August 19, 2016: Approaching Jackson

Tom writes . . . 

We made it from Vandercook Lake all the way to the city limit of the city of Jackson, Michigan. The river flows generally northward in this section, but still is very twisty. The river is wider here, at least fifty feet (16 meters) wide, most of the way, with some wider pools and only a few narrow spots. It is deeper, easier to float on, with fewer obstructions than in upstream sections.

This is the south central part of Michigan. It is not a famous place. Northern Michigan, “Up North,” is well known for its natural beauty; our Great Lakes shorelines are big-time tourist destinations; Detroit is famous and infamous for many reasons. But, nobody ever talks much about this south central part of the state.

Joe and I have found it to be a lovely area. The river is clear and clean. We paddled through three sparkling fresh lakes. We saw deer. We were NOT pestered by mosquitoes. Along our route, utterly wild sections alternated with areas of very nice homes. And, the sunny August weather was glorious.

Michigan is in the northern tier of US states. In the winter, we get lots of snow. If you have not been here, you may believe Michigan is a cold place. But, no! The climate here between June and October is perfect, especially perfect if you can get out on the water. And, we have lots of water here. And, that is exactly what Joe and I have been doing: spending days on the water under the perfect sun, in the perfect summer breezes, with our shirts off.

Our next leg will be the first urban section of our trip, right through downtown Jackson. So far, this Jackson area seems great. I hope we will find a riverside tavern or a bistro right in downtown Jackson, and a place to pull out the boat so that we can stop and buy lunch and celebrate.

Editor’s (i.e.; Joe’s) Note: Tom takes his shirt off; I do not. He weighs about 185, I weigh closer to 210.  Enough said.  We would love to hear from any who may stumble across this blog: Tom Neely can be reached at; Joe Neely can be reached at If you have a kayak or canoe we would love to have your join us for a day. We have been basing our trips on the routes laid out by the Grand River Environmental Action Team, which can be see here: Our plan is to complete all these Jackson-area trips before the onset of cold weather.

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