Continuing Charlie's Final Report:
Wednesday April 23:
Had breakfast and broke camp and were on the river (Portage) about 9:00 AM. After paddling upstream for almost two weeks it felt good to be going downstream again.....downstream....Ahh downstream.....I can still only imagine what it must have felt like to Verlen Kruger, Clint Wadell, Steve Landick and Valerie Fons and all the people I don't know about after paddling hundreds and thousands of miles upstream....paddling down the Portage River to Little Portage Lake was not a bad paddle....a few places we had to pull over or around but not bad at all.....We paddled south on Little Portage Lake to the outlet of the Portage River and downstream to Portage Lake Road. Doug got out of his waders while we took a break. Paddling under the road thru some big tiles there were hundreds of big spiders that had big webs hanging down from the top of the tile. We kept our head down..... way down.....and got thru without a bite. I said it was the Tunnel of Love....if you loved spiders.....
Paddling downstream headed for the Portage drain we met another paddler by the last name of Humphrey....we asked him where the river was and he said we had passed it. The whole area was flooded and hard to tell where the channel was. He asked us if we were the guys who were paddling across Michigan and said he had read about it. I asked him if he knew about the area and he said he had lived there all his life and the big hill to the north of where we were floating was a summer camp that the Indians used. Looking at it it made sense too. He grew up with the boys who farmed that field and said that he has a box of arrowheads and Indian relics.
We said goodbye and looked at our maps....the ones Jim gave us being the best we used them to navigate working our way west and staying on the north side of the flooding we came right into the channel....we were glad for those maps....it would have taken a while to know where to go without them. We paddled into the Portage drain and after passing under Dunn Road and around a bend in the river it was straight as an arrow for most of the rest of the way to the Portage and Grand River intersection. It was like I 75 after being on those creeks the past few days. Most of the farmland next to the river being flooded makes you wonder why they channelized it in the first place.
.After a lunch break at a spot where and old road used to cross we paddled into the Grand River....another milestone...paddling down the Grand was not as good...a lot of log jams but except for getting out and dragging over in one place we managed to get around everything else by going out of the river channel where it was flooded to get around the log jams and before the day was over we did that a lot finding the woods easier to paddle thru than the river channel itself. It was fun picking our route thru the trees to get back to the river without having to back up to get thru. We arrived at the US 127 and Grand River intersection around 7:30 PM. Another long day with more to come.
Deb picked us up and Doug stayed at our house overnight.