2nd Annual Big South Branch of the Pere Marquette River Overnight

The 2nd Annual BiSBotPeMRO will be held Saturday, March 29 through Sunday, March 30, 2008. We plan on meeting at 9:00 a.m. Saturday morning at Custer Bridge on the mainstream of the Pere Marquette River. We will run shuttle from there upstream to launch at 16 Mile Road and Dickinson Avenue.

We intend on camping on public land downstream with no established facilities. You will need to bring everything you need to be self-sufficient for the weekend. However, unlike the February Au Sable trip, we will not be required to float our own firewood down. The snowpack should be gone by then so we can forage for our own firewood.

There are numerous access points along the route, so if someone wished to only paddle for Saturday we could accomodate them by leaving their vehicle at the last bridge before we camp. Anyone wishing to only paddle on Sunday will have to either launch early from the upstream bridge or wait for us at the next downstream bridge. Those locations will be arranged when we run shuttle.
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Suffice it to say that wilderness trippers jealously guard the locations of their favorite campsites, and this is no exception. We have a spectacular place to camp with high ground, ample deadfall, plenty of space, great views, easy access to water, and no road access.

Sunday we will float out to join the mainstream and takeout at Custer Bridge. It is prudent to mention that there are numerous logjams on the stream that require portaging. There are more portages on Sunday then Saturday, but the ones on Saturday are more adventurous. Last year I got trapped upstream above a logjam and had to scramble out onto the pile while my boat got vertically stuck in the river. I had to stare at the surreal sight of my canoe vertically bobbing in the current before I could collect myself and recover it.
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Although the weather should be nicer then the February Au Sable trip, this is not a beginner trip. Everyone is expected to bring their own equipment and know how to use it Hypothermia is still a very real danger, and people who over-rate their abilities not only put themselves in danger, but put everyone else they are paddling with in danger. There are plenty of opportunities in the summer to learn how to wilderness trip in a canoe or kayak safely.

Jay Hanks

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