Thursday, August 14, 2008

Enjoying the Wisconsin River

I've done a lot of river trips around the country and the Wisconsin River is one of my favorites for just hanging out and enjoying the river. Great beaches, warm water, fun people watching, and almost 100 miles of free-flowing river to explore. My son and I were on a trip across the country visiting rivers and we joined up with some of our friends for a day trip and picnic on the sandy beaches.

On hot summer days hundreds of canoes travel down the river. There are several outfitters along the river but Wisconsin is a state with a rich canoe culture and it seems that just about everyone has an old aluminum Grumman under a tarp in the backyard.

Charlie, Maria, and Aki all piled into a canoe together and had a great time floating down the river together.

It wasn't long before Charlie was showing off proper technique with his water canon.

Armed and ready for action the boys fired at each other and ran themselves to exhaustion.

The boys found little fish and freshwater clams and everything became a target.

Including women out trying to enjoy the sun.

And here he comes after the camera man.

Meanwhile Maria kept out of the cross fire and enjoyed playing in the sand.

The beaches are a highlight of this river and spring floods wash them clean and redistribute the sand every year. While many large floodplain rivers have highly regulated flow regimes and encroachment of vegetation that crowds out open sandy beaches, the Wisconsin still has a dynamic flow regime along its lower reaches.

Megi and Paul hanging out the river. Although we were just out on a day trip, you can easily spend several days out on the water and camp on one of the many islands along the way.

Steve enjoying a moment with his daughter Maria as he paddles down the Wisconsin River.

The masses out for a day on the water. With forested shores, numerous public access points, and great camping and picnic sites along the way, paddlers of all stripes can enjoy their journey down this great river.