Date: June 17, 2021; Length: 7.5 miles; Duration: 2 hours 30 min
Here is information on stream gauge readings around the date of this paddle (Note: located at the County X bridge, about 10 miles downstream of this trip's takeout.):
Planning: The Baraboo River is located in southwestern Wisconsin and flows southwest into the Wisconsin River. Mike Svob has three trips of the Baraboo outlined in his book Paddling Southern Wisconsin totaling about 20 miles. I used trips two and three to plan for a 7.5 mile section from Giese wayside park to highway 113, which was mostly flat water with a brief stretch of class I rapids and riffles in the town of Baraboo.
Paddling: The river remained narrow to moderate in width with mostly straight stretches and a few island in the mix. The lack of water clarity made it hard to spot boulders just under the surface. The slightly lower than ideal water level made this a minor issue at times, while also contributing to the lack of much of a current besides during the riffles and class I rapids. So the paddling was a bit of a grind but could be much improved at moderately higher water levels.
Observations: The river had a grayish brown color, with mud and rock bottoms. Banks of trees were common to start and end this section, plus one rock wall, with much more development around the middle where the river went through the town of Baraboo itself. Houses, parks, and even signs for the circus were all over the place as were several bridges in this short stretch. As for wildlife, I spotted ducks, geese, two blue heron, an osprey, owl, muskrat and big turtle.
Reflecting: This river trip has potential if paddled at a higher water level. That will help with the paddling and excitement in the rapids but won’t change much about the overly open and developed couple or so miles passing through the town of Baraboo. So it’s not the greatest in terms of generating a natural feel or solitude or there, but it still was a nice trip in other ways and could be even better if you time your paddle right.