Date: July 25, 2020; Length: 7.6 miles; Duration: 2 hours 30 min
I chose to paddle on the Plover River for its close proximity to the Little Wolf River, wanting to knock two out while in the area instead of just one. So, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot going into this river trip, especially coming off paddling on the Little Wolf with its mix of calm water and rapids on an intimate river surrounded by trees offering just about all a paddler could desire. That being said, I chose to paddle about a 7.5 mile section of the Plover from Bentley road to Jordan Park near Stevens Point. And just getting off the Little Wolf River, I decided to paddle first, parking my car at the put in. Bentley road bridge has side of the road parking, but a cleared area forming a small landing for easy access to the water.
After reinflating my packraft and strapping my backpack down to it, I put in and was now on the Plover River. The river had a light brown color to it with low clarity, likely due to its mud bottom, though I did see some rocks towards the end of this section. This section had a good amount of winding and somewhat of a current, while downed trees were an all too common sight and nuisance to maneuver around. The width stayed pretty consistent until the last couple miles where it really widened out thanks first to remnants of an old dam and then a current dam just beyond my takeout. On the plus side, the old dam provided a fun class I rapid of a run over some big smooth rocks, which you could also portage. The banks of the Plover were a mix of trees and open grassy areas. Houses were uncommon and only one accessible bridge occurred between my put in and takeout, with two other smaller, possibly private bridges in there as well. With the limited access and few houses, you’d think this would generate few other paddlers. But that was definitely not the case, as there were three different big groups of people that I passed in this short stretch of river. I realize now all the ways that this was just inevitable, in that it was a Saturday afternoon, in the middle of Summer, just outside a college town, and an easy float of a river occurring in a stretch between two dams. Somewhere in there I also spotted a blue heron and bald eagle to balance things out slightly more.
The last part of this river trip felt as long as the rest of it though. This was the Jordan Pond part that greatly widens out and slows to a standstill because of the dam just beyond Jordan Park. So many people were out there too, while I stuck to the west side of the pond eyeing up where the landing will be on the right for Jordan Park. Eventually I spotted a dock of a landing, with it being a pond now and took out there after 2.5 hours of paddling. After I deflated everything and packed it in my backpack, I started my hike back to my car at the put in. This was a pretty quick one in, getting there in under two hours and ending my Plover River trip experience. It definitely doesn’t live up to others I’ve done but I’m glad to have now at least checked it off the list.