Years ago, I started recording paddles after I fell in love with videos found on YouTube created by Tom Lindblade, and then later Mark and Mary Morrall who once produced paddling DVDs of local trails. They were the inspiration to record our own, if for no other purpose than for our own memories. Throughout the years I’ve found that our approach to documenting paddles from put-in to take-out are as valuable as a written report and generally give you a good idea of what to expect.
Recording streams and then editing them down to a managaeable size is no easy task. Sometimes it’s impossible to share the beginning to end without leaving out all the wonderful things between to keep them at a manageable viewing length (sadly, there’s a ton of footage that hits the cutting room floor). Sure, they’re not all great but they’re little timecapsules that we love to relive, and I think they do a decent job of documenting these paddles in a first-person perspective. I’d also like to think we’ve gotten better at it despite the basic equipment we use. With dozens of videos, it was a tough task to choose our favorites but here are the ten we love for one reason or another, in no particular order.
01: Robinson Creek: Old County Road I to Kelly Road
We’ve captured this stretch of Robinson Creek before, but way back when we first started. This was shot in 2017, when water levels were perfect to enjoy this exceptional (albeit thirsty) creek. (Adjust to 1440p minimum for the best picture).
02: Crystal River: Marl Lake to Shadow Lake Road
The Crystal River is an often paddled stream and one of our favorites. Yet, what’s special about this video is that it starts at Marl Lake and captures the entire journey – from the headwaters through the popular paddling stretch, and eventually finishing up with a run down a dam that had been there for decades but no longer exists. (Adjust to 1080p for the best picture).
03: Wisconsin River: Upper Dells
We captured both the Upper and Lower Dells on this trip but there’s just something more varied and exciting about the Upper, which edged out the other – only slightly. (Adjust to 1080p for the best picture).
04: Plover River: Esker Road to Bevent Drive
One big surprise in 2017, was the discovery of this section of the Plover River. And if you take a look, you’ll see why. (Adjust to 1440p minimum for the best picture).
05: Cannon River: Faribault to Dundas
One of our first paddles in Minnesota was the Cannon – and it was swift and gorgeous. (Adjust to 1080p for the best picture).
06: Halls Creek: Trow Lake Dam to Halls Creek Landing
Halls Creek is as fun and as photogenic to paddle as it gets. (Adjust to 1440p minimum for the best picture).
07: Miles Paddled Outtakes 2014-2016
Here’s the reality of paddling, or more specifically, the reality of recording paddling trips. (Adjust to 1080p for the best picture).
08: Bois Brule River: Stone’s Bridge Landing to Bois Brule Landing
We shot a lot of the Bois Brule, but this section can’t be beat for history and variety. (Adjust to 1080p for the best picture).
09: Pine River (Lincoln County): Center Road to County Road W
We got amazingly lucky to catch this river at the exact right levels on our way back from a weekend paddling the Wolf River. This run was non-stop foggy-lensed fun. (Adjust to 1080p for the best picture).
10: Fond Du Lac River West Branch: Highway 23 to Lake Winnebago
Here was another huge discovery in 2017 – the West Branch of the Fond Du Lac. It’s just a whole lot of fun and not at all what we expected to find in this part of the state. (Adjust to 1440p minimum for the best picture).
It would be hard to end this list without mentioning some other videos we’re quite fond of – sometimes it’s just moments, and other times, it’s the entire trip. Whether it’s the discovery of a wonderful driftless creek like Billings, or a reliable driftless river like the Grant, the quiet beauty of paddling on Mirror Lake, the joy of spring paddling on a new stream in Illinois, the whitewater of the Bois Brule, or even the delight of paddling through a cave despite the rest of the journey being a pain in the ass, we’re glad to have them captured to look back on.