I hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend. My wife and I were finally able to take a trip with her parents and grandparents up to the family cabin in Cable. We had been trying to find a weekend that would work best for everyone all summer, and we finally took our chance.
It was a very relaxing weekend, with lots of good food, conversation and company. We attempted to do some four-wheeling, but due to a faulty fan in one of the ATV’s our trip got cut short. No big deal – it was still a lot of fun.
Our next mission, however, would be a bit of… an ‘adventure’ per say.
Much to the disdain of my mother in law, the next plan for the weekend was to Kayak down the Namekagon River. This is something that her family has done before, but this time, Kylee’s grandpa told us about a different stretch of the river that was recommended to him.
That stretch might as well have been named The River Styx.
Other than my mother in law, Tricia, already being uncomfortable with the thought of kayaking, the beginning of the trip ran relatively smoothly. Very low flow, beautiful scenery and hardly any work at all. That would all change very quickly.
We soon started realizing how very shallow the river really was. We came up on our first set of “rapids” that were hardly a few inches of water flowing over the rocky bottom. No problem. We made our way through with a little bit of elbow grease and pushed onward.
Then, we started hitting more “rapids”, this time flowing a bit harder. Tricia was not amused. As we approached one set that was particularly daunting, I tried my best to explain to her how to paddle backwards and slow down so that I could go first and check things out. That didn’t happen.
“Matt! Matt! I can’t slow down! I can’t slow down my boat!”, she screamed as she and her “boat” careened past me – all the while swinging her paddle so violently, I almost lost my head. “Well, nothing I can do now,” I thought and sent her screaming down the rapids. She was in pure survival mode at that point, and she took it like a champ!
I hopped out of my kayak and guided Kylee (also unamused) down the rapids a bit more thoughtfully than Tricia. Once we were all through, we planned on getting off at the first stop we could. The trip was estimated to take about two and a half hours in total, which we had reached, so we thought we were all done. Nope. Not even close.
About six or seven sets of “rapids” and shallow spots where we had to get out and pull our kayaks were ahead of us after that point. I fell in. Kylee fell in. Tricia fell in. Eric was the only one left unscathed. Everyone was silent another two hours later as we pushed forward, except my wonderful wife who was singing “Just Around the Riverbend” on repeat. I thought she had lost it.
After nearly five hours of paddling, wading and almost swimming, we made our exit. After we did, Kylee’s grandpa told us that a man at the local Legion said the trip would take at least two more hours than normal when he told him where we launched. Would’ve been nice to know!
Despite our interesting voyage down the Namekagon (a trip Tricia assures will never happen again) we all had a good laugh about it back at the cabin. Nobody was hurt, we had a new story to tell, and we burned off all the calories of the food we ate that weekend. All in all, it was a great trip, and I am very grateful to have spent every relaxing and harrowing moment with my family.
I always welcome your comments, questions, and concerns. Please feel free to reach out to me at any time.
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Baldwin, Wisconsin 54002