Turtle Flambeau Flowage – Sept 20-23, 2018
Put In/Take Out: Murrays Landing, off of Rt.51 near Manitowish, WI
Troy Whitrock, Chuck Jensen, myself (Dave Watts)
Chuck and I met up with Troy at Murrays Landing on Thrusday morning, was cloudy & a bit drizzly, but the rain subsided in the afternoon to allow us (Chuck & myself) to setup on Site #35 in dry weather. Pretty good, as it rained most of the drive to Murrays Landing from Plano, IL.
Thursday – Had a good afternoon, things were wet from previous rain, no camp fire. Snacked into the evening, we all hit the bed early as Chuck and I were tired from the drive. Also it had started to rain, so to bed.
Friday - The rain started up again in the early afternoon and the wind picked up to the point of white caps on the lake, the island (site #35) was fairly secluded and close to the mainland shoreline, so we didn’t get the full force of the wind, but could see it on the lake. With the rain/wind combination, we were basically wind bound, we could’ve paddled in some small wind protected areas, but it was just miserable, and those areas were small. We explored every inch of the small island and finally set up ‘day camp’ on the leeward side of the island with tarps, etc. for most of the day. We cooked, talked, etc. most of the day in that safe haven. We felt like the ‘Gilligan’s Island’ crew with their three hour tour adventure. (We were about 3-4 hours paddle from Murrays Landing) It was a good day. The rain finally stopped and the wind subsided somewhat. We scrounged enough firewood from the island to have a decent campfire.
Saturday – The weather had subsided from the previous night, which howled through the night. After breakfast, Troy decided to paddle out and head home, he arrived on Wednesday, so he had a couple nights in already. Wished he could’ve stayed to guide us around the flowage because Chuck and I had some ‘sploring to do. So Chuck and I set out on a bright sunny mid-morning to ‘see what we could see’. Since I had never been in this section of the TF and it had been sometime since Chuck passed through, we decided to locate & explore many of the campsites in this area, and collect medium size firewood for the later Fall Solstice (last day of summer) camp fire. There was still some wind, maybe 10mph, but it was coming out of the SW, so we stayed in the predominant protected areas. Below is a listing of some of the campsites we found and a few comments: (good info for future trips). A few general comments of the sites we found and the flowage, they were all VERY clean, no trash to be found, well taken care of, they hand been used, but not over used. Definitely going back.
Site #29: Nice, large, clean, had to use a bushcraft lashed ladder to get into the site, later we found the ‘real’ landing. But it was hidden under a rather large downed pine. But the ladder was a nice woodsy touch.
Site #30: Real nice
Site’s #36-37: two sites on a longish island, smallish sites, but nice
Site #32: the much talked about site with the fence, we could only ‘observe’ as it was occupied. From what we could see it was smallish but nice, it faced west, so the wind of the last two days would not have been fun
Site #31: small, to the NE of this site was a very interesting ‘marsh’ area, the lone bald eagle was very patient with us, it stayed quite a while as we paddled around his home.
Site #35: our site for the weekend, although smallish (3-4 tents max), was perfect for the rain/wind that assailed us on Thursday/Friday. It was also nice. The only occupant, that we encountered on this island site was a pesky grey squirrel, he didn’t get into our stuff, but was just annoying. Fun to tease at times, but annoying none the less. We speculated on its arrival on the island, most logical conclusion was that it walked over on the ice in the winter and forgot to go back to the mainland before ice out.
Sunday: Departure day, after a good campfire and some adult beverages the night before, we had a small camp fire in the morning, as the temperature dropped into the low 30’s on Saturday night. We needed a little morning warmth to help cut the chill, the morning sun helped as well. After a longish breakfast, we weren’t in any hurry; we decided to explore more campsites on the paddle back to Murrays Landing.
We found Site #38, 39 & 40. Site #39 was not where we thought it would be according to the map we had, although not a topo map or a grid map of the area, it was pretty spot on as far as the campsite locations, but we found #39. It had a hard to find landing. Site #40 was a rather large site, as it was the first campsite west of Murrays Landing, you could tell it was well used. A bit more than the others, but for its use, it was also very clean.