Saturday, October 03, 2009

Monday - September 14th: Close to State Highway 70 to Lake Alice and Kings Dam

What a great start to this trip. Yesterday I got in more miles than I thought, close to 40. Able to do that because I had more river current than I expected and of course paddling into the night a little helped.

Very peaceful evening last night. There were no visitors so I did not get caught for trespassing and I’m leaving right at daybreak before anyone does show up. Sleeping bag is a little damp so I strapped it to the front hull of the canoe until it dries out. Looks like another beautiful day.

It did not take long to get to State Highway 70 and my first dam, Otter Rapids. The paddle across my first flowage, Watersmeet Lake was easy - not hardly a ripple. Also it was just a short easy 500’ portage around Otter Rapids. Sure hope the rest are this easy, but I know better.

Once around Otter Rapids Dam I once again had some current . Lots of boulders in this section of the river as it parallels State Highway 70.

From Otter Rapids Dam to Rainbow Dam is only 7 miles so my river paddling was short lived as I was soon into the 4,165 acre Rainbow Reservoir. Once again it was a piece of cake crossing this body of water with only a slight breeze and that was at my back. Also, another easy portage around the dam.

I now have 20 miles to Rhinelander and the Rhinelander Dam. The first 10 was a very nice river paddle with the river being bordered on both sides by a nice mix of hardwoods with their leaves beginning to turn and the green of fir trees. Just a great setting.

As I got closer to Rhinelander I first had to work my way through seven or so miles of wild rice fields and then across the Rhinelander Flowage. All went without a hitch as the slight breeze was still at my back. I again was making better time than expected and felt I had a chance to get well past Rhinelander today with the goal being Kings Dam which is at the 104 mile mark and would make for a 60-plus mile day. If I could do that I would be on schedule for my 50 mile daily average. Conditions are good and I feel good so we will try.

Portage around the Rhinelander Dam was not so easy and I was glad I had my bike trailer system. Here’s the description of how to do it from the info I got off the internet. “Access to the shorter portage route (about 1/3 mile) is gated but typically open during normal business hours (call 715 369-4241) ahead for access anytime) or about a mile long route goes along city streets (take out on left, put-in on right).

My route: Gate was closed, no answer when I called. So I put my bike together and as I was doing so, a person told me to go around the left rather than the right and put in below Trigs Grocery Store. Long story short, I did not find any place to put in below the grocery store so ended up biking to US Highway 8 and putting in behind a motel.

Off again and within 5 miles I was again at a damn - dam, the Hat Rapids Dam. This was an easy portage of 500’. Once around I had about 7 miles of a very scenic and quick paddle through light rapids to Whirlpool Rapids which was considered Class Two rapids, but was more like Class One, although fun.

Soon past the rapids the water began to slow as I approached Lake Alice and Kings Dam. It was getting late, but once again I’d made some great time, even with the damn - dam portages! At about 8:00 I called it a day not far from the dam and found a nice cozy spot for my tarp and crawled in my sleeping bag. Another great day under perfect conditions, although I am a little tired! Tomorrow…. we will slow down.


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