Date: April 15, 2023; Length: 5.5 miles; Duration: 2 hours 25 min
Planning: The Mukwonago River is a small river located in southeastern Wisconsin. The 5.5-mile section of the river comes from both Eagle Spring Lake 22 and Rainbow Springs Lake. Lower Phantom Lake follows the takeout at county I bridge, with the river flowing into the Illinois Fox river a few miles later. The 5.5-mile section I chose has been paddled before from those at Wisconsin River Trips so I knew it was possible, but what I didn't realize was the extent of the blockages present between the put in and around Beulah road bridge.
Shuttle: There is an easy 3-mile shuttle for this river trip along County road LO which I hiked with my packed packraft. My put in off Rainbow Springs bridge occurred just beyond a gate blocking vehicle traffic.
Paddling: Actual paddling may have happened less in the first half of this trip compared to the time spent scooting and pushing through, hoisting up and over, or portaging around endless blockages. The river split a few different times early on as well, making it difficult to tell the best navigable route to take with the extra blockages. Beulah road bridge marked a major change in the paddling experience where the water then became and remained wider, deeper, and clear of blockages making for a much more pleasant end to this trip.
Observations: This 5.5-mile section of the Mukwonago feels secluded off on its own for the first half and opens up from Beulah to the takeout at County I bridge. Only a few houses were spotted in both halves of this trip as well one smaller bridge occurring just before Beulah. Two other kayakers were about to put in right behind me, who may have been heading upstream to one of the connected lakes. Wildlife included some geese, ducks, a blue heron, a couple painted turtles, a muskrat swimming, and about a dozen turkeys up on the bank at one point.
Reflecting: I am glad to have done this short section of the Mukwonago River but have no interest in dealing with all those blockages again in the first half of it before Beulah bridge. From Beulah to County I or even beyond to Lower Phantom Lake is more of the appealing part to the Mukwonago River which I would recommend to others.