Paddling the Wisconsin River pt.3 Co. K to Co. G

As with parts one and two, check the Google Map and use the satellite view.

After reaching mile 19, I got in my car and went home for a good night’s sleep. We were staying in a resort just 30 miles away, so I didn’t even think about camping out. The next day, I returned to do the next 16 miles (Co. K to Co. G).

Now, sixteen miles is a lot of water for part of a day, but I didn’t hurry to get started.  This stretch  lacks the sharp differences of the first 19 miles. The river is pretty constant, with enough water and current to move you along, enough meanders to keep you occupied, but very few identifiable mile markers.

As you can see from the Googele Map, you soon move away from the highway, so it is quiet, with no development or houses. The only real mile markers are the two canoe campsites at mile 23 and 25. I didn’t see the mile 23 campsite at all, so when I stopped at  a campsite, I was misplaced. I didn’t think I was making very good time. As I was pulling in here, a group of seven young women in three canoes were pulling out. I used the facilities, rested and stretched then set out to catch them. A convoy moves at the speed of the slowest ship, so a lone kayak should be able to catch them.  Plus I think that a kayak makes better time than a canoe in such constricted waters. It is just easier to maintain speed through turns. I took about 45 minutes before I passed them.

A mile or two  after mile 25, the river approaches the highway. After the quiet, the sound is very apparent, though you never see the road. Looking at my map, I realized where I was and that I was making better time than I thought. This was a relief, but put me in the wrong frame of mind. I was only half way through sixteen miles.

The river worked west and the road tended east, so quiet was slowly restored. This was where a compass and a better look at satellite  images would have helped. I could hear airplanes from the Eagle River airport, which is near Co. G, so I started to be anxious to be done, when I still had another 5-6 miles to go.

Suddenly, the river changed. Not the water so much as the banks. The distant pines closed in and grew leaves. Instead of a broad valley with distant pines, I had large trees right on the banks, some of them dropping into the river. This is familiar territory for me, since it resembled the Plover River, which I paddle often. A few cottage and houses appeared, leading me to think I was nearly in Eagle River (nope).

Still, this is pleasant water to paddle. Family safe, pretty and fairly open. Good current even in August and clear paths through downed wood. The Co. G bridge is just after a bend (most of the river is just after a bend), so you get no warning you have arrived, but also no sense you are almost there. I felt like a living example of Zeno’s paradox.

When you finally arrive (as I did after making good time – 16 miles in 5.5 hours) the Co. G landing is a good one. Nice paved parking lot, toilet and tables. Missing only water.

Below this landing, the river widens int0 a flowage caused by the Otter Rapids dam. I had no interest in paddling a long lake through a city, past banks paved with cottages. Part 4 will pickup below the dam.

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