I've been getting more requests from friends wanting to go on Misery Paddle Tours. Apparently they think I'm having fun out here? Problem is, I'm never sure if people are up for the challenge. It's not like these trips are easy to extract yourself from if things go sideways. Fortunately, there are plenty of shorter rivers out there with (probably) paddle-able segments that are the perfect length for introductory trips. The lower portion of the Traverse River in the Keweenaw is one such river and I decided to take my buddy Brian out for his first trip.
We put in at the Gay-Lake Linden Road crossing. I debated starting higher but I wasn't sure how conditions were or the legality of some access points. The river was fast moving and the first mile blazed by, with only moderate alder and a couple small logjams to worry about. Brian capsized within the first 1/3 of a mile after losing a fight with some alder but he was a good sport about it and kept on chugging. Things kept getting easier from there, with a few challenge logs and even some light rapids driving us through the alder thickets. Before we knew it, we'd completed the 3-mile journey and made it to the fishing community at Big Traverse Bay on Lake Superior!
All told, this was the easiest Misery Paddle Tour yet. I still wouldn't recommend it to people looking for a leisurely paddle, but as a first-time Misery Paddle Tour it's a great option. Particularly if you catch it at the water levels that we did: after heavy thunderstorms the previous night, the nearby Traprock River USGS gauge was reading over 90 CFS. That's 2-3 times the average for mid-June! That explains why the river was moving so quickly... Check out a few photos of our journey in this Flickr album.