Thursday, May 20, 2010

Weekend Canoeing in Michigan

Weekend Canoeing in Michigan: The Rivers, The Towns, The Taverns
by Doc Fletcher

The author's personality shines through this guide: his love for Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, the Detroit Tigers, and fast water. Twenty river trips are described in detail and illustrated with black and white photos. None are in southwest Michigan, but several are within a few hours of Kalamazoo.

1. Flat River
"The Flat River shouts-- using its inside voice-- to families and beginning canoeists alike, to come and enjoy a calm stress-free voyage down its slow and gentle current."
Start at Belding City Park; end at Double R Ranch Resort. 2 hours 20 minutes.
Skill level: beginner
Town: Smyrna
Tavern: Smyrna Bar
canoe rental at Double R Ranch

2. Little Muskegon River

"The Little Muskegon was one of the most intriguing rivers on the list of 20 covered in this book." "On the whole, beginners should look elsewhere for their canoeing fun."
Start County Line Road (Newcosta); end at Croton Pond boat launch. 4 hours.
Skill level: tricky to difficult
Town: Newaygo
Tavern: Sportsman's Bar
canoe rental at Wisner Canoes

3. Muskegon River
"All 3 of these locales [Houghton Lake, Leota, Paris] offer a gorgeous wilderness trip, but I believe that the trip near Houghton Lake is the most beautiful Muskegon River trip of the 3."
Start Hi-Lo Bridge; end White Birch livery. 2-3 hours
Skill level: beginner
Town: Houghton Lake
Tavern: The Nottingham Bar
canoe rental at White Birch Canoe Trips

4. White River
"...Slow current, knee-deep water, complete with a sandy bottom free of large rocks and hidden obstacles which made it a kind-to-your-body Frisbee diving river."
Start Happy Mohawk Livery (Fruitvale Road); end at Old Trading Post Landing. 2.5 hours.
Skill level: beginner to moderate
Town: Montague
Tavern: Jimmy's Tavern
canoe rental at Happy Mohawk Canoe Livery

5. Pere Marquette River

"The Pere Marquette was Michigan's first 'National Wild and Scenic River'... In addition to being a joy to canoe, the PM is a world class trout and salmon river."
Start at Lower Branch Bridge (Landon Road); end at Walhalla Bridge. 2.5 hours.
Skill level: moderate ability
Town: Walhalla
Tavern: Rendezvous Grille & Tavern
canoe rental at Baldwin Canoe Rental

Available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other booksellers or perhaps at your library.

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