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Misery Paddle Tours

One of my favorite kinds of Type 2 fun is the humble Misery Paddle Tour.  I coined this phrase in 2016 to describe any paddle trip that is far worse than the average paddler would consider.  We're talking alder thickets loaded with spiders.  Currents pushing you backwards for miles.  Logjams of unimaginable proportions.  Beaver dams.  Low water.  Rocks gardens.  Rapids.  Waterfalls.  No two Misery Paddle Tours are alike, except for one thing: they are a test of both physical and mental endurance.  Adventurer beware: there is no greater challenge than traveling 0.25 mph by kayak when mosquitos are hungry.

Each stream or river must have enough water to theoretically be paddleable, but not be so easy that people traverse it frequently – if ever.  I will utilize larger rivers that are popular paddle routes only if combined as part of a loop with more treacherous sections or as part of an extreme paddle challenge.  No cake walks.  If it doesn't make you question what you're doing, it won't make the cut.

Misery Paddle Touring has been a hiatus for a couple years due to droughts keeping water levels low in my "choice" rivers!

Snake River (2016)

Arnheim Ditch & Sturgeon River (2017)

Pike River (2018)

Trap Rock River (2019 & 2020)

Otter Traverse (2020)

West Branch Otter River (2021)

Traverse River (2021)

Wolf Creek (2021)

Misery Paddle Tour Blow Down.jpg
Normal Rivers

Believe it or not, I also paddle fun rivers on occasion! I have a fleet of kayaks that I don't huck over trees, smash into rocks, or drag for miles overland in search of water (okay, that last part is a lie).  Here's a list of the 'normal' rivers in the Upper Peninsula I've paddled.  I don't write stories about these because I'm too busy having fun and not taking notes or photos.  If you need any info on these ones I'm happy to share too.  Not all of these trips were done in one go.

  • Middle Branch Ontonagon River from Burned Dam to Interior

  • Ontonagon River from Military Hills to Lake Superior

  • Roselawn, Bluff, and Sucker Creeks into the South Branch Ontonagon River to Ewen

  • Sturgeon River from Prickett Dam to Portage Lake

  • Sturgeon River Gorge Wildnerness (lots of rapids!)

  • West Branch Ontonagon River from Bergland Dam to Victoria Dam

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