Namegakon Diary 2006

Diary of Mollie, Joanne, David, Linda, Roger, and Meghan's canoe trip on the Namegakon River in Northern Wisconsin, September 2006

9/9/06 Day 74 summer trip. 250 miles today, total 4869 miles Left the KOA at 9:30 a.m. Drove north to Spooner Wisconsin. Checked into the Country Motel and RV park about 3:00 p.m. The Allen’s and friends stayed in the motel. I decided to skip the Blue Grass Festival as I was tired and it was getting quite cold for an outdoor event plus I wanted to see the US Open Women’s Tennis finals on TV.

9/10/06 Day 75 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 4869 miles We prepared all our gear and food for the 5 day boat trip on the Namekagon River. We all went out for dinner and then lounged in Joanne and David’s motel jacuzzi for an hour before retiring.

9/11/06 Day 76 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 4869 miles Drove to Log Cabin Resort in Trego to meet our shuttle. Rented two kayaks for Linda and Mollie and got loaded up. We were delivered to K Street Landing on the Namekagon River at 10:30 a.m. We loaded up our boats. Dave & Joanne (my brother-in-law and sister) had a 17’ fiber glass canoe, Mollie (my niece) had a 13’ 8” Old Town kayak, Linda (my wife) had a 11’ Old Town kayak, and I had a 14’ inflatable self bailing canoe/kayak made by Soar (nick named the BARGE by Mollie because it’s hard to paddle and steer on flat water.) Meghan the Irish Terrier rode on the barge with me. We discovered that that she had outgrown her life jacket so she cruised without protection. We only paddled 3 miles to our first group camping site. The Namekagon is a wild and scenic river which is oh so beautiful cutting through a mixed forest of Fir, Pine, Oak, White Birch, and Aspen trees. It has virtually no residential houses on its shores. Northern Wisconsin has been suffering a drought for the past 3 years, but its sure not obvious as all the meadows and shore lines are a luscious green. We had a bit of trouble remembering how those tents fit together, but got set up for 2 nights at this location. For dinner we had pot roast stew which I had made and frozen several days before the trip. Dave found some downed dry fire wood, which we all hauled to our fire ring. Had a pleasant evening in front of the camp fire. After going to bed it rained lightly on and off most of the night. The tent did fine and kept us dry.

9/12/06 Day 77 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 4869 miles Got up about 8:30 a.m. to a partly sunny day. Joanne made pancakes for breakfast. David and Mollie got all their gear together for a ¾ mile portage of their canoe to Leisure Lake for snorkeling and fishing. I packed lunch in my back pack and the entire group including Meghan the Irish Terrier walked on a cross country ski trail to Leisure Lake. It was a beautiful clear small lake shallow with blooming water lily’s on one end of it. Mollie and David first did some snorkeling with their spear guns, but had no luck at finding some legal fish. Next they did the canoe with some conventional fishing poles and lures. They caught 3 large mouth bass and 3 northern. While they fished the rest of us did hiking and visiting. Linda and Joanne also did some sock knitting. After about 5 hours we all returned to camp on the river. We had fresh large mouth bass fried fillets for dinner that night. Yum yum. Joanne also did some baked apples in tin foil over our camp fire which were very delicious.

9/13/06 Day 78 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 4869 miles Got on the river about 7:45 a.m. and did a long day of approximately 18 miles. I left 45 minutes early and saw at close range 6 deer, a beaver, American eagle, flocks of Canada Geese, black belted Kingfisher, Northern flicker, and a Yellow Night Heron. Mollie paddled my barge for about 2 hours while I paddled her kayak. We made camp at a Landing and camp site. This was a buggy site, so I really loaded up with mosquito repellent. I was very unhappy and very tired with the long day. David and I walked about 1.5 miles out to higher ground, and with his cell phone called our shuttle provider for a closer pick up cutting off 15 miles of the trip. David identified a hoot owl call that night. We also heard coyotes.

9/14/06 Day 79 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 4869 miles Got on the river about 10:00 a.m. The water this year is crystal clear compared to previous years. We saw lots of huge fish, some 5-10 feet long which apparently were Sturgeon. Namekagon is an Indian name which means Sturgeon. David & Joanne helped me out by towing my barge with their canoe, but it did not work well, because my barge kept swerving back and forth almost capsizing both of us. We paddled 8 miles to another group camp. All these camp sites were scenic enough to die for, with easy access. The group sites had a picnic table and toilet throne sitting 50+ yards from the campsite. Downed dry wood was very prolific and close to camp sites. If you had a saw and an axe, firewood was no problem. There were nice wide groomed cross country ski trails into the woods near all group sites perfect for hiking with Meghan. At sunset David identified the Whip-poor-will call which was a thrill for me, as this bird is really rare in southern California.

9/15/06 Day 80 summer trip. 250 miles today, total 5119 miles Got up at 6:45 a.m. after a very good nights sleep. I have slept remarkably well on this trip. My full size pad has really kept me comfortable. Joanne had a bad night because a mouse kept raiding their food bag, and it ate right through the soft plastic, ruining all the dry food inside. (good thing it was the last day) I put a hard plastic water proof and vermin proof dry box on her Christmas list. The mouse eventually paid dearly for the raid. It crawled into a half full bucket of water and drowned, as it was not able to crawl out the slick sides of the plastic pal. We had a power bar and coffee for breakfast. I burnt my lip on my coffee as Joanne did not snap on the lid of my cup tight and I poured boiling coffee right on my lip, chin, and chest. I really used some bad language, but was not seriously burnt. I got on the water by 7:40 a.m. ½ hour before the rest left, for the final 4 mile push to the Namekagon Trail Landing. My arms and body felt good this final morning. The scenery and river was so serene and spiritually relaxing on my final paddle. I actually got stronger at the end on this trip as opposed to previous flat water trips I have paddled were I was weakest at the end. We arrived at our take out at 9:20 a.m. We unloaded all our gear and cleaned up the boats a bit. Our shuttle company Log Cabin Resort arrived early at 9:50. Did the 1 hour drive back to our vehicles. We all declared that we had a nice 5 days in the wild. A vacation like this in the wilds away from people is way more relaxing than one in the city. Its what I live for. We all showered and got back on the road for Deforest Wisconsin. We arrived about 4:00 p.m. at the Deforest KOA. We decided that we had enough energy left to take mother to a Friday night fish fry at the original Mr. G’s bar and grill. Returned home at 7:30 p.m. and I was in bed by 8:30 p.m.

9/16/06 Day 81 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 5119 miles Got up at 8:00 a.m. and started cleaning up and drying out the camping gear. The mornings on the river were always wet, which necessitated putting the tent away wet. Went shopping at Schultz’s Market purchasing $80 worth of steaks and thick pork chops. The Wisconsin meat is way tastier than what we get in California. Bought mother some milk and then stored the meat in her freezer for a quick freeze. The whole family including mother, Justin, Crystal, and Tyler Babcock all went to Token Creek County Park for family pictures. After that we all went to Biaggi’s Italian Restaurant for dinner. Elaine Allen, David’s mother joined us for dinner. The food was excellent as usual. Mother picked up the tab for the entire dinner. We returned home and said good bye to mother.

Last updated on February 6, 2019