If you’re looking for places to paddle in Southern Wisconsin the website Miles Paddled is a great resource. Barry from Miles Paddled was happy to answer a few questions about their website and adventures with WI Paddle readers.
What is Miles Paddled?
Miles Paddled is a canoe and kayaking journal focused on documenting paddling trips on rivers, creeks and lakes in (mostly) Southern Wisconsin. We’re a few amateur paddlers based in Madison, Wisconsin and we offer paddle reports, maps, videos of our trips, as well as our take on the overall experience.
Why did you start Miles Paddled?
The site initially started in 2008 as a way to make plans for kayak trips between me and a couple friends. Then it turned into more of a trip journal so we could remember what we liked or didn’t like about certain places. It’s actually become quite important for our own document of trip information. It’s also become popular as a resource around the Madison area, so we’ve broadened the site by offering more canoe and kayak related news and gear reviews. We base a lot of what we know on Mike Svob’s books (specifically Paddling Northern & Southern Wisconsin) and researching the web but with each and every trip, we find dated, incomplete, non-existent or contradictory information. We may not clear up all that information but we try to at least combine it, paddle it and then offer our own take on it. We still feel like it’s our own trip journal even if we’re not the only ones reading it.
Who do you usually paddle with? / How many of you are logging your Miles Paddled?
There is a core group of three of us that paddle together. Friends and significant others often join. Sometimes it’s serious and sometimes it’s casual but we’re all pretty passionate about being on the water. I’m also really excited that we now have our first contributor to Miles Paddled, Timothy. He has the same passion for paddling and sharing information, all in keeping with the spirit of Miles Paddled. As long as we’re offering relevant content, we’ll be a useful resource. And that’s all this little blog is looking to be. I’m excited to offer more content from a perspective beyond our group if it helps the broader community.
What have been some of your favorite Miles Paddled trips and why?
Our first Wisconsin River trip from Boscobel to Wyalusing. It was our first trip down the lower Wisconsin and nothing compares to the solitude and beauty of that section. We only spent one night on the river and we paddled way too much the second day. We had no idea what 27+ miles really meant in terms of paddling, but in hindsight, the exhaustion and soreness we felt only made it all the more unforgettable. Also, Badfish Creek last July. The water was higher than we’d ever paddled it which made for a really unexpected and great paddle. I absolutely love that little creek. It paddles like a river and is a ton of fun. Lastly, Wolf River from Lily to Langlade because it was my first true whitewater trip. I would go on about the beauty and excitement of the Wolf but I’m positive that there are many more experienced paddlers that will account for it’s awesomeness.
On Miles Paddled how do you decide on your rating for the water you’ve paddled?
The rating system was another way to jog our memory as to whether we liked the trip. Five star means we’ll definitely paddle it again and one star, not a chance. If you’ve read us and paddled the same paddle, you’ll have a benchmark. At that point you can base our rankings off your own experience and decide on your own whether we speak the same language. Everyone’s experience is different. The clumsiness of boats, vehicles, directions, who you’re with (or not with with) and weather all plays into a trip positively or negatively. We just keep our reports based on our own experience, on that specific day but still consider how it might have been better or worse under different circumstances.
What trip are you most looking forward to this year?
The Kickapoo. I’ve never done it but it seems that everyone we meet on the Lower Wisconsin tells us we MUST do the Kickapoo. Plus I’ve done some homework and I can’t believe we haven’t paddled it yet. And as always, another trip down the lower Wisconsin. Nothing beats sleeping under the stars on that State treasure.
Do you have a goal for the amount of miles you paddle?
We don’t have a goal as far as how many miles we want to achieve. We keep it simple with a cheers at 100 miles. I guess a million miles is something to shoot for but it’s not about counting miles, it’s about enjoying every mile of every journey.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us about Miles Paddled?
Stop by and say hi.