Molly just about knocked me out of my chair when she said she wanted to canoe the Wisconsin River for her 30th birthday! I had enjoyed the endless sandbars of the Wisconsin as a kid, and my parents still do a yearly trip with their friends which always sounded more like a beach party than a canoe trip, so she must have wanted to see what all the fuss was about. We met up with our friend Jason on Friday at Blue Mound State Park and camped there for the evening. The campground was quite nice with clean bathrooms, mature trees, and sites that were relatively screened from one another.
Things did not start well on Saturday. The clear skies and low 70s in the forecast had turned into rain, wind, and low 60s. Undeterred, we met up with our outfitter, the Wisconsin Canoe Company, to get shuttled with our gear and rental canoe to the launch point. To add insult to injury, we had counted on all three of us fitting in one canoe and the outfitter was renting TINY boats! I took the blame for this miscalculation because I had forgot to ask the size of the boat we would be getting. Instead of a 17’6″ Old Town Tripper I had been used to paddling growing up, we received a 15’8″ Discovery. BIG difference. We somehow got ourselves and our mounds of supplies into the tiny craft and pushed off, certain we would dump within yards of the launch.
We had miraculously made it around a mile down the river before a group decision was made to stop for lunch, some beers, and repacking. The brews helped settle our nerves and we did our best to lower the center of gravity in our tippy little boat. The rest of the day’s paddle went smoothly (surprisingly) and we found a perfect campsite on an island with a massive sandbar.
The weather cleared as camp was set up and we were treated to blue skies and 70s on the sandbar as we played frisbee, did some target practice, and enjoyed the spectacular evening.
Sunday was even better than Saturday evening, and we all got a nice sunburn as we paddled out. Molly had an absolute blast and said the Wisconsin definitely lived up to the hype. We will be returning in 2014!