Manistee-Au Sable cross-state route?

So I was looking at some guide books for the state of Michigan and having done most of the Pere Marquette, I was contemplating if there’s a cross-state route in Michigan outside of the Inland Waterway.
Anyone done this trip? Would you go up the Manistee and down the other or up the Au Sable and down the Manistee? Looks like 6 days on the Au Sable alone if you go downstream. Just looking for info on this, including the Grayling-area portage that would be necessary to pull it off.
Probably a pipe dream, but that’s what the winternet is for, right?

The Kruger/racer folks have done it. Reach out to “Team Kruger Canoes” on Facebook. The one I know of went from Oscoda to Manistee.

Another cross state route goes up the Huron, two different Portage rivers, and down the Grand. Hugh Heward used this route in 1790 to travel from Detroit to Chicago. Not for the faint of heart but it has been done in recent times. For info on the original, look here:

Most years (just not 2020) you can join folks paddling the Hugh Heward challenge and do the 50 mile run from Dimondale to Portland.

Interesting, but being up in Ludington I’d be more interested in pursuing the mid-state crossing. I was hoping to find one to incorporate the PM, but Oscoda to Manistee seems so much more clear-cut. I will look into Kruger, thank you.

I went up the Manistee and down the Au Sable in the mid 70’s. It took a week of long days on the upstream and 3 days down the Au Sable. I was paddling a Jorgen Sampson design kayak made by Jack Bonner in the 60’s, in Spring Lake, Mi. It’s a pretty fast boat with a rudder. I would recommend a rudder for upstream paddling, as you are always using the inside bends of the river. I would also recommend a well padded canoe seat, my butt was killing me. My dad and a friend wanted to come up and do the downstream leg so I didn’t have to do the portage between rivers. If I remember it’s about 6 miles across, a boat cart would be nice. I think it may be a bit tougher now with higher water. Coincidentally I’m in Ludington too.

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I was planning that I’d use my Dagger Reflection 16, which has a skeg. I envision it as a multi-tandem-boat trip. Trying to sign up some friends, but I think they are going to drag me to a whitewater school instead this summer…assuming such things are open this summer. To me, the upstream on the Manistee makes some sense because of the prevailing tailwinds, but I would think the Upper Man has more gradient to battle than the AuSable…I guess you’re going to cover elevation changes both ways.

Yes, it was over 40 years ago, but I remember pulling myself upstream on bushes, and even wading at times.

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Good idea.