After the success of the toddler backpack with our youngest daughter the day before, we thought another hike was in order. However, we had scheduled a canoe outing for after lunch so we needed a much shorter hike to do. Thus we drove up the rode a few miles to the Cascade River for a morning hike. As the name implies, it is plum full of waterfalls as it tumbles down the face of the Iron Range mountains into Lake Superior. Also as expected, the areas close to the road were full of people but the further we hiked up the rugged river, the less people we saw.
My wife has never been canoeing before and was all keen to try it. I have done miles of paddling, both flat and whitewater in a canoe and a kayak and was happy to show her how to do so, but wasn't looking forward to this particular time. We had to sign up through the resort which meant having to wait in line at the resort front desk for a half hour just to be there early enough to get one of the five available slots per day and only when the clock struck the exact time despite there being enough people in that particular line to fill the trip up ten times over. If I would have been packing heat, I might have been tempted to shoot the snooty clerk who had to keep checking his watch to make sure he didn't put the list out a second too soon.
My other big reservation about this whole canoe outing was that it was on the Poplar River which if you have seen the last half dozen pictures I have posted of it in previous posts, wasn't really a canoeing stream. It was shallow and rocky. I figured at best the resort was going to plunk down canoes in a deeper pool of water somewhere and we could paddle up and down it for an hour while the provided guide droned on about paddling tips meant for beginners before returning the canoe, not really my type of excitement. Fortunately, I was wrong.
As it turned out, we drove up the river to the bridge we had hiked across the Poplar river the day before and walked up another spur trail along side the river about a half mile. The river changed from a shallow rock bound stream to a deep lazy river in a large valley. The guide who smelled of alcohol and was sipping a clear substance on ice in a plastic cup, turned out to be a fairly decent guy with some interesting knowledge about the area. The pool that we paddled turned out to be several miles in length, perhaps longer, and we had to turn around before we ever found out how far it went before hitting a rapids or became shallow and rocky again.
I was able to coach my wife on some points for paddling a canoe on flat water while enjoying the beautiful scenery and fauna. We saw a great blue heron that we kept chasing from spot to spot up the river and then back down it again. Although my dad and oldest daughter in the boat ahead of us saw a beaver, we missed seeing it though we saw lots of beaver lodges along the banks. It turned out to be a beautiful trip and not what I would have expected for a resort planned activity. It also made me realize that perhaps a river float trip with my family will soon be in my future again after a decade absence.
|Beaver lodge on the Poplar River|