Rafting Piers Gorge on the Menominee

I made a stop on my way back home from Michigan to do a quick trip on the Menominee River. The Piers Gorge rapids are the biggest in the midwest, most notably the Class III-IV drop at Misicot Falls. True North Outpost and a couple other outfitters bring people to run the canyon throughout the warm season.

The trip consisted of two laps in the gorge. We started upstream and towed another raft behind us while the guide taught us the paddling moves and safety orientation. Soon, we approached the falls. It consists of a river-wide ledge with a big tongue on the right side that washes down a 10 foot slide. It’s pretty much the line to use, although they said that other lines open up at higher flows. The tail waves were big and nearly tossed me out of my seat as they thrashed the boat to the left. The guide steered us downstream, avoiding Volkswagen Rock. Though easily avoided, it is a source of boat pinnings and one fatality about ten years ago. We continued on through the Sisters, two Class III wave/holes close to the end. Then we shored in and hiked back upstream to run the gorge a second time.

The second run was a bit smoother going over the falls without any surprises. For the heck of it, the guide turned us around and had us float the Sisters backwards. As I speak, she and her fellow guides are on their way to Gauley Fest. It will be her first time, and I have full confidence that she is well prepared.