This year marked the fifth Labor Day Kayak/Canoe Trip that we’ve taken (I’ve been on the last 4, since the first outing was guys only). As usual, it was a relaxing, beautiful weekend on the Wisconsin River. We started near Arena at Trader’s Bar & Grill campgrounds, and paddled about 42 miles over 4 days to Boscabel. We lucked out with sunny skies, warm to hot weather, and no rain.
Some of the highlights this year included the very-up-close spotting of a hawk eating a fish on a sandbar, a vortex of wind and river water that created a mini-tornado, a sandbar full of cows, and our annual fried chicken and beer run. With temperatures in the high 90’s, we did plenty of swimming.
Thursday, Aug. 30-Monday, Sept. 3, 2012
For the third year in a year (fourth for some of my traveling companions), I spent an extended Labor Day weekend floating down the Wisconsin River. It is one of the most relaxing yet most rustic trips we do each year.
We start on Thursday night. After work, we drive 3.5 hours to Arena, WI and camp out at Traders Bar & Grill Campgrounds, the same place we do our huge annual caboozing trip. The next morning, we pack up all our gear into kayaks and launch into the river. Depending on the weather and river flow, we travel anywhere from 10 to 20 miles until late afternoon, when we start scouting out a good island to spend the night. Then we set up camp, filter some drinking water, build a fire, enjoy some boxed wine, and look at the stars.
Kurt and I usually rent our own single kayaks for this trip, but this year we got a canoe so we could bring our new puppy, River. Her name is partly owed to our many trips in Wisconsin and our love of camping (also, we’re Firefly nerds) so we were excited to bring her along. The trip was definitely paradise for dogs. She loved chasing butterflies and running leash-free on our private sandbars.
Every year, we end up passing the launch at Port Andrew on Sunday, and we stop there to hit up a gas station/convenience store to get fried chicken and beer. There is nothing better than floating down the Wisconsin River, belly full of delicious chicken with an ice-cold beer in your hand. I dream of it during bitter Chicago winters.Kurt and I came off the river a day early this year since I was scheduled for knee surgery on Wednesday the 5th. We were picked up at Boscobel so we did roughly 45 miles total. It was the perfect way to get outdoors and enjoy the last dog days of summer before heading into knee surgery and recuperation.
Until next year….