The Chain Drain: Paddling The Essex Chain Lakes Outlet

July 20, 2016 - garden totes

DSC_6486The acquisitions of former Finch, Pruyn lands have total a engorgement of paddling opportunities trimming from whitewater dashes to primitive lakes and ponds.

A organisation of paddling enthusiasts, brought together by a sorcery of an internet forum, took my suggestions and assimilated me to paddle a outflow of a Essex Chain Lakes, or some-more simply, a Chain Drain.

We requisitioned campsites during circuitously Lake Harris for a consequence of preference and a distance of a group. Groups of us began trickling in to a campsite on a Friday, a initial day of a 2016 camping deteriorate during Lake Harris campground. All were greeted by warm, balmy skies and a crowd of black flies.

Everyone had their possess dug-out preferences. There were packboats, solo canoes and tandem canoes. The categorical disproportion between a packboats and a solo canoes is a seating position and a paddle used. In a packboat a paddler uses a double-ended paddle and sits on a bottom, or scarcely so. The solo canoes are paddled with a singular blade, and a chair is elevated. The towering seating raises a paddler’s core of gravity, though sacrifices some stability. The reduce seating in a packboats feels some-more stable, though climbing in and out can be tricky. That wily accession and outlet would spin out to be entertaining, some-more about that later.

Later that evening, we beheld a bizarre cloud arrangement in a night sky. After examination it for though a few minutes, we satisfied that it was an aurora! We collected as a organisation and   watched a skinny wispy rope of white light brush opposite a sky. In 20 mins it was gone, existent now usually in a memories.

The subsequent morning brought fad and anticipation, and a continue was ideal, warm, no breeze and somewhat overcast. Ten paddlers and one dog guest caravanned down a imperishable mud roads heading to a parking lot for Deer Pond entrance to a Essex Chain Lakes.

DSC_6488At a trailhead, there was a choice. Some motionless to use wheels and receptacle their boats 1.2 miles  to Third Lake, mostly along a aged mud roads. Some chose to lift their boats directly to Third Lake. Others motionless to lift their boats a quarter-mile to Deer Pond, paddle 200 yards opposite Deer, and afterwards make a half-mile lift to Third Lake. It was a tie as to that track was quicker, though a wheels done for an easy trip. In any case, a carries were good remarkable and a put-ins clearly designated.

Starting out on Third Lake, some of a organisation motionless to stay behind and try their palm during fishing. The rest of us paddled south from Third to a connected Second Lake. There remained 7 of us, 5 solo paddlers and span in a tandem canoe. Interestingly, when we was final here in 2013, there was a double-net fish separator between Second and Third Lakes, no doubt to keep a Gooley Club’s private stock. This day there were no fish nets.

From Second Lake we paddled to a finish of a lake, as signified by a three-foot-high beaver dam. There is a remarkable and confirmed dug-out lift to First Lake on a left. We fast done a 0.1-mile lift around a beaver dam and a tiny stone garden only subsequent it.

Putting in on First Lake, we paddled accidentally southwest towards a Chain Drain. As a banks sealed in, so did a black flies. Time for a conduct nets, everyone!! After a ten-minute paddle, we came on a initial beaver dam, a start of a Chain Drain. And afterwards during a really subsequent bend, another beaver dam!

As we continued, it was transparent that these waters were frequency traveled. At one bend, there was a deadfall stretching from bank to bank. This was also one of a few spots that had plain balance along a differently marshy shore.

I had described a cascades between perfect stone walls during a finish of a Chain Drain, and all were concerned to see them. However, with beaver dam after beaver dam, some were doubt if a finish would be estimable of a bid to get there. Then, with though one beaver dam left to traverse, only like a Hunger Games, we listened a cannon signifying a initial detriment of a tribute. Those wily packboats dumped one of a courageous organisation into a 50-degree water. Wisely, she and her hubby motionless to fast shelter behind to a parking lot. Sadly, we would hear a cannon dual some-more times today, once for my bad heavenly bride.

After dual miles of meandering, channel beaver dams and deadfalls, we reached a finish of a passable drainage. Beaching a boats, we beheld a good views looking behind towards Dun Brook Mountain.

Chain Drain + Rock + CedarWe bushwhacked around a chasm, looping to a right and afterwards returning to a cascades. Here a H2O tumbles over stone ledges in a array of vast steps, a initial few between perfect stone walls. The sum dump is 40 to 60 feet before a Chain Drain meets a Rock River.

When polled, all concluded that a cascades were really attractive, and were done even some-more so by a bid it took to strech them.

By now, we had dawdled a approach for over 4 hours. We motionless to kick feet, or paddles, and fast retrace a track to have copiousness of time for dinner, a campfire and conversations behind during a campsite. Two some-more beaver-dam mishaps and we were behind during a cars, only as it began to rain. It should be remarkable that other than during a parking area, we saw no other paddlers. We had a Chain Drain all to ourselves.

All in all, this was an beguiling day trip, despite a bit eager for some. The many beaver dams done for an effective complement of locks. There was copiousness of H2O to boyant all of a boats.

Should we confirm to go, devise on a full day to concede copiousness of time to suffer a paddling and a cascades. A portage transport will work only excellent on a carries. A outing down a Chain Drain, total with camping on a Chain Lakes would make for an beguiling weekend trip.

Three weeks later, we and dual friends returned and went even over down a Drain. This time, a 3 of us fast paddled by a Chain Drain. We afterwards shouldered a solo canoes and carried around a cascades. As we was putting my dug-out behind in a H2O subsequent a cascades, we beheld a really rapt six-point sire along a shore.  We afterwards paddled into a Rock River and attempted some upstream travel. Within 0.1 mile, there were watercourse that stretched out of sight. If we could have continued, it would have been dual miles upstream to Dun Brook and a track that passes Rock Lake. Turning downstream, we were swept along by a surprisingly clever current. The banks were swarming by old-growth hardwoods, and a sandy stream bottom was lonesome with moose tracks. There was one set of riffles and a few beaver dams before a connection with a Cedar River.

As we approached a confluence, we could hear a sloshing during Square Rock Rapids, a category III dump on a Cedar. Right during a connection is a large, sandy island, only a right mark to eat lunch! Next is over 1.5 miles of flatwater on a Cedar, though scrutiny of that territory would have to wait for another day, we had already reached a turnaround time. Total mileage for a day was about 14 miles, and we spent about 8.5 hours on a day trip.

This track over a Chain Drain has a intensity for an brave by trip, with an exit around Pine Lake, or maybe from a Cedar, nearby a site of a due multi-use bridge.

Photos and map submitted by Mike Tomaszewski.






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