Whitewater rafting on the Peshtigo River in Wisconsin with Wildman Ranch

Peshtigo River Wisconsin whitewater rafting

Guide Nick Spitznagle getting us pumped up for a whitewater rafting adventure on the Peshtigo River

This last weekend I had the pleasure of whitewater rafting on the Peshtigo River thanks to an invitation from Wildman Ranch.

April is the best time to raft for those that love adventure travel as the snow melt plus spring showers lead to high water and perfect exciting conditions on the river. I had the opportunity to experience these ripe water levels for myself.

Anticipation mounted as guide Nick Spitznagle inflated the individual kayak rafts. I had thought that I would be on a big raft with a bunch of other people I did not know.

This would have been fine, but I definitely preferred the individual approach. It would be more adventurous having to navigate the river myself instead of having a guide do it in a large raft.

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The raft I would have an awesome adventure with on the Peshtigo River in Wisconsin

We drove the three miles down from the ranch and put in along a dirt road off of County C northwest of Crivitz, Wisconsin. The best rapids, Horserace, is adjacent to the Wildman Ranch property, so this meant the most exciting stretch of whitewater would be at the end.

Horserace Rapids is a quarter mile of almost continuous class III rapids. The night before I had stayed at the ranch and walked up the river to inspect the rapids, so I knew it would be an intense run.

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A picture of the high water levels on the Peshtigo River

Nick calmly briefed me on safety issues as we walked our rafts down to the water’s edge. The most serious danger on this river is dumping in fast water and then trying to stand up. If a foot gets wedged in the rocks then the water could force one’s head underwater. This of course can lead to death by drowning, but by using your head this can be easily avoided.

First of all, do not dump, but if that happens then float down stream with feet pointed down river. This keeps them off the bottom and also helps you bounce of rocks with your feet. Once the floater reaches calm water then it is easy to swim ashore.

I really did not want to dump today. It was 60 degrees and sunny, but I knew the spring water would be cold. Plus, I had a GoPro video camera strapped around my chest and did not want to risk losing it.

The first stretch of water flowed through class I rock gardens. For those that are unfamiliar with rapid classifications they go from I through VI. Class I being fast moving water through rock gardens and class VI being an almost impossible to run waterfall. Horserace Rapids pictured below and video (in the next post) are class III, so that should give readers an idea of a middle tier rapid.

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Horserace Rapids

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Horserace Rapids

The rafts are very forgiving. I have run up to class II whitewater in canoes before and canoes do not slide or bump off of rocks as easily as these rafts. Canoes and kayaks stick on rocks and are not as balanced, so it is much easier to dump or get stuck on a rock in a canoe.

Even with the rafts it is preferable to avoid the rocks, but it is no problem if one hits them as the rafts will either bounce off or they will stick. If you bounce hard then paddle on the opposite side of the rock to brace the raft and that usually helps avoid an unplanned swim. If you get stuck then just calmly rock forward until the raft frees itself from the rock and slides back into the current.

At one rapid, check the below video (15 second mark), I actually hit a big rock on the shoreline and got stuck for a second before the current whipped me free. This maneuver would have certainly dumped a canoe. The point is one does not have to be an expert to ride the rapids in these rafts, so it is an adventure that most can handle.

To be continued. . . . .

Stay tuned,

TT

The goal of Traveling Ted TV is to inspire people to outdoor adventure travel and then provide tips on where and how to go. If you liked this post then enter your email in the box to get email notifications for each new entry. Daily travel photos are excluded from your email in order to not flood you with posts. There is no spam and email information will not be shared. Other e-follow options include Facebook (click on the like box to the right) or twitter (click on the pretty bird on the rainbow above).

About Traveling Ted

Ted Nelson has been adventure traveling since he was 10 years old on camping trips with his Dad to places like the Great Smoky Mountains, The Everglades, and Big Bend National Park. In 2005 he added international travel to his repertoire with a three month trip to Southeast Asia.

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9 Responses to Whitewater rafting on the Peshtigo River in Wisconsin with Wildman Ranch

  1. Jay Gordon April 29, 2011 at 12:14 am #

    Some of these photos are absolutely spectacular — as so many of yours are. One of these days you’re going to make a lot of people happy by offering some of your exciting prints for sale online. You could help us take our travel voyeurism to the next level. ;)
    Jay Gordon recently posted..Cowboy poetry in Willits- Mendocino County

  2. Jeremy B April 29, 2011 at 3:30 am #

    Great post! I admire those who like to run the rapids but after my experience, I can’t do it anymore. Definitely a little cold to be doing this right now!
    Jeremy B recently posted..Fall colors in northern California- Hope Valley

  3. LeslieTravel April 29, 2011 at 2:45 pm #

    Looks like fun. Like the video!

    • Ted Nelson April 29, 2011 at 3:23 pm #

      Thanks Leslie. Welcome back from the Middle East.

  4. santafetraveler April 29, 2011 at 11:56 pm #

    Love that roiling water!

  5. Les August 14, 2011 at 7:11 am #

    I love your videos! Looks like so much fun!

  6. Lisa James May 12, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

    Very adventurous experience. You really enjoyed it. Love your video and more success !
    Lisa James recently posted..The Three Phases of a Trader’s Education: Psychology, Money Management, Method

    • travelingted May 12, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

      Thanks Lisa,

      It is a great adventure and a beautiful setting.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Spring whitewater rafting on the Peshtigo at the Wildman Ranch | Traveling Ted TV - April 30, 2011

    […] Spring is the time to have an epic adventure at the Wildman Ranch on the Peshtigo River in Wisconsin.  This is the II part in a chronicle of my adventure last weekend.  Read Part I here. […]

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