On my first day paddling, I was joined by Denny Caneff of the River Alliance and Bryan Pierce of the Northwoods Land Trust.

LogoWe put in at Lac Vieux Desert Lake around 8 a.m. Sunday morning. The wild rice bed in the distance fringed the shore. The sky was clear.

I was lucky to have two friends join me for the start: Denny Caneff of the River Alliance and Bryan Pierce of the Northwoods Land Trust.


After pulling over at the dam, we only had a short stretch to cross County Road E. The culverts were wide enough we could pull our boats through (see photos) by leaning forward and crouching down.


The water level measured just less than six inches, which I had heard was the minimum for canoes. Later we found this to be true when we had to walk our boats through shallow rocky areas.

The headwaters stream is clear and we could see many mussels. Bright green aquatic grasses floated underwater.


Beaver dam ahead!

We had heard there might be up to 30 beaver dams on this stretch. We only had to cross 10. This was a relief. It’s definitely ideal to not have to get out of your boat!

My Folbot kayak is hypalon rubber, so it was a little less vulnerable, making it easier for me to haul out and pull around.

Bryan shows protected areas on map.

Bryan shared information on the land trust’s amazing protection work. They’ve protected more than 10,000 acres, including many miles along the Wisconsin River. We saw some of the properties.

One amazing thing about the conservation work of the Northwoods Land Trust is every single acre protected was through donated conservation easements. Bryan showed the dozen properties on a map. These are private lands that provide water quality protection and wildlife habitat.

Packing list

Even when you pack lightly, your kayak gets weighed down for an 18-day trip and this list does not even include food or first aid!).

We didn’t quite make it to our planned destination today. With 18 days of food, the heavy loaded kayak rides low in the water and I got hung up a lot. Sometimes I had to walk down the river bed pulling my kayak.


A great day with great people who helped me a lot! Thanks to Denny for help over beaver dams and good company around the fire.

I’ll stay with Bryan and Gail in Eagle River tonight. Thanks, River Angels!