Date: June 12, 2021; Length: 9.5 miles; Duration: 2 hours 45 min
Planning: The Wolf River is located in northeastern Wisconsin and flows southeast through the Menominee Reservation before entering Lake Winnebago. Mike Svob has five successive trips of the Wolf River totaling 60 miles in his book Paddling Northern Wisconsin, which I used to plan for the 9.5-mile section from Langlade to county road M (he had it at 9.8 miles).
Paddling: This section of the Wolf river, and much of the Wolf in general, is typically wide, with good depth, and a solid current. Hazards like downed trees aren’t much of an issue here. There were several islands in this stretch of river, and a mix of straight and winding spots. Oh and there is an abundance of riffles to up to strong class II rapids, so plenty of fun had.
Rapids: Riffles and class I rapids intermittently occur throughout, while specific class II rapids are named, mapped and described in how to best paddle on through. The first of which is Crowle rapids, a solid class II of big waves and drops in a winding route. It’s definitely one to be on your toes for. Horserace rapids follows less than a mile later. It was quick and fun, a pretty straight forward section of rapids that is comparably easy to run clean and dry. Twenty-Day rapids takes place two miles later, which wasn’t too tricky to maneuver through either, with the main note being to stay left at the end due to the more shallow boulders on the right. After about four more miles Boy Scout rapids occurred. Like Crowle, this is a solid and challenging class II rapid, which starts at the first footbridge. Lots of winding with big waves, drops and giant boulders took place. Once through Boy Scout, the last rapid for me was Hanson’s rapids, a pretty straight forward set of boulder gardens.
Observations: The river has a dark brown color with thankfully decent clarity for spotting boulders. Surroundings remained pretty natural, with forest on both sides of the river throughout, only a few houses early on, and no bridges in this near ten miles of river. I guess the least natural aspect of this trip were all the other paddlers I came across. It may have been only three different groups of paddlers but they were large ones with one consisting of 18 total rafts and at least double the paddlers. Wildlife were less common, but there were still spottings of a snapping turtle, muskrat, three deer, a couple bald eagles, some ducks and a family of geese.
Reflecting: Whether it be the nature, wildlife, leisure paddling, or fun rapids, this section of the Wolf river is one I greatly enjoyed. I would definitely recommend it to other paddlers and wouldn’t mind returning with others to get out there again. But for now, I’m looking for this next section of the Wolf to paddle on.