I have just returned from a week in the great northwoods of Wisconsin camping, canoeing, hiking, and a few beers along the way. I would argue that Wisconsin has one of the best systems of canoe streams in the country and possibly the best. If you like canoeing, look for cheap airline tickets and I guarantee you won’t regret a visit to the state.
Wisconsin has a great variety of rivers from the large majestic rivers like the Wisconsin and the Mississippi, meandering streams like the Kickapoo, and great clear northwood rivers with rapids like the Peshtigo and the Brule.
The trip started with my favorite river: the Wisconsin River. The Lower Wisconsin River Valley is one of the most amazing camping and canoeing areas around. I paddled three days on the Wisconsin camping on sandbars and having a few beers while checking out the beautiful scenery and bald eagles.
From there I headed just a stretch north into the Driftless Region along the Lower Kickapoo River Valley. It was the first time I had been in this area in many years, and I was pleasantly surprised how beautiful it was. The Driftless Area is so called because this area was never covered by ice during the Ice Age as has most of Wisconsin.
I canoed for two days along the beautiful meandering Kickapoo River. Thanks goes out to Wisconsin River Outings for transportation and a canoe. Unfortunately, my solo paddle camping trip was spoiled by some pretty harsh thunderstorms.
After paddling to Wauzeka and meeting the Wisconsin River and my car, I headed back into the Driftless Area and camped and hiked beautiful Wildcat Mountain State Park. At the park overlook I was treated to a spectacular sunset.
I then headed north again and reunited with Leinenkugel’s Brewery in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Leinie’s Brewery came down and visited me in Chicago and sponsored the Friendly Float to promote the need to clean the Chicago River. Now it was time for me to return the favor and visit them. I did not have such philanthropic goals: I just wanted to see how they made their beer and then drink it.
My last stop was the Brule River in beautiful Douglas County, Wisconsin. I spent two wonderful days kayaking the beautiful Brule River known as the river of Presidents and camped and hiked in the Brule River State Forest. Thanks to my hosts, the Brule River Canoe Rental.
I love stats as do many people. I have compiled a list of interesting and useless stats from the Wisconsin River canoe and road trip for your entertainment.
Total miles paddled: 74 miles
Breakdown of canoe miles:
Wisconsin River: 30 miles
Kickapoo River: 19 miles
Brule River: 25 miles
Hiking miles: 8
Breakdown of hiking miles:
4 miles on the North Country Scenic Trail in the Brule River State Forest
4 miles in Wildcat Mountain State Park
Nights in a tent: 6
Storms taken: 2
Breakdown of camping sites: 3 nights camping on the Wisconsin River – 1 night on the Kickapoo River – 1 night in Wildcat Mountain State Park – 1 night in Brule River State Forest
Nights in a hotel: 2
Breakdown of hotel stays: 1 night at Boscobel at the Riverway Inn and 1 night at the Antlers Inn in Eau Claire
Beers drank: Approximately 50
Pancakes eaten: 26 (although two were enormous)
Hot dogs eaten: 8
Steaks eaten: 1
Hamburgers eaten: 1
smores eaten: 3
Miles driven: 1,400
Deer seen: around 10
Bald eagles seen: 10
Fox seen: 1
Social Media stats:
Pictures taken: 510
Videos taken: 30
Photos uploaded on Instagram: 25
Tweets sent: 41
Facebook photos uploaded: 12
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