Ninety degrees and an afternoon off of work. What to do? Where to go? Kayaking, of course!
I rounded up a couple of friends—Paula and Sandy—who happened to also have a free afternoon, and hightailed it out of work right at noon to hitch up the kayak trailer and hit the road.
Not wishing to bake in the direct sun on an open lake, I took my friends to the Maunesha River in Marshall, hoping for occasional shady spots along the riverbank. As we crossed Marshall Millpond toward the river, I dabbled my toes in the water—it felt like bathwater, not so refreshing!
As we moved upriver toward Canal Road, we startled a bald eagle from its hiding place in the trees.
I’ve paddled the Maunesha River every spring for the past few years, and this year was the best I’ve seen the river. The Maunesha River Alliance has made great progress in clearing trees and debris.
We traveled farther upriver than I’ve ever gone before, but I wasn’t able to track our distance because my phone overheated in the sun and shutdown after less than 30 minutes into our ride. Yes, it was a hot, sunny day! We only turned around because Sandy needed to get home for a prior commitment.
As we traveled downriver, we saw the bald eagle again soaring high in the sky. All the other wildlife must have stayed undercover in the shade; we only saw a few ducks and other small birds.
Two days later, I returned to the Maunesha River with two more friends—Nicki and Jill—again looking for a close-to-home destination that provided some opportunities for shade. Plus, I wanted to see how far up the river we could really go!
In all my kayaking trips to Marshall, I’ve rarely seen more than one or two other paddlers, but this particular Saturday, Marshall Millpond and the river had numerous paddlers who were participating in an adventure race. Everyone seemed to be having a fun time!
The racers were leaving the river as we entered so, after sharing a few words of encouragement to passersby, we enjoyed a quiet ride upstream.
I turned on my tracking app and, with better protection of my phone from the sun, was able to track our ride.
We saw several ducks, cardinals and turkey vultures—including a couple that eyeballed us closely but didn’t move a muscle as we passed underneath their perch in a dead tree, one with its wings outstretched cooling off in the light breeze.
On the way downstream, we pulled our kayaks in close to the bank under a shade tree for a break. We sat chatting for a bit until Nicki startled us with the news that she was looking directly at a baby raccoon in the tree just a couple of feet in front of her. The baby was frozen in place, trying not to be noticed. What a cutie!
We traveled from Riley-Deppe Park past County Hwy. TT in Deansville, a 5.62-mile trip in three hours. We went farther than I went on Thursday. The river was clear of blockages, and we could have gone even farther if we’d had more time.
Kudos to the Maunesha River Alliance for their excellent care and upkeep of the river. It’s a scenic and enjoyable paddling destination that I enjoyed sharing with my friends!