Paddling up in the Great Nort' (MN) - Mountain Buzz

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Old 01-10-2012   #1
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 100
Paddling up in the Great Nort' (MN)

I will be in the Minneapolis area early june for my cousins wedding and wanted to do some paddling to show my sick paddling moves off to the relatives, maybe score a bridesmaid or something anybody know of any paddling in that area. If time permits I will also be exploring the North Shore so if you know any good paddling around there that would be great.

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Old 01-10-2012   #2
missoula, montucky
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 40
I chased a gal to mn and found the boaters welcoming and water decent. Check out Rapids Riders Home for local beta. The Kettle near Sandstone, MN is class 3 fun. The St. Louis near Duluth is dam release, so there you go. The upper run is stout (4+) and fun. In early June the North Shore should still have a couple runs like the N. Brule (4), the knife (3) (if its raining), the cascade (4/5), the poplar (4/5), and finally the devils track(5) if you've got some juevos. The south shore of WI is rad to if the snowpack/ rain is right. Get the book Northwoods Whitewater by Jim Rada, it is beautifully done and a great resource.

Good luck with them bridesmaids! Don't get caught! Took me 3 years to get back to the Westside.....
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Old 01-11-2012   #3
Duluth, Minnesota
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 182
MN is my home state.. Definitely check out rapids riders as mtnkasper said. You won't have problems hooking up with people, I might even be back there this summer for a bit.

A minor correction with the above info.

The St. Louis is divided into the Upper and Lower and is separated by a large reservoir: The Upper is straight away class III unless you're talking really high water, then the Electic Ledge-Rescue Rapid-Big Kahuna sequence probably pushes higher.

The Lower is class IV with a couple of spots considered IV+ (unless you go past the normal take out). If doing the Lower, I'd definitely try to hook up with someone who knows it. It's not terribly difficult but you want to know where you are when you get to the swinging bridge drop. (disclaimer: I've always taken out after Snake Bite at the state park, you can go down further through Fin Falls and a couple more drops)

The North Shore stuff is great if that's your thing. A couple other popular runs are: Beaver, Baptism, Temperance is great continuous class III, but like kasper said, a lot of these runs flash quickly and disappear so the best bet is to try and dial into the rapids riders scene.
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Old 01-11-2012   #4
Duluth, Minnesota
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 182
Oh, one more thing.. The AW site is really pretty good for Minnesota. If you see something that is class IV or V, you can bet it's probably on the North Shore. There aren't a lot of gauges for the NS, but a lot of Rapids Riders people rely on reports from a worker at the AmericInn in Silver Bay. You're not going to want to go all the way there and find out there's no water (even though it's beautiful, it's a long drive from the cities. But..what do I know, I probably don't appreciate it as much as I should since I grew up there). I'm not sure what her name is, but she usually posts on rapids riders saying that you can call her for reports. She also usually posts some really good hotel deals for paddlers during the run off.
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Old 01-11-2012   #5
Heaven, Wisconsin
Paddling Since: 1981
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 17
Brian is right on all counts! Tons of classic creeking on the North Shore in a beautiful setting. MN boaters will welcome you and show you the goods, if not to show out-of-staters that we have such phenomenal WW. However, most of the classic runs may be dry by June, especially if we don't get more snowpack in the next few months. The Lower St. Louis is a really unique section, with great rapids and an other-worldly geology. It's a dam controlled, reliable run throughout the summer and it's easy to find someone to boat it on weekends. Make your presence known on the RR site as you get closer to summer and you will undoubtedly find people to boat/carpool with on the Kettle or St. Louis. We have many "commuters" up to those runs on weekends. Have fun.
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Old 01-11-2012   #6
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,603
Minnesota nice can be so refreshing!
Living in Montana, boating in Idaho
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Old 01-11-2012   #7
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Bend, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 333
Funny, I might be heading that way in early june too if the engaged couple can keep it that way. I know the relatives want to stay a week so I think I'll have time to boat.

This will be the first week of June.
This mustache has a weight limit!
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Old 01-11-2012   #8
Duluth, Minnesota
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 182
I'm almost positive I'll be there. We're having a baby in early May in Seattle, then driving to Minnesota soon afterwards. If anyone is interested in hitting the river there, give me a shout.
2 won ate 2 nein zero won ate three 4
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Old 01-11-2012   #9
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Focus on your own damn family, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1981
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 243
Recovering Minnesotan here.

The kettle should have water in June. It's nice.

The upper St. Louis is not really worth paddling. The lower all the way well past swinging bridge is and should have water. Past swinging bridge it's an incredible series of ledges.

The north shore will likely be dry. Check out the last five drops of the Cascade. I was the second person to run the first three back in the mid nineties. They are right along highway 61.

MMMM Devils Track.
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Old 01-17-2012   #10
Beaverton, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 572
This looks legit enough for me to consider a visit home:
(Also a Minnesotan exile)

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