yahara River XI
4.19.16 | ☆ ☆
Windsor to Highway 113

Yahara River X
3.7.15 | ☆ ☆ ☆
Mud Lake to Lake Kegonsa

Yahara River IX
12.14.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆
Stoughton to Stebbinsville Road

Yahara River VIII
12.13.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆
Lake Kegonsa to Stoughton

Yahara River VII
7.22.13 | ☆ ☆
Veterans Memorial Park to Windsor Road

Yahara River VI
7.14.13 | ☆ ☆ ☆
Stebbensville Road to County Road H

Yahara River V
5.25.13 | ☆ ☆ ☆
Veterans Memorial Park to Windsor Road

Yahara River IV
6.6.12 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Murwin County Park to Janesville

Yahara River III
7.13.10 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Stebbensville Road to Murwin County Park

Yahara River II
9.08 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Stebbensville Road to County Road H

Yahara River I
8.08 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Stebbensville Road to Murwin County Park

Yellow Creek (IL)

Yellow Creek
4.19.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Bolton Road to Krape Park

Yellow River

Yellow River (Taylor)
8.31.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Miller Dam to County Road H

Yellow River (IA)

Yellow River II
5.6.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Old Sixteen Road to Highway 76

Yellow River I
5.5.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Highway X16 to Old Sixteen Road

Zumbro River (MN)

Zumbro River
6.1.15 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Zumbro Falls to Millville


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