Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Thursday, 26 June 2008

The Ontonagon River Canoe Trip

Porcupine Mountains State Park, Michigan

Our campsite in the State Park is on the shore of Lake Superior. There are a lot of biting black flies here to go with the view. The only canoe trip available is 15 miles on the Ontonagon River. The river doesn’t have any current flow to help things along.

Our guy drops us off in a remote area. He has tried to warn us off, explaining that there are eight hours of determined paddling needed to get to the end of the trip. We tell him about much longer paddles in the Everglades. We trade stories about drunken Chicago cops. The same group of 50 that went diving with us in the Bahamas also came up here and pulled in about midnight..

We launch and the flies buzz around our heads as we paddle. Mrs. Phred has a mosquito hat. It helps.

The river is pristine. It’s never been logged and the banks are covered with lush ferns and summer grass. We see dozens of bald eagles and a beaver dive into the river next to the canoe.

There are lots of shallow rocky places where I have to get out and push.

After 10 hours we pull into the marina in Ontonagon, Michigan. We’ve stopped a couple of times. Once I strip off all my clothing at a sand bar and go swimming. Mrs. Phred takes several full frontal shots. I have chosen not to publish these.

After 11 miles, a fisherman offers tow us the for last four miles. Mrs. Phred whispered, “Yes!”, but I felt that it would ruin the story so we doggedly paddled the last four miles. We both have minor muscle aches in our arms today.

Today we moved east to Marquette, Michigan on Lake Superior. They have diving here on old three-masted schooner shipwrecks, fishing for 70 pound lake trout and more canoeing. We may stay awhile and recreate.

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