Ron Meador spent the last week with a group of 75 paddling down the mighty Namekagon river in Wisconsin.
A rare wood turtle, whose bright colors and distinctive markings stood on the riverbank.
The author at rest in an eddy.
75 paddlers in canoes and kayaks started a 92-mile journey down the Namekagon River in northwestern Wisconsin.
Even on a gray and chilly day, the beauty of the river took my breath away.
Here and there we found wood anemones as well.
The river’s edge delighted us with what seemed like at least 100 shades of green.
More verdant beauty along the river.
Group paddles are a great way to see the river, but sometimes you have to find solitude in eddies and side channels.
Nancy Christel, of the Wisconsin DNR, took some heavy grilling from a few in our group who would prefer we not kill animals for their furs, and gave a good defense of the idea that furbearers are a natural resource and their furs a natural product, and also of the notion that regulated trapping and hunting may promote healthier populations.
I saw miles and miles of skunk cabbage.
A few days of cold temperatures had many of us searching for any available dry layers before setting out again on the river.
After a string of wet, windy and chilly days, Wednesday’s sunset announced the arrival of fair weather.
The author, a novice in negotiating rapids, shot his kayak over a dam and became an instant convert to whitewater paddling.
Jeff Butler of the National Park Service demonstrated the Japanese fly-fishing technique called tenkara.
Thursday morning’s rising temperatures lifted mist from the Namekagon.
Mike Bartz and the hand-built, cedar-strip-and-canvas canoe he brought to his duties paddling sweep.
Marsh marigolds, an early-spring bloomer, were abundant along the entire 92-mile route.
Painted turtles were everywhere the sun was shining, and preferred to put up with us rather than plunge back into 50-degree water.
I’ve seen bigger snapping turtles, but never 8 feet in the air.
A bald eagle watched our boats approach, then left his perch to turn lazy circles overhead.
Canoes are the traditional boat for the Namekagon, but this group preferred kayaks by a wide margin.