Thursday, November 16, 2017
Lake Superior - White Mud River Rapids
Lake Superior's jagged, rocky shoreline again attempts to hide entrances to harbors and rivers. After negotiating a number of underwater rocks and shoals to approach closer to shore, the mouth of the White Mud River is still elusive. But, the promise of a great hiking trail, including crossing a raging rapid on a swing bridge, kept the crew focused on finding a safe way into the river.
Finally, an opening is spotted that should be the river's mouth, flowing into Lake Superior.
It is a tiny opening. Even this close, it appears like many of the small, shallow, dead end coves that lie along the shore.
Once in the river, a spot wide enough to swing at anchor was found and Last Dance was secured to the bottom. The trail and rapids were a few miles up the rivers, and while much of it is deep, there are reported to be some shallow, rocky spots that would put a cruising boat aground. The river trip is best done by dinghy.
A beautiful, clear sky day occurred, perfect for exploring the river and hiking the coastal trail.
The river proved to a winding water road through tree covered rock walls. The normally slow dinghy was further hampered by running against the current, but it only lengthened the time spent experiencing an untouched, natural wilderness.
The navigable section of the river ends at a set of rapids, but not The Rapids.
The coastal trail runs close to these rapids, making access easy by landing the dinghy along the shore. The trail is well maintained, marked, with campsites along the river.
A good hike up the trail from the lower rapids leads to the dramatic rapids, crossed by a suspension bridge.
Although a new suspension bridge of steel and concrete has replaced the older rope and wood structure, it can be intimidating to walk out high over the rapids on a walkway that is moving in the wind.
The spectacular view of the raging rapids is well worth the fear of swinging above them. The sight is beautiful, the roar loud, and the spray reaches far above the bridge, wetting those who stand and view.