FAQ

We’ve received many questions throughout the years and figured it was time to collect the common ones and give them a home.

Who is Miles Paddled anyway?
We’re a just a bunch of fans of paddling, who started out as friends and then the blog made us new friends and now we’re all just friends in paddling. As far as the main authors? It’s just two guys, Barry and Timothy, both of us in Madison, Wisconsin.)

Before you quit your day jobs and do this for a living, what is it that you guys actually do for a living?
Neither of us know what the other does, we just want to know if the other can go kayaking this weekend.

What’s with the Star Rating?
From day one, the star rating was something we found useful as a “quick-glance” indicator of how well we liked a paddle.

Generally speaking, 5 stars indicates the trip is spectacular in every sense – great water, surroundings, wildlife, etc. 4 stars typically means that the trip is still spectacular, but the water might be too low (or high), an access might not be ideal, or that there are some downed trees or barbed wires. 3 stars means a very pleasant trip but not necessarily a spectacular one. 2 stars means there’s a lot of nuisances (usually obstructions) or dangers or quite frankly, it was boring as hell. 1 star – and there are only very few of these – means don’t even think about wasting your time on this trip.

We have no trips with 0 stars. We believe every day on the water is better still than one at work.

Why do you have multiple reports for the same river?
We post trip reports versus overviews because every day, month and especially year, the weather and mother nature changes the course of rivers and creeks. Every paddling trip is different, so with each new report comes new information and we find this to be the most accurate way of being current (pun, semi-intended).

The old saying is spot-on true: you never paddle the same river twice. Not only do conditions change but our perceptions do as well. Sometimes our first exposure to a place is underappreciated but something’s different the second time and we fall in love with a place. Then again, sometimes our second exposure doesn’t match up to that first time (saying nothing of the nostalgia factor). Doing multiple reports also teaches us about water levels and how a familiar stream feels when it’s low, high or ideal. (See question below on “water levels.”)

Why Trip Reports vs. a Guide?
See above.

Are the water levels you post based on ideal levels or what you paddled them at?
What we paddled it at. Essentially, it’s a frame of reference. In the detailed trip descriptions we mention whether the water was low, high, or just right at the time we paddled it. This information is based on what we have personally experienced without speculating. The more exposure we have to a certain stream at various levels, the more comprehensive our recommendation becomes. Additionally, we cross-reference other paddling websites and guidebooks for recommended levels.

For a comprehensive guide to how we reference water levels (and this question), please check out our feature “How to Gauge Wisconsin Water Levels”.

Why don’t you always report on upstream and downstream sections?
First rule of Miles Paddled: No speculation (well, maybe not the first rule but it should be because it’s a good one).

Speculation is useless information. Unless we or someone we know has done something recently, it’s outdated. Uninformed information can be dangerous and/or make for a bad day on the water. We always strive to provide as much information as possible, as long as we have a source to cite. We’re not journalists or anything but we do take this blog seriously. Chances are if we’ve paddled anywhere, we’ve written about it on this site.

There are trips that Timothy did before discovering the interwebs, as well as a lot of new material included in his forthcoming paddling guidebook that is not currently on the site (yet). So if we know of a stretch up- or downstream from the specific area we’re covering, we’ll mention it. If we don’t, we won’t. We’re not speculators either.

What’s this about Timothy’s book? Is it out? How can I buy it?
In spite of Timothy being allergic to self-promotion, we’re still going to get the word out about his book. The long and the short of it is a paddling guidebook featuring 60 individual trips within 60 miles of Madison.

Timothy reached out to one publisher in the spring of 2014 and pitched the idea. The good news is it was accepted – much to his surprise and delight. The “bad” news was it then meant he had to research and write a whole book between that summer and the following spring of 2015 to meet deadline – not to mention that pesky down time called winter in Wisconsin. But he’s not called “the Fanatic” for nothing.

We’re happy to say that the book, Canoeing & Kayaking South Central Wisconsin, finally saw the light of day on August 15, 2016 and is available on Amazon.com.

What boats do you recommend?
We can only really recommend the boats in our fleet. That consists of a Wilderness Systems Tsunami 140, Perception Expression 145, a Necky Manitou 13 (all three are great for touring) and two Pyranha Fusions (great for creeking and whitewater). Unless we’re in the market for a new boat, we rarely keep up on the latest and greatest.

How do you get back to your car?
If we don’t car shuttle (wherein, two people each drive a car) we bike-shuttle. Sometimes we shuttle before the paddle and sometimes after – it just depends on the direction we’re coming from.

For example, if we drive to the takeout first because it’s closer relative the drive to the river from home, then we’ll drop off a bike there, lock it up, drive to the put-in and paddle down to the bike at the takeout. Then unlock the bike, lock the boat and pedal back to the car. This is preferable in that we do these trips to paddle, not pedal; the bicycling is just a means to that end.

