Paddling in the Mid West? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 10-04-2004   #1
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 9
Paddling in the Mid West?

It looks to be that I'm going to be leaving the wonderful state of Colorado, and be moving back to Chicago (career advancement opportunities)...

Does anybody know of places to paddle in Wisconsin or Michigan...Thinking of selling all of my equipment if there is nothing to even paddle out there...Please give me great info, that is still could be worthwhile to hold onto all of my equipment...

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Old 10-04-2004   #2
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 18
look throught the forum for an older posting askingabout S6 boats. The guy who asked the question is from michigan and might have some good info, otherwise I know there are some man-made play parks around the mid-west (one in the Twin Cities) but nothing epic that I have heard of.

I hope the jobs a good one.
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Old 10-04-2004   #3
Carbondale, Colorado
Paddling Since: 94
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 68
keep your stuff

I did 5 years in Chicago and, believe it or not, there is quite a bit of paddling there (well, within a few hours drive).
Lake Michigan is actually where I learned how to paddle. When the lake level was higher there were actual waves during the winter (10-12 foot faces) if you don't mind surfing with ice chunks.

That sounds unpleasant doesn't it. It is not all that bad. There is the Wolf River which has some fun play sections (4 hours away), the nearby Peshtigo which has the most fun play. Piers Gorge on the Menominee is good Midwest Class IV. And there is gnar runoff into Superior in the Spring. As hairy as you want it. Oh yeah, and East Race, an old slalom training thing in Indiana. Never went.

Here is the other part that people forget. The East Coast is a heck of a lot closer than it is to CO. W. Virginia is around 9 hours from Chicago and Tennessee is about the same I think. If you're not afraid of driving, there are pleanty of diehard weekend warriors there.

It's a fun town. Lots of young attractive people and a bar on every corner. Try it for a while but be prepared to drive if you want to paddle.

Post on - quite a few midwestern paddlers there.
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Old 10-04-2004   #4
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 16
There is some whitewater near White Lake, WI. It would be a bit of a haul from Chicago (~5 hours or more). I will check with a friend and try to get more info.

You could also give Rutabaga a call or check the links on their web page. Rutabaga is a large paddle shop in Madison.

Here is their info:

(60 223-9300, 220 W. Broadway, Madison, WI 53716-3968

You will find plenty of water, just not gradient. There is some great touring if you do not find whitewater and do not want to completely give up paddling.
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Old 10-04-2004   #5
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Denver, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 686
I think there is a manmade park in South Bend Indiana (2-3 hours). And I have heard of a dam release in Wisconson that has a whitewater festival. There is a park in North-Central Illinois called Starved Rock where I went ice climbing years ago. Plenty of gradient and some big drops but I don't know about flows or if it is legal (ice climbing was but rock climbing wasn't). Could be a good park and plop, but I wasn't looking at it from a kayaker's perspective then. Good luck.
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Old 10-04-2004   #6
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 37
Wausau, WI has a play park through the center of town. Thats probably where the damn released ww festival is.

Also, check out these links:
Hoofers are an outdoor club out of the University of Wisconsin
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Old 10-04-2004   #7
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 20
midwest water-only a roadtrip away

Check out Its a really active club in MN. They can help you out. Hairboat creeking in northern MN, WI and the UP of MI. The Wolf, Pesh, Black are good. Also check out Bear Paw Resort website in WI. The other plus is you are within a road trip distance of the Ottawa.
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