Last year many of my kayak trips involved driving a fair way to get to them. This year I looked for some areas closer to home and boy did I find a good one and it’s only about 25 minutes away with good parking and a nice launch area that makes for an easy put in.
The Somo river is one of three that converge near Tomahawk – the Wisconsin and the Tomahawk being the other two. There is a convenient boat launch where the Somo gets wide and forms part of the massive lake Mohawksin (see what they did there?). But if you paddle up river it gets smaller, more intimate and has some pretty wild side channels. There are many houses on the river and boat traffic is pretty regular. Luckily it’s a no wake zone and everyone was respectful of that and us in our small boats. It’s so laid back that we saw a ton of turtles and most of them couldn’t be bothered to move from their sunning spots.
We got a little led astray by a side channel that had a pretty lively current, but it was worth exploring because I found another eagle nest. This time it was empty, but a juvenile was circling overhead and I suspect s/he returns there at night to roost. Definitely have to check it out in the spring to see if the parents raise more young there. Even if you don’t explore off the main channel, it’s pretty wonderful and the banks are full of wildflowers!
Once again I was with my friend and I love that she’s laid back enough that she doesn’t mind when I take a long time over photos or go down into tight areas that she won’t. I did get her to go into some of the bigger ones though and her confidence is growing. Most of them start like this one – big and wide, but where this connects to the main waterway, beavers had started a dam. The logs were still floating and so with a little speed, easy to get over.
Eventually this one got covered in plants that made for really tough paddling. My friend stayed put and I ventured further just to see how far I could go. Not too far as it turns out. Beavers have a more permanent foothold on the other end –
Other tributaries had entirely different characters though. This next one was a little trickier to get to because I had to slip through some narrow areas and then under some hanging branches, but once I did (and she got brave enough to follow) we had a heavenly oasis. If I had a chain saw we could paddle further up this tributary since on Google maps we can see it stays fairly wide. Maybe it can be done in spring before the plants get so tall and thick. It’s very intriguing because it flows through woods.
On the return to the launch site, there were plenty of things that caught our attention –
It wasn’t until I got that shot of the turtlehead into Lightroom that I realized a spider is hiding on the back, just waiting for some hapless pollinator to come along. I don’t know who to root for.
And plenty more turtles. These are just a couple of the many I took photos of them, practicing with my new Leica 100-400 zoom lens.
Oh and a huge bed of forget-me-nots –
And there was even more we didn’t have time to investigate – main channel and little inlets and tributaries. It’s an amazing place and I have no doubt you’ll see a lot more of it through my lens.