Throughout the years, Miles Paddled has received thousands, literally, thousands, of comments. They mostly arrive via email or directly to the site, but also to Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram, Messenger, and even snail mail (no kidding). They’ve come from friends, family, fans and strangers. Sometimes, in-person at events like Canoecopia or Rutabaga or REI, or while paddling on rivers and creeks, at campgrounds, landings, while shuttling, or even while standing on the shoulder of the road scouting at a bridge.
We’ve received queries, quandries, observations, recommendations, reconsiderations and many thumbs ups, thumbs downs, hearts, smiley faces, haha faces, wow faces, sad faces, angry faces, retweets, regrams, +1s, mentions, etc. And a bunch of spam. So much spam. But even the spam wants to comment.
We’ve had our fair share of unsavory, objectionable and obnoxious comments, as well as wonderful, constructive, insightful, intriguing, thought-provoking, thankful, grateful and stick-with-you-through-life kind of comments. Combined, they make a Lifetime movie of emotions.
A large handful of those special ones are the comments that make up the heart of our 10 Favorite Comments list. And to all of you have sent us some sort of comment/signal, however/wherever at some point, I can’t thank you enough.
01: Mark H.
Via Email, 2014.
Subject: Awesome, just awesome
“Thanks so much to all who take a lot of time to share this information!!! Sometimes things are so hard to find information on and then you stumble across a holy grail like this and it just leaves you amazed! Thanks again!”
I love the term “Holy Grail” to describe the site. I would hope to feel the same way if I came across it for the first time. I felt this way about Svob’s books, and then after discovering Tom Lindblade’s videos, and later Mark and Mary Morrall’s too. They were my inspirations to not only paddle, but document as well.
Via Instagram, 2017.
“The info you guys are putting on your website is great! Thanks for doing what you guys do! Tried the local spring creek. After reading about your trip we knew it was going to be an enter-at-your-own-risk kinda paddle! Should have listened to the info on @milespadled website. But we thought why not try it anyways! Haha good times in the end tho.”
I love that even when warned, someone else still gave it a go. We’ve been there, and will no doubt (because we’re stubborn mules) be in those same shoes/Chacos again.
03: Serene B.
Via Email, 2016.
“Hey y’all! So, y’all have the absolutely bangin’-est logo ever, and seeing as how my husband and I are pirates who totally kayak/paddle, I feel like y’all need to send us some. But seriously though, it’s super cool, and we need in on some of that. Aye? We ‘preciate it, and would’a owe ye bilge rats some grog. Thank ye lads.”
And here lies the only all-pirate-speak comment I’ve received. A participation award was instantly granted, but damn if that didn’t also earn these kids a couple stickers.
04: Kyle C.
Via Email, 2017.
Subject: Dropping a line
“Hello, First and foremost I would like to start off by saying that you guys rock!!! Not only are you inspiring other people to get out and paddle you’re also doing the most important leg work. I know I can jump on your website and plan a paddle within a few minutes; knowing where I’m going to take out and put in, and I’m able to check water level without switching websites. As a reader and fellow paddler, I really appreciate you making this information public…. …Paddle on!!””
Inspiring others to get out on the water? Damn – that is what we hope to do. And if we can be a one-stop-shop for a day paddle, well, then there’s something to be said for convenience.
05: Rob E.
Via Email, 2016.
Subject: Thank you!
“Good evening, my girlfriend found your website when we were considering doing some paddling on the Milwaukee River, and we ended up doing a section that you had covered.
Then, I was up north of Black River Falls about 3 weeks ago for a vacation. I ended up using the second half of the week to do some kayaking that I’d planned using milespaddled. I stayed at the East Fork campground and paddled the East Fork, the Black from Hatfield to Halls, and Robinson. I also took a look at Halls and Wedges, which appeared to be too low.
I had never done any river paddling before and I had a blast doing them. It was so reassuring to have the knowledge, the photos, the videos, the maps, and the links to the flow gauges! The site is written and designed well and overall is just a really remarkable resource.
It went so well, in fact, that I took another 3 days off last week and went back up there with my best friend, where we covered the Black from the powerhouse to Halls, Halls itself, Wedges, and Robinson, then went north to the Yellow and Jump. We couldn’t quite work up the nerve to do Little Falls on Jump, it looked to be just beyond us and we didn’t want to ruin a great trip somehow.
Anyway, I just wanted to express my gratitude for making a great hobby so accessible. Do you guys sell things or take financial contributions in any way? I don’t have a ton of extra funds but I’d love to support your project somehow.”
This entire email makes me happy. It touches on everything special that’s the result of crafting this blog. And it’s the first time that anybody has ever asked to contribute, which was beyond generous and touching.
06: Aaron S.
Via Email, 2013.
“It’s great to hear from you. I’m a big fan of milespaddled.com (you’ve seen my comments) and stole a lot of your ideas for my site!”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; imitation is the biggest form of flattery. While digging through comments, emails and messages, I found three messages from people that credited Miles Paddled for inspiring their own trip documenting and blogging. It’s pretty damn cool to think we’ve made an impression, and that we helped inspire others to make things. Things like we’re making. Blogs like we’re making. If we’ve helped inspire someone’s weekend, their day, an hour of their day, or damn, an entire hobby? Well, that’s as cool as it gets.
07: Luke Z.
Via Email, 2016.
“Hey Friends, As avid water enthusiasts in Southwestern Wisconsin, I want to thank you for making such a useful and wonderful website. Honestly, it acts as a beacon to waters that we’ve yet to explore and opens our eyes to the wonderful resources outside our doorstep. It also helps me endure the months when I can’t paddle in the winter! Keep up the amazing work and stop by the Cafe after your next experience in the Driftless… Yours on the water (today I think either the Upper Iowa, Root or Grant).”
I love that we’ve helped others find rivers and creeks just outside their own back door. And I also love every visit I’ve had to this cafe.
08: Timothy B.
Via Email, 2011.
Subject: Comment and question
“Hello, I happened upon your blog a couple of weeks ago and am sure glad for the internet serendipity. Your blog is great! I really appreciate the first-person feel of it, the candor, the detailed, thoughtful maps, the photos and videos, the extraneous links. I too am an amateur (but avid) paddler and would be happy to contribute some of my own experiences/places not already mentioned, if welcome. If not, no hard feelings; just thought there might be room to expand the trips/paddles already on the site. Thanks and here’s to a long summer!”
And expand we have. Here’s the first email that created a collaboration between Timothy and Miles Paddled for eight years and counting.
09: Robin S.
Via Email, 2010.
Subject: Quit paddling and write more articles
“Hey I have been waiting for you to update your web site with more trips. I hope you all didn’t get drowned! It was very interesting and entertaining. I hope you continue.”
“Didn’t get drowned” makes me laugh every time I read it. However, this email has given me (very real) pause every time I’ve read it because she brings up a valid consequence of said blog. If the blog suddenly stops – I might have died. Who would know? I mean, wouldn’t that be ironic?
10: Trevor B.
Via Facebook Business Review, 2017.
“Amazing source. Answers to questions I’ve always had and some I’ve never contemplated. You do you and you do it well”
This might, just might, be my favorite comment ever, but I can’t decide which part of it I love more. Both, the “some I’ve never contemplated” or the “You do you and you do it well” are pretty amazing. And I would like to believe, accurate.