And in the event that we’re starting our trip late, if we had to choose between paddling or pedaling in the dark, we’d opt for the latter (except for that one time after paddling the Peshtigo – man, that was awful!). Besides, after sitting in a boat for 2-5 hours, it’s nice to use one’s legs afterward. The other benefit to bike-shuttling after paddling is if you have to bail on a trip shortly after putting in, either because the weather turns for the worse or there are just too many obstructions in the river or because you remembered that today is your anniversary, then you can paddle back to the car, rather than get back on your bike and do two shuttles and no paddling.

That said, if your drive to the river destination takes you to the put-in first, it just makes more sense to drop off your boat and gear then and there, drive to the takeout, leave your car there, bike back up to the put-in, lock up your bike, paddle down to your car, etc. Otherwise you drive an extra trip unnecessarily – which, given how much a carbon footprint paddling already has with respect to driving to these destinations, we strive to avoid.

Do you lock your kayak up and if so, where?
This is usually the followup question to bike-shuttles. We each have extra long cable locks and attach them differently to our boats. There’s always a tree or a sign or something to lock it to. Or sometimes, you can just hide the boat under a bridge or in some bushes. The only thing we’ve ever had stolen throughout the years is a water bottle (about which Timothy is still a little miffed, mostly out of disbelief – “who steals water bottles?!?”). Update (12.23.15): We did have a boat stolen – but it wasn’t locked up. And it was an emotionally disturbing ordeal.

Can you recommend any places to canoe-camp?
The Lower Wisconsin River is of course, a gem, that offers camping on islands and sandbars between Prairie du Sac and the Mississippi river.

Other options with first-come, first-served camping are the Lower Black River, the Bois-Brule, the Brule River on the Wisconsin side (Michigan being the other) within the National Forest, the Chippewa River, the Flambeau, the Kickapoo, the Lemonweir (in between the interstate and the Wisconsin River), the Manitowish, the Mississippi, the Namekagon, the Oconto, the Peshtigo*, the Pine* and Popple* in Forest County, and the Upper St. Croix. Both the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage in Iron County and the Northern Highland American Legion State Forest in Vilas and Oneida Counties offer paddle-only sites (they’re like Wisconsin’s smaller version of Sylvania and the Boundary Waters, respectively).

For a sea kayaking-take, some of the Apostle Islands on Lake Superior have primitive campsites. On Lake Michigan there are two state parks one can essentially paddle to (after reserving and checking in): Newport and Rock Island. Similarly, one can paddle to boat-only sites at Buckhorn and Brunett Island State Parks. There are probably other options around the state as well that we simply don’t know about. Know something we don’t? Inform us!

*As long as you are on National Forest land. Some of the land is private property, which should be posted.

What is your season?
One of us has a season, the other paddles all year long.

Do you paddle in winter?
Timothy does and he swears it doesn’t suck. As long as you drink your beer before it freezes, I guess.

What do you wear for cold-weather paddling?
At the risk of shilling product endorsements (at least not until the first royalty check clears in the bank) here’s what Timothy generally wears for cold water paddling:

Feet: Waterproof boots with one or two pairs of thick-ass wool socks.
Legs: A good base layer underneath a pair of solid denim pants.
Torso: Base layer, a sweater or two and a waterproof (or at least water-repellant) jacket.
Head: Knit cap (mostly for the ears).
Hands: Fleece mittens inside neoprene mittens.

If there’s a likelihood of getting wet (rapids, for example), then the outfit would be totally different and consist of the following:

Feet: Neoprene boots and neoprene socks.
Legs: Neoprene pants (either alone or underneath water-repellant ski pants).
Torso: Base layers under a neoprene jacket.
Head: Neoprene “dome cap.”
Hands: Fleece mittens inside neoprene mittens.

(You might say the secret is neoprene.)

For a great quick-start guide to winter paddling, check out this video.

Will you review my/our gear?
We review gear as long as we’re able to actually try/test it out.

We’re a big brand corporation that wants to shower you in gear and sponsorships, are you interested
Alright, we’ve never been asked this but we’d certainly be open to discussing it!

Can I contribute?
Yes! We’re happy to walk you through the format and must-haves for writing a trip report. Contact us and let’s get writing.

I’ve got an idea for a paddle, are you interested in trying it?
If you know of some obscure creek that you’re too sensible enough to try your luck on but would like to sponsor one of us to do a la guinea pig in a lab or canary in a coalmine, then let’s talk.

What’s your favorite place to paddle?
Our single-favorite place to paddle is somewhere we’ve never been. Seriously, it’s completely true. Nothing so thrills us as the sense of adventure and discovery.

Why haven’t you paddled X, Y, and Z river?
We will. We just haven’t gotten there yet.

Where are you paddling next?
No idea – depends on water levels.

Can I get a sticker?
Sure, email us, plead your case and wait idly by your mailbox. All we ask is that you send us a picture of it in return.

Can I paddle with you?
Absolutely. Drop us a line.

