In mid-May, I joined 75 other folks on a 92-mile trip down almost the entire Namekagon River in northern Wisconsin. It was a beautiful six days of paddling, with high water adding to the excitement, many new friends, and a lot of stuff worth writing about.
In addition to filing several blog posts from campsites along the river, I wrote a couple articles when I got back, including one which was published in the Osceola Sun, Country Messenger and Burnett County-Sentinel. Enjoy!
The smell of green washed over me not long after starting a six-day kayak trip down the Namekagon River in the middle of May. I was overcome with the aromas of life, growth, and health. It did not feel like the beginning of a new season, but the spring of earth and time itself.
I set my paddle down and breathed deeply and listened to the constant chorus of bird song. I had 92-miles to breathe this in. The months of anticipation, the weeks of preparation, the days of packing, the hours of driving – all behind me now, only the river ahead.
It was on the third day of a recent 92-mile paddle down the Namekagon River that some magic happened. Nightly rains had brought the river up to flood stage, and the powerful current was pushing many of our party into rocks and trees, causing unplanned swims in the 55-degree water.
But the swamped canoes and kayaks were not the important part. Strangers coming to each other’s aid were the extraordinary sight. Four of us banded together for the final few miles of that day. I knew I could depend on these new friends if I ran into any trouble.