Continuing with the Heward Journal to match our Intrepid Four:
Paddle Day 13 - HEWARD SPENDS A WEEK GETTING READY TO START DOWNSTREAM Wednesday Apl 14th 1790. A rainey Night & wet Morning made it late before we started in about a mile & half farther up the Run came to the portage which points nearly South or South by West.
My Note: After inspecting the portage Heward decides to return to the Ypsilanti settlement to get more corn. He pays "the Savage" with a gun, a white shirt and a little powder and shot and they head off down an Indian trail which crosses the portage. The Engagee's are left to make the carry of their canoes and goods across the portage. Heward and the Indian guide follow what is now North Territorial Road and Island Lake Road to "the Forks" where they "camped a Wet Night".
Thursday Apl 15th 1790. Rose early at Day break & set off.
My Note: They waded across Mill Creek "...the Water Mid Waist deep." and followed the trail along the river's right bank back to the Ypsilanti settlement and Indian village. There Heward engaged an Indian with two horses to go back with him the next day. He also thought he had arranged to buy corn, "grease" and sugar.from the settlers. The "grease" would be bear fat.
Friday Apl 16th 1790. Rose at Daybreak & with Mr Godfroy went to find the Indian that he might not drink, found that he had been drinking in the Night & seemed uncertain but still said he would go & sent to hunt his Horses.
My Note: Meanwhile Heward went to the settlers to get his corn and found them loading all their corn in a batteau to send it to Detroit. While arguing with the settlers the Indian showed up half drunk and announced that he loved his horses and that Heward's load would be too heavy for them. Thereupon Heward gave up for the day and the Indians went off to drink all night.
Saturday Apl 17th 1790. The Indians all drunk except the one I had engaged to go & he sleeping.
My Note: It started to rain hard. Heward considered giving up and heading back to Detroit if he couldn't get help. Finally the Indian agreed to go (without his horses and for higher pay) so about an hour before sunset they started up the trail carrying the corn, grease, sugar and a turkey on their backs.
Sunday Apl 18th 1790. A very cold night & I had no Blanket, the Corn being in it. Traveled very hard this day & camped at Sun Set another very cold night. (Charlie will empathize).
Monday---Apl 19th 1790. Arrived at the portage about Mid day paid the Indian 3 Callo Shirts & some Powder & Ball in full. Went with Joe to measure the Portage beginning at eh South End with a line of 100 feet English.
My Note: The portage measured 14,100 feet ( 2.67 miles). They blazed several trees to mark the portage.
Heward goes on: I had ordered the Cannots to load & go as far as they were obliged to Walk & hawl them (across Portage Lake Swamp) & wait for us instead of which they had gone past a point direct South & from thence the Course Westward to the Entrance of another small Lake was very angry for their obliging me to walk (wade) so far in following.....Camped.
Campsite: Probably on high ground on Waterloo-Munith Road just south of bridge across Portage River.
Tuesday Apl 20th 1790. Snowed the whole Day & remained camped hulling Corn &C. Unloaded the Cannots at Night very stormy & a great fall of Snow.
Paddle Day 14 - HEADING FOR THE GRAND RIVER Wednesday Apl 21 1790. Snowed & rained all Night & to abo't Eleven oClock & we loaded & set off. Discovered that they had given on the Portage in my Absence about 4 lb powder & 2lb Tobacco. (to whom?) Went down the channel a current serpentine bordered by a small Lake on each side (Little Portage Lake?) Course to West & passed a Small Lake to South (Big Portage Lake?) 'til about 1 oClock & came to a bluf point at the entrance of Another lake on the North point at this place there entered another Run from the North out of a Bay surrounded with Pine & I went around to see its Course which came from the due North a passable current about 30 feet wide (Orchard Creek) & both entered into this next Lake passed the lake with a Current near the Middle a Course West & entered another & steered a Course still West leaving large Bays to the South at the west end of this lake found two Currents one the Smallest running North West into a pine Bay the other West by South & passing a high Ground of Oak to the South passed in this last nearly West to the Entrance of another Lake & it appearing to be a Stormy Night camped on a Small point to the South.
My Note: Heward here is describing the start of the downstream portion of their journey. They are leaving the headwaters of the Portage River in the Portage Lake Swamp and going down the upper river, then through the two lakes that make up Little Portage Lake, then Big Portage Lake (now bypassed), then the loop to the north where Orchard Creek comes in, then all the lakes, channels and spreads lost to the channelization of the Portage.
I am quite confident that their campsite that night was a point of land which is now a knoll just southeast of where Hawkings Road crosses the Portage "ditch" on a bridge at the south edge of Section 5 of Leoni Township of Jackson County.
The Wisconsin River flows 430 miles across the state from Lac Vieux Desert in northern Wisconsin to its junction with the Mississippi River ar Wyalusing State Park in southwestern Wisconsin. Known as "the nation's hardest working river," it has many power dams and resevoirs, mainly on its upper and middle portions along the lower stretch with beautiful scenery and numerous islands.