Paddling in Southwest Michigan

A friend asked me where she could paddle in southwest Michigan. That question meant one thing: I would be writing a blog post. 🙂

First, here are my three favorite guide books for the state:

We used these three books to plan trips down the Manistee and Au Sable rivers (six days on each). Some of the information relating to campsites is really dated, so you need to verify details with the relevant DNR office or national forest office (e.g., Huron-Manistee NF).

I don’t know if the following books are helpful or not:

When planning for those Manistee and Au Sable trips, I also read trip reports at You can use the Locations page or the Trip Finder page.

For additional online resources, check out these sites:

And check out Third Coast Paddling in Benton Harbor. What other paddling shops do you appreciate? And local shops Wanderlust Outfitters and Third Coast Surf Shop have gear relevant for paddlers as well.


Paddling Pantheon

In the Pantheon of paddling greats, Michiganders have to know people like Verlen Kruger (more than 88,000 paddle miles; memorial) and Serge Corbin (18-time winner of the Au Sable River Marathon). As a side note, our family took 6 days to cover the same miles those racers paddle in less than 24 hours.

This weekend my dad introduced me to another paddler, Canadian Bill Mason. He made a number of films, and my dad shared one of them — Song of the Paddle:


|Prepare for Spring

It’s February. It’s cold and snowy in the northern regions. But spring is coming! That means it’s time to start thinking about kayaking again. Here are some websites with exercises to prepare for paddling:


|Back on the Huron River

The evening light on the Huron was amazing.


|Camping in Mesick, MI

We drove up to Mesick on Thursday, spent the night, and got up early the next morning for the big day. Cleopatra waited with the boat at the Hodenpyl Dam while I drove the car down to Red Bridge. I then hiked back 11 miles so we could float the 13 miles back to the car (the Manistee River winds more than the trail does).

After we got to the car and took down our tent at Northern Exposure, we headed over to meet friends at Sleeping Bear Dunes. If you want to see the video from that adventure, send me an email.

None of the photos in this slideshow have been altered–no cropping or color altering. Clearly, they would benefit from work; just saying they’re quite raw.


|Kensington Park


|On the Shiawassee River

Both of our jobs contribute to secondary trauma, so I am glad that we both enjoy getting outside to refresh our minds and bodies. This weekend we went biking, walking and paddling. Here are a few shots from this morning on the Shiawassee River.

We thought this bridge looked pleasant, but as we entered the culvert on the right, we realized it was full of large spiders with very large webs. After a discussion that lasted .5 seconds, we decided to get out of there, and I started back-paddling like mad. Then we pulled over to the right to portage, and were greeted by this:

We avoided the snake (later we learned that it was a northern water snake) and continued on the other side of the road, where peace and tranquility returned.

Then when we got back to the portage, the snake was on the move.