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Midwest Update – 2011

Already six weeks into a stellar 2011 season, the rivers of the Lake Superior region have produced our relatively small paddling community with another year of fantastic whitewater.

Under the Log

Under The Log Rapid, Split Rock River, Minnesota.

Fueled by annual snowmelt and teeming with long bedrock slides, ledge drops, and vertical waterfalls, many paddlers foreign to the area are surprised that such reputable whitewater exists in an region not otherwise known for it’s rivers and creeks. Tradition rich, small crews of local boaters wait patiently in upwards six months through very cold winters for our waters to once again come alive, giving a whole new meaning to the term, “off the couch.”

Illgen Falls, Baptism River, MN.

Illgen Falls, Baptism River, Minnesota.

The runs of the Northwoods carry a uniqueness unlike any where else. Concentrated on the North and South shores of the lake in the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, inland rivers make their final plummet in upwards of several hundred feet per mile into one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world. To be immersed in such aquatic chaos only then to paddle out into a giant sea of calm is an experience second to none, complete only with the traditional roll in the icy waters of Lake Superior.

Slides of the Split Rock

One of many slides, Split Rock River, Minnesota.
This season, team members John Kiffmeyer and I traveled from opposite ends of the country to get back on our home creeks. Like many others that make the annual spring pilgrimage, we were awarded with great flows, cold weather, and one of the most friendly kayaking communities around.

Breaking the Law

Breaking the Law Falls, Encampment River, Minnesota.

For us, the kayaking is all about fun, reuniting with friends, and getting back on our beloved creeks. There’s plenty to go around, so if you’re ever in our neck of the Northwoods during run-off, don’t be shy.

Paradise Beach

Aptly named Paradise Beach.

More beta, trip reports and images on the Midwest paddling scene can be found at