I extended my northwoods adventure vacation by canoeing two rivers in northern Wisconsin. The first was the upper Wisconsin River with the Mad Traveler: Kevin Revolinski. We then headed east to Marinette County and paddled the Pine River.
There is probably a Pine River in just about every state in the union. At least each state where a pine tree can be found. It is like the main street or park street of river names.
In Wisconsin, there are actually two. There is a Pine River near Richland Center that flows into the Lower Wisconsin River as well as the one we paddled that empties into the Menominee River near the Upper Peninsula of Michigan Border.
The Pine River is so remote it has been designated along with the Popple River by Wisconsin as state wild rivers. I like rivers of all types, but if I had my choice, I prefer my rivers wild.
After visiting a brew pub in Eagle River, we headed east dodging scores of wild turkeys along the road. The first job was to locate a campground. It was Saturday night on Labor Day weekend, so this could have been dicey.
Our first stop was a walk-in campground in the Nicolet National Forest. I just returned from a week backpacking Isle Royale and was done with carrying equipment for the time being, so we decided to find a spot with a little more convenience. Further on down the road we found Chipmunk Rapids Campground in the Nicolet National Forest. The campground had ten spots and only one was taken. You have to love remote northern Wisconsin.
The campground was perched only a ¼ mile from the Pine River, our river destination, although we were doing a stretch farther downstream. Lost Lake was only a mile away with a swimming area. There is also a trail network for summer hiking and winter cross-country skiing. I filed this location away in my brain for future reference as I will be back.
We awoke to rain and headed into Florence for breakfast. Fortunately, the radar showed us at the edge of a thunderstorm, unlike a previous canoe trip where we sat all day waiting to get out of the clouds. We relaxed and had coffee while waiting for the system to move on.
We then found the put in at the Pine River oxbow, shifted cars, and began the paddle. An oxbow is an extreme U shape in a river. Sometimes the river cuts through the U shape and changes course leaving a cut off lake where the river use to flow called an oxbow lake.
This stretch of the river is very popular with tubers as they can put in at one end of the U shaped bend float downstream for three hours, and then take out at the other end of the bend. Even though the river mileage is over 3 miles, you end up less than a half mile from the start, so it is easy to come back to the beginning and run it again.
The stretch we canoed supposedly had class I rapids, but the rifles we encountered were of the no class variety. Even in low water, we floated through without worry. The only concern we had was protecting ourselves from an armada of deer flies that hovered over us the whole stretch of the river. That must be one of the criteria for wild river designation.
A little over two hours later we made our destination. We took out right before the Pine emptied into the Menominee River. The river widened out a bit here and made for an easy paddle. The Pine River is more of an adventure farther upstream with a few hardcore rapids and even a waterfall that most guide books recommend paddlers portage.
For the first time in a long time we were shut out on the bald eagle front. We did see some hawks, teals, kingfishers, and herons as well as deer and turkeys while driving to the campsite.
The goal of Traveling Ted 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).
On the right sidebar is a donate button. If you would like to donate in order to support the site, it would be appreciated. All donations would cover travel expenses and improvements to make the site better.