MILES TO DATE:

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Miles Paddled documents canoe and kayak trips on rivers and creeks throughout Wisconsin.

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PADDLE REPORTS

Ahnapee River

Apple River (IL)

    Apple River
    4.20.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    East Canyon Road to South Apple River Road

Ashippun River

    Ashippun River
    9.27.16 | ☆ ☆ ☆
    Ashippun Lake to Ski Slide Road

Badfish Creek

Baraboo River

Bark River

    Bark River III
    4.7.17 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Highway 83 to Delafield Road

    Bark River II
    4.15.15 | ☆ ☆ ☆
    Merton to Highway 83

    Bark River I
    7.15.10 | ☆ ☆
    Burnt Village County Park to Fort Atkinson

Beaver Dam River

Big Bureau Creek (IL)

    Big Bureau Creek
    6.17.16 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Red Covered Bridge Park to County Road 1150

Big Rib River

    Big Rib River
    5.10.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Goodrich to County Road A

Billings Creek

    Billings Creek
    8.13.16 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    County Road F to Landing 10

Black Earth Creek

Black River

Black River: East Fork

Bois Brule River

Boundary Waters (MN)

Cannon River (MN)

    Cannon River
    5.31.15 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Faribault to Dundas

Carroll Creek (IL)

    Carroll Creek II
    6.21.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Point Rock Park to Jacobstown Road

    Carroll Creek I
    4.26.13 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Point Rock Park to Jacobstown Road

Catfish Creek (IA)

    Catfish Creek
    5.7.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Mines of Spain to Massey Marina Park

Cedar Creek

    Cedar Creek
    9.28.16 | ☆ ☆ ☆
    County Road M to Cedarburg

Coon Fork Creek

Covel Creek (IL)

    Covel Creek
    6.18.16 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    East 18th Road to Highway 71

Crawfish River

Crawfish River: North Branch

Crystal River

Dell Creek

    Dell Creek
    3.15.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆
    South Avenue to Dellwood

Door Creek

    Door Creek
    4.1.17 | ☆ ☆ ☆
    Femrite Drive to Fish Camp County Park

Duck Creek

    Duck Creek
    3.23.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆
    County Road G to Duck Creek Road

Eau Claire River

Eau Galle River

Embarrass River

Flambeau River: North Fork

Fox River

    Fox River II
    4.30.15 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    County Road O to Endeavor

    Fox River I
    5.14.14 | ☆ ☆
    Swan Lake to Portage Canal

Fox River (IL)

Galena/Fever River

Grand River

Grant River

    Grant River IV
    4.24.16 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    County Road U to Chaffie Hollow Road

    Grant River III
    4.23.16 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Short Cut Road to County Road U

    Grant River II
    11.21.12 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    County Road U to Chaffie Hollow Road

    Grant River I
    5.23.09 | ☆ ☆ ☆
    Short Cut Road to County Road U

Halls Creek

    Halls Creek II
    8.9.15 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Garage Road to Halls Creek Landing

    Halls Creek I
    6.28.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Trow Lake Dam to Halls Creek Landing

Honey Creek

Jump River

    Jump River
    8.30.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Luke’s Heights Lane to Big Falls County Park

Kickapoo River

Kickapoo River: West Fork

Kinnickinnic River

Kishwaukee River (IL)

Koshkonong Creek

La Crosse River

Lake Columbia

Lake Mendota

Lake Michigan

Lake Superior

Lake Waubesa

Lemonweir River

Little Platte River

Little Wolf River

Maunesha River

Mecan River

Mill Creek

Milwaukee River

Milwaukee River: East Branch

Mink River

Mirror Lake

    Mirror Lake II
    10.17.16 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Mirror Lake State Park to Lake Delton

    Mirror Lake I
    5.24.08 | ☆ ☆ ☆
    Mirror Lake State Park to Lake Delton

Montello River

    Montello River
    11.8.16-11.10.16 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Harrisville to 11th Road

Mormon Creek

    Mormon Creek
    8.3.14 | ☆ ☆
    Mormon Coulee Park to Goose Island County Park

Morrison Creek

Mukwonago River

Mullet River

    Mullet River
    10.20.16 | ☆ ☆ ☆
    Plymouth to County Road M

Namekagon River

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

Neenah Creek

Nippersink Creek (IL)

Oconomowoc River

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: East Branch

Peshekee River (MI)

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

Piscasaw Creek (IL)

Platte River

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

Robinson Creek

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

Rock Creek

    Rock Creek
    3.26.16 | ☆ ☆ ☆
    Lake Mills to Millford

Rock River

Root River

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

Root River: South Branch (MN)

Rubicon River

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

Starkweather Creek

Sugar Creek

Sugar River

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

Turtle Creek

Upper Iowa River (IA)

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

Waupaca River

    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

Wedges Creek

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

White River

Wisconsin River

Wolf River

Yahara River

Yellow Creek (IL)

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

Yellow River

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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