Lower Wisconsin Riverway

We (myself and my GF Tricia)had the pleasure of paddling the Lower Wisoconsin River with Steve and Audrey and of course Hannah, under less than ideal conditions.

We paddled between Spring Green and Muscoda which are west of Madison.

We met at the Victoria Riverside campground in Muscoda Friday afternoon. We set up camp next to Steve and Audrie and played catch with Hannah, their lab.

Our plan was to shuttle boats (Their canoe and our kayaks) to the put in at Spring Green saturday am. It was a nice afternoon, we walked down to the river and followed a path along the river. It was a bit breezy, but comfortable when the sun was shining.

We enjoyed dinner and got a fire going and enjoyed fine conversation and some libations and then it was off to sleep. We heard sandhill cranes and coyotes throughout the night.

Woke to a fog shrouded river. It had gotten down into the low 30’s and was a bit chilly. We enjoyed a breakfast of bacon and pancakes washed down with hot tea. After packing up, we left for Spring Green. We had to make a detour as the main road through town was under construction. After offloading our gear, Steve and I shuttled the vehicles while the girls waited with our gear.

The Wisconsin is a beautiful river to paddle, good current and a sand bottom. The shoreline is void of develpoment for the most part and we saw bald eagles, osprey and sandhill cranes. The weather was against us.

It was overcast and windy-very windy with gusts at times up to 30mph. It was in our face the whole time. Paddling was quite an effort. I had brought my camera but taking pictures was out of the question in the wind, it was too gusty.

We paddled for a while, but progress was hard gained. We took a break along the river on a sheltered beach. Hannah was happy to run again!! With the threat of rain, we go back into out boats and continued on through Lone Rock.

We took advantage of the sheltered area of a small branch that got us out of the wind-for a while.

When we joined back into the main part of the river, the winds had increased whipping up 1-2 foot choppy waves combined with the current made for interesting paddling. We pulled over for a break and to discuss options. We were hoping the wind would die down soon. We got back out on the water and continued on. We passed what had to be paddlers camping on a beach, though I did not see anyone. Soon we were at the destination for the night, a small beach in the lee of the wind. We stretched our tired bodies and unloaded gear while Hannah ran around happy to be out of the canoe!

The winds died slowly and the sun made an effort to come out for a while. We set up camp and made hot drinks and started dinner. I was beat.

After dinner, we built a fire and threw the ball for Hannah -after the day she had, she deserved it!!!

We saw small flocks of sandhill cranes and eagles flying in the winds. As it got dark and our bellied full of hot food, we relaxed around the fire reliving the days events. We listened to the weather radio which predicted a chance of snow overnight and -more wind for tommorrow.

We retired for the evening-and Hannah stopped by to say goodnight .

We were all up early the next am, hopefull an early start would get us far upriver before the winds started up. We heard owls, coyotes and sandhills throughout the night. It was clear with lots of stars!!

After a quick breakfast, we packed up and were on our way.

It was a nice morning, not too much wind to start off.

As we rounded the bend in the river that took us close to Highway 60, the winds increased and it looked like it would snow. We commented how beautiful a paddle this would be in the fall with the colors!!

We stopped for a break and then continued on. We watched the occasional eagle swopping in the winds.

Eventually we were able to get into the side channels of the river that offered protection from the wind.

Soon we could see the Muscoda water tower. As we were finishing uop the paddle, it sarted to sleet. I was glad to be finished. We quickly loaded gear and dropped the girls off at a Restaraunt, LJ’s while Steve and I went to retrieve his truck at the putin. The heat from my van and hot coffe were wonderful and soon Hannah was fast asleep.

We returned to LJ’s where we enjoyed Prime Rib sandwiches, thanks for lunch by the way!!

In spite of the weather it was good to get out and paddle. We will return there again hopefully in the fall and in better weather!!

Thanks for a great weekend!!


I never hiked a trail

Sounds like a great time
Glad you enjoyed it.

This sounds familiar
Headwinds on the Lower Wisconsin River are pretty common. Last October a few of us ran into such wind as to make it most likely impossible to set up tents out in the open. Check out this photo:


Did you see any high-flying clouds of sand, thick enough to blot out the view of the trees on shore? In really strong wind, the sandstorms can be something to behold. Good to hear you had fun in spite of the weather, and it sounds like you “did it up right”, as far as planning the menu. I figured the weather in that area might be as you described, because it was windy and unseasonably cold while I was down at the Ozark Roundezvous. That first long side channel you spoke of is one I am quite familiar with. Those places really come in handy when the wind is kicking up, huh? Also, it just wouldn’t be the “right” if you camped in that area without being entertained by the barred owls.

Thanks for the report.

We didn’t run into any gusts such that they would have created sandstorms and the water had been high recently leaving the sand/mud hardpack that happens after the water drops, so everything was compact. I had always wanted to takke the side channel through Lone Rock but never felt the need, I will remember that for the future!!

Good food definitely makes the difference especially un der those conditions, and the temperatures forze the ice in our cooler at night!!

The owls are great to listen to!!!I think we will try and do a fall trip when the colors are good maybe in Oct. Can’t wait.

deja-vu all over again…
Here I thought someone else had taken the trip I opted out of but, no, it’s one of my favorite trip companions…I hope to join the fall trip…I hate wind and would never have been strong enough to fight against the 30mph gusts they coped with so hope this fall brings less wind…these guys would’ve had a good time no matter what the weather…their ladies now, they may have another take on the trip…LOL…