Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Float with my Frater

A lot of outdoorsy people are constantly asked by family and friends why they go out and do the things that they do; why subject yourself to getting blisters, scrapes, bug bites? Why eat salty freeze-dried pouches when you could just hit up McDonald's? In essence, why deprive yourself and risk injury by doing things in the outdoors? The answer: I have no clue, but I do. However I am lucky enough to have a brother who is not one of these people, Zach.

(photo by Jeannette Ware)

He understands the primal feeling of starting a fire without matches, and the pride in making do with the materials that you have. That is why we had such a great trip this past week down the Big Manistee River.

We put in at Tippy Dam and snaked out way through the combat fishermen who were eagerly casting within 15 feet of one another. After a few bends we were rid of the mass of people and only ran into the occasional boat, or group of guys on the shore.

When I made this trip the Monday before, I did so alone, and in doing so I was very cautious in my actions. I did not search the log jams for hidden treasures or spend too much time out of my kayak. That trip was mostly a personal time trial and endurance run.

Zach happily dodges the combat fishermen. (photo by Jeannette Ware)

(photo by Jeannette Ware)

However when there are two people you can take more liberties than when you are alone. Zach and I shot up into the jams searching for whatever treasure we could find; bottles, lures and bobbers mostly. Doing such adds considerable time on to the run but what it adds in time, it multiplies in enjoyment. Between the two of us we found about 20 bobbers, and 15 crank-baits, not a bad day at all!

A bit of treasure from one plentiful jam.

We were lucky enough to have had a large sampling of wildlife on our trip. Among them were many ducks, geese actually quite a few trout swimming in the shallows. We also saw 6 or 7 muskrats both on shore and swimming in the water, funny little creatures and quite fearless too, Zach had one swimming directly towards him while he worked on a lure stuck in a jam. The coolest animal sighting of the day personally was a weasel, or maybe it was mink, either way we saw it atop a log on a bank. Very cautious little bugger.
Look at this little fellow who was searching for some minnows.

Zach scans the log jam to determine if it will be fruitful.

When it was time to fix lunch we opted for some Chicken Ramen and canned beans. We decided to start a small blaze to boil the ramen water sans lighter/ matches. 

It started with small pit with wood shavings as kindling:

Then we made a Les Stroud inspired tinder bundle and struck at it with out flint like to sorcerers until we saw a faint wisp of smoke. Zach quickly grabbed the bundle and coaxed a flame:

Welcome to Yonkers' riverside cantina; you want beans or soup?

Chef Zach stirs the river-water based Ramen. MMMMmmmmm

With out stomachs full of the kind of meal that as Zach put it you take a nap after, we continued to travel with the current.
Lucky for us we had favorable conditions. Great day of paddlin'!
Checkout that knife: ready at all times.

Sweet reflection caught while checking out one of the larger tributaries.

We had a great trip, I look forward to doing it again. Maybe next time the thermals will not be necessary!

I am thinking about doing a trip in August; Arcadia to Onekama via Lake Michigan, or Arcadia and back from Onekama. I would prefer the latter with a start early in the morning.

1 comment:

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

Awesome trip! Ellen and I haven't paddled yet this year. Waiting for a little more warmth.