Monday, October 05, 2009

Wednesday - September 16th: North of Wausau to Stevens Point

Again just a very nice night and it looks like another great day.

It did not take long to get to the Wausau Dam and the Rothschild Dam was in three miles with what looked like a difficult portage so I decided to bike portage around both dams. I entered at the Domtar boat landing below the Rothschild Dam making for about a six to seven mile portage.

Once back in the water I had a nice current to paddle for about 3 or 4 miles. Nice way to start the day.

It was about 10 miles to the Mosinee Dam and what looks like the most difficult portage. Description from internet notes: “A telephone is provided attached to an informational sign at the portage for assistance provided by Mosinee Paper. Be prepared for about a 45 minute to one hour wait. To call ahead from any phone dial, 715 692-3304.” You know I’m not going to do this!

This was not the only obstacle. Before I got to the dam I had to weave my way through a number of islands in the flowage before the dam. I did make one small mistake, but quickly got back on course. Once I saw the dam, I looked for another way to get around it. On the right I saw some homes and a road very close to the water. Looked like the answer to my problem except when I paddled over to it, there was this big sign saying “Private property. Absolutely no trespassing.” Darn, all I had to do was pull my gear about 20’ and I’d be on the road.

No one was around to ask permission so I paddled a little more to my right and noticed a park in the distance. There had to be a landing there so off I went and did find a landing.

Got my gear packed up and started into town and was told the best place to get back into the water was about a mile or so downstream. It did not take long to get to this very nice boat landing below the Mosinee Dam. So what I thought would be the biggest problem of the day turned out to be much easier than I thought. Unaware though that a mistake will soon be made.

Back on the water I had a beautiful paddle for about 10 miles before I needed to make a sharp turn into Eau Pleine Reservoir which eventually leads to the bigger Du Bay Flowage. Not quite sure if I was going in the right direction, I went over to guy and gal that were fishing near what I thought could be a shortcut to my left around this big hook in the river. They told me it was not the way to go and that I should follow the main channel to the right and go all the way around. So that is what I did.

As I paddled on I notice a couple of more fishermen on my left. They looked pretty serious about their fishing so I did not stop to talk to them and on I went. I’d been paddling for well over 45 minutes and still had not come to Eau Pleine Reservoir. Figuring I may have made a mistake I was about to check my road map to see if I could figure out where I was, when I spotted a fishing boat in front of me. Realizing my map would do me no good I quickly paddled toward the fisherman. As I got closer something looked familiar about this boat. Then I realized it was the same two guys I passed 45 minutes earlier. Yep,, I paddled in a circle around an island!

Back on course I now realized to make it to Stevens Point it would require another full day plus of paddling. My motel stay was out the window. Oh well, I will save a dollar or two!

Soon I was to Lake Du Bay which spreads across 6,800 plus acres. Once again I had no wind so it made for an easy paddle. I’ve been very, very lucky on all these huge flowage lakes. With wind they could be almost impossible to cross. I still have the biggest flowage, Petenwell in front of me. Hopefully my luck holds for that one. Petenwell is the second biggest open body of water in Wisconsin.

Most of the afternoon was spent crossing Lake Du Bay. It was getting late when I went around the Du Bay Dam and I knew now I would not make it to Stevens Point before dark. Because of my screw-up earlier I was still about 10 miles away.

It was dark when I did enter the Stevens Point Flowage. I had a choice, find a place now or go across the flowage in the dark. Of course I chose the latter and kept going. I felt like I was in a small plane trying to make a landing on a huge runway guided only by faint lights in the distance.

Eventually I did make it across and found a nice little park on my right. I paddled over and found a place next to a building that I could tuck in for the night.

It did not take long to fall asleep for this was the toughest day I’ve had so far. Maybe it’s just been too many long days. Tomorrow I’ve got to slow down!


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