We woke up Saturday morning to pack the gear we would need for our overnight kayaking trip on the Wisconsin River. We would be paddling 31 miles from Sauk City to Lone Rock. The company (WI River Outings) that was transporting us and renting our kayaks suggests 21 miles for an overnight trip. Of course, we disagreed.
We made sure all our stuff fit into our dry bags, secured A.J. and Liz's kayaks to the car, and planned to stop for a few more food and beverage items.
Ooops! In our excitement to start paddling we forgot to stop at a store. Oh well... we'll figure something out!
As we began our trip down the river, we would interchange segments of paddling with segments of connecting all of our kayaks together and "pontooning it."
We realized a few things:
- This was NOT a swiftly flowing river by any means.
- 99% of the other paddlers had canoes
- Canodians (our term for the people with canoes) can bring LOTS of stuff.... coolers, umbrellas, floaties of all sorts, and other ridiculous items we were not even aware of yet.
- The cheese we brought along definitely needed crackers to accompany it.
- If we wanted to find more food and beverages, we would need to make it 25 miles to Spring Green.
- 25 miles seemed like a lot... progress seemed slow...
We had a few instances along the way of getting caught up on sand bars, and either having to butt scoot our way to deeper water or get out and pull the kayaks off the sand.
There were many large sand bar islands along the way where a choice needed to be made... left or right? Which one seems to be moving faster? Dave was typically in the lead and made the choice, however, at one of these points, A.J. made an executive decision to go left. This brought us into the area we referred to as the bayou. It turned out to be a really cool section of the lake, despite a few shallow areas and logs to navigate around. What was even cooler, was the fact that after we popped back onto the main section of the river and WERE making good progress... much better than we thought. Paddling to Spring Green and walking in to town for provisions might actually be reasonable!
As we approached the area where the map indicated there should be a road, we began to keep a look out. We also devised a plan that two of us would walk into town and two of us would keep paddling with the extra kayaks in tow. Since the river curved around the town area at this point, the walkers would just continue through town and meet the paddlers on the other side. We were having a difficult time seeing the road, so we pulled onto an island and asked the campers if they knew where it was. They were kind enough to not only tell us how to get into town, but also give us sausages and beverages. Good karma wins again! They also told us about a campground a few miles down river that had good food. We decided this sounded AWESOME. After a bit more chatting and laughing, we hopped back in our kayaks and enthusiastically paddled towards food instead of walking in town.
Just as we were beginning to worry that we might somehow miss the campground, we began to hear music. As we paddled around the bend.... THERE IT WAS! WOOHOO!
We beached our kayaks and headed up towards the Wisconsin Riverside RESORT (not campground) to find dinner. We refueled our bodies while listening to the live music. After dinner we paddled a few minutes across the river to a sandbar island where we set up camp for the night.
We woke up Sunday morning knowing we had less than 5 miles to go, but our bodies were sore and tired. After packing up camp, we "pontooned" down river while we ate our breakfast. Soon the grey skies started to drop rain on us.... then heavier rain.
It was at this point that we discussed how many people might be really unhappy about the situation, but we were just fine! Dave even got a crazy burst of energy and began speeding down the river crazily zigzagging between obstacles both real and imagined.
Before long, we found ourselves at our destination, Lone Rock. It was 9:00 am, and our pickup was 10:00, so we had time to brew some coffee before the shuttle arrived.
There were only two other people at our pick-up, so we had lots of room to ourselves on the mini-bus. Little did we know what craziness would ensue as we headed back towards Sauk City.
At the next stop, there was a sea of people, and it was quite amusing watching their faces as our little mini-bus showed up. They were not aware of the full-sized bus was on its way. These crazy canodians had coolers, pool noodles, all sorts of flotation devices, TONS of trash, huge sleeping bags, wet paper towels, and hoola hoops (???).
Back at A.J. and Liz's apartment, we cleaned up all of wet, sandy gear, and relaxed for the evening.