Michigan Paddler, new to site

Hi everyone! I’m a newbie to the forums and learning on the fly on how to post and where to post, so please be patient with me if something is misplaced, etc.

As for an introduction, I live in Mason County, Michigan, work in the woods, play in the woods, and love the water as well. My wife and I love exploring the backcountry as well as some of the small town attractions and historic areas of interests too. Occasionally we’ll find an excuse to spend a day or two in large town/city, but even then it’s more of an outdoor ‘site-seeing’ adventure in the city.

Our regular paddle spots are the Pere Marquette, Big Sable River, Little Manistee, Manistee, White River, Pine River, various lakes in Mason County, as well as the big lake. We usually paddle multiple times a week and with the occasional overnight trip on a river or lake. Every now and then we’ll take a trip across the state to paddle a new river or lake and explore the land in between.

We’ve got a few years of white water and canoe tripping experiences under our belts and hope to keep the momentum going with those, especially with the west U.P. rivers. (Ontonagon system, Escanaba, Paint, Brule, Michigamme… ) time and paddle companions are the limiting factors, lol!

Paddle companions in our neck of the woods are hard to come by for sure, especially for mid-week, local paddles. We use the Meetup apps and occasionally go on a paddling event with one of local paddling meetup groups, but find the large group sizes suffocating and timing of the trips not conducive to our working schedules (we are in our 30’s).

What motivated me to create a profile on this site as well as the canoe tripping site is to connect with fellow paddlers from afar as well as local.

Looking forward to the conversations, insight, musings, and hopefully paddling with some great company!

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Welcome. Sounds like you have some nice adventures planned.

Greetings from the Tip of the Mitt. Kayak paddler here, but maybe @rival51 will stop by. He has loads of expertise and experience.

Hello and welcome @Jesse37hemlock. In Mason county, you are probably closer to Rookie than me but, based on her postings here, she is mostly a solo open water paddler. A lot of what I do is through our local club, the Landing Oar And Paddle Club (LOAPC). We schedule group trips through Meetup:


This year with Covid we have had to dial back and have been sticking to NO Shuttle trips, mostly local. Usually we are on many of the rivers that you mention in the Lower Peninsula. There are still some fall trips (open water and the Ausable) in the original schedule but that is a “It depends”. Trips are mostly weekend friendly unless they are planned for longer. Group sizes are often under 10 and some such as the Manistee hike coming up are explicitly limited in size. The organizers of open water and whitewater trips will often need to verify that your skills & equipment are appropriate. We do paddle year round with lots in Spring and Fall. There is an annual overnight trip on the Ausable the end of February.

Your list of UP rivers brings back memories. I’ve swum the Michigamme, checked the rivets on the bottom or a Grumman while looking down Lower Hemlock on the Paint (& we didn’t swim there) and swum the same hole on the Montreal twice.

Greetings from Livingston County. You paddle some great rivers. But be advised “the big lake” is the one north of the UP. :wink:

So very true.

You sure that’s not “the cold lake”? Surface temps on the lake that shares the name with the state were in the low 80’s around here recently.

Good call out on the use of “big lake”. That’s a habit of living close to Lake Michigan, in that the locals around me call it that often (and I now do occasionally). It was the same when I lived in Munising and with Superior. Wonder if folks on the east coast sometimes refer Lake Huron as such too?

You are fortunate to have a wife who enjoys outdoor activities.

Thanks rival51! Your memories of the UP rivers make me want to head up there pronto! When I lived in the U.P. I had hiker tunnel vision (along with a few other things) and hadn’t discovered the world of paddling quite yet so never took advantage of the paddling paradise while living in it. Now that I’m in the lower peninsula, I’m craving it! Especially this year as our normal haunts are a little more popular this year.

A broader question to the group, do people post trips and paddling meetups/opportunities through the site or is it usually through private invitations and other direct correspondences such as phone, txts, email, etc.?

Most trips seem to be posted on local Meetup sites and/or Club sites that can be found with a Google search. However, this summer with the pandemic very few trips are being listed. What few trips are being organized, many are private peer paddles consisting of people who have known each other for a long time. Even then, many of these groups are enforcing social distancing and eliminating after paddle social events.

Completely understandable. I wonder if people would be more inclined to attend more local, flatwater (medium to small lakes and slowmoving rivers) events didn’t require vehicle shuttling?

I have posted several get togethers here in past years. Still intend to for our annual Edisto River trip. Typically fall or spring.

One paddling club in Traverse City, but its calendar shows mostly river paddles doing clean-up work. They had scheduled one trip to Power Island, which is an easy paddle from Bowers Harbor.

There is a group, Northern Michigan Hiking, Backpacking and Kayaking out of Novi, MI which does have a meet-up with paddling trips. https://www.meetup.com/meetup-group-TadkKJKt/

I like paddles with no shuttles; had a lovely river and creek paddle in central Michigan today. Our local paddling group in Berrien County (SW Michigan) dissolved, it was a pretty cool group of retired but fairly hard core mostly-kayak paddlers that paddled often. I wonder if the overhead of running a club gets old for people. Informal paddles may be best. Here’s a link to the club I used to paddle with in the Ann Arbor/Detroit area.


Almost ever shuttle around here unless it is true whitewater. Paddle into wind or river direction, ride it back.

You are not too far from the Jordan River, if you haven’t paddled ot yet put it on your to do list.

Yes, LOAPC has been only doing No Shuttle trips. Either up & back on mild rivers, lake paddles, or hiking loops.

The Chesapeake Paddlers Association was started around 1988 and was organized around a “phone tree list”. We incorporated in 2006 as a non-profit and are still going strong with almost 700 members. The Club consists of mostly older members. The local whippersnappers seem to prefer white water or SUPs, whereas we are a sea kayaking Club. In a normal year, besides our educational events, our volunteer leaders run free trips pretty much every weekend and we have about 8 groups that meet on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday evening every week during the warmer months.

The weekend trips consist of day trips as well as multi day car and kayak campers.

For a day trip, I personally hate shuttles. They take up too much time. Bear in mind almost all of our day are not one way river paddles, they’re out and back. Most of these are on the open Bay and it’s larger rivers and many coves and creeks. The Chesapeake Bay has 11,684 miles or shoreline. It is the largest estuary in the US and the third largest in the world.

I’ve been paddling for 21 years and haven’t seen but a fraction of what this area has to offer. I wish I had taken up kayaking many years earlier.