Friday, June 15, 2007

Upper Shiawassee (N. Davisburg paddle)

Taken from June 2007 Eddy Lines

Upper Shiawassee north of Davisburg paddle
On a pleasant Saturday morning Sharon and I met Mike Vlaikov to paddle the Upper Shiawassee north of Davisburg from Rattalee Lake Road through Rattalee Lake to the railroad bridge which crosses the river. Only a small culvert flows under the river where the railroad bridge crosses, much too small for any boat to get through, and we decided not to Portage over the railroad tracks. However, the paddle up to this point was just enough for the time we had for paddling that day.
The river had many tight turns at the start and was good practice for Mike in his kayak. In our canoe with steering in both the bow and stern Sharon and I managed to navigate fairly well. It was good practice for all of us.
This is very much a wetlands area and very grassy.
The river winds through the area with a couple of islands and small lakes scattered about. One island in particular not too far from the end of our paddle near the railroad tracks worked well as a landmark. Since it was higher than the surrounding area with some trees growing it stood out well from the grasslands. When paddling
the lakes seemed to suddenly appear from the grasslands and wisting river. We would then paddle to the far end seeking the continuing river that we knew would be there somewhere. Numerous muskrat dens were seen and a couple of muskrat, but no beaver. The water was surprisingly deep in the stream sections considering how narrow it was, and some small fish, probably trout, were seen. The fish were more in the beginning of the river near Rattalee Lake Road .
On our return paddle the trip seemed to go quickly.
We had the wind at our backs and even though we were paddling upstream the trip ended much too quickly. At the takeout there was a very green frog who seemed to like his picture taken and was just
hanging around right where Mike needed to come in to get out of his boat. With a bit of prompting the frog finally moved out of the way so that Mike could come in and pack up his boat and gear for the trip home.

Tom Brandau
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