Thursday, June 14, 2012

Canoe Trip in the Hiawatha National Forest

In my life I have done a lot of canoeing, but not as of late. Thanks to friend, Bill, for a great day yesterday. I drove a little more than an hour southwest from Grand Marais down H58 West and then turned south onto Forest Highway 13. Here is a picture I took from one of my favorite spots on the new H58.

The planned canoe route was a section of the Indian River in the Hiawatha National Forest.

The 51 mile long Indian River was designated a Federal Wild and Scenic River in 1992. The designation will allow the nationally significant resource values and free flowing condition to be protected for future generations. The excellent water quality of the Indian River is an important component of the local ecosystem and provides quality habitat for fish and game species. Many rare, threatened or sensitive species such as the bald eagle, American marten, wolf, common loon, osprey and wood turtle call the corridor home. Once a working river during the log driving era, the Indian now is a great river for a day paddle or a multi day canoe trip.

The river provides beautiful and varied scenery, from canyon-like banks and sharp curves, to broad marshland flats. Along the banks of the river there are northern hardwoods, mixed conifers, rolling hills and marshlands. The average width of the Indian River is 30-50 feet and has an average depth of one to three feet. The Indian River stretches all the way from Doe Lake on Forest Road 2268 (13 miles south of Munising) to Indian Lake just north of US 2. There are multiple access points to the river.

We started at Fish Lake.

We saw several of the local inhabitants...

In a few spots along the Indian River, you can still see evidence from the logging days a century ago.  In the photo below there are vertical posts that marked the area where loggers dammed the cut and floating logs.  When the river level was high enough, they would then release the logs down stream.

There were only a few areas of the river with fast flowing rapids.  Mostly we were able to drift down stream.  There are quite a few places with downed wood, but for the most part areas have been cut through the downed trees to allow canoe passage.  We did not have to portage or get out of the canoe at all, other than stopping to find a place to have a picnic lunch. 

Another local resident...

We were on the river all afternoon.  At the end of our trip, we took a side trip into a lake and then went ashore on an island to watch the sunset.

We then ended our trip at the Pine Marten Run Trailhead.

1 comment:

  1. Tres bien! This has me itching to get out on the water myself. How were the bugs, and did you hear many loons?