Date: June 12, 2022; Length: 16 miles; Duration: 6 hours 30 min
Planning: The Tahquamenon River is best known for its Upper & Lower Falls. Upper Falls is a 51-foot waterfall with a 4-mile stretch of water leading to Lower Falls, that has a few Class IV rapids. I intended to include this 4-mile section below Upper Falls to Lower Falls in my plans, but chose to wait for another occasion. In place, I planned to paddle the 16-mile section from below Lower Falls to the Rivermouth, which is absent of rapids.
Shuttle: The 16-mile section of the Tahquamenon River from below Lower Falls to the Rivermouth also has the North Country Scenic Trail connecting it. This was the best case scenario for a shuttle, with it being 15-miles of the trail for the 16 miles of river. The hike was great. After the first 1/2 mile along the road, there were a handful of miles of a mix of dirt road and the trail, with the river often in sight off on the left. The last 10 miles or so were purely trail.
Paddling: After nearly 5 hours of hiking, I thought the grind was over, but the paddling quickly became the new one. The river was plenty deep and clear enough, but also wide and lacking much of a current. There are long straight stretches to it making it feel like you’re getting no where to top it off. So 16 miles of this wasn’t the best idea but after 6 1/2 miles I felt a greater accomplishment in being finished with the trip.
Observations: The water is wide and clear and surrounded by mostly uninterrupted forest. Wildlife were limited to some ducks, geese, and hawks, while other people consisted of only 2 fishing boats towards the end of this trip. Houses were scattered in the second half and the only bridge occurred right before the takeout.
Reflecting: Looking back on this trip, I’ll remember it for the paddling workout, but also the natural surroundings and cool hike for the shuttle. I’m satisfied with this trip being a one time thing but do plan to come back to paddle the 4-mile rapids stretch from below Upper Falls to Lower Falls in the near future.