Thursday, August 12, 2010

Namekagon River: Springbrook Landing to Trego

Another trip into Wisconsin today. This time I headed down to the Trego area to float a section of the Namekagon River. I originally had intended to float a 10 mile section from County K to Whispering Pines, but the canoe rental outfit/bar for that section of the river did not open until 11. Having arrived at about 9:30 I had some time to kill and so I headed over to the NPS visitor center in Trego. The Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway visitor center in Trego is small, but there were some interesting exhibits inside. I talked to the ranger at the information desk and she suggested a 12 mile trip on a different section of river: from Springbrook Landing to Trego.

I decided to take the ranger's advice and so headed to a different outfitter across the street called Jack's. I arranged for my trip and then was shuttled to the landing where I put in. It was very quiet on that first stretch of river with some riffles that I was not expecting while looking around. I almost went for an unplanned swim. Soon I would be seeing all sorts of wildlife. I saw a river otter, a muskrat, a belted kingfisher, some cedar waxwings, a great blue heron, and most surprisingly a bear! I think the bear was even more surprised about the encounter than I was. After it saw me it promptly took off into the woods. I also saw some interesting snails in certain sections of the river.

While the first half of my float trip was certainly peaceful with plenty of solitude, the second half was just the opposite. From Earl Park landing until the takeout the river was inundated with tubers. Most of the tubers were friendly and respectful, but a few groups were loud, drunk and obnoxious. I even spied a few drinking out of glass containers despite the fact that they are banned on the river. I pulled into the landing at Jack's at about 3:30.
After the kayaking I was still in the mood to do a little more exploring and so I refilled my water bottles at the V.C. and headed over to the Trego nature trail trail-head. The walk closely followed the river though there were not always views of it. it was pleasant and it allowed me to see the river from a different perspective than I had seen it earlier in the day.

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