A Trip Down the Chip

a five-day adventure with camping, fishing, canoeing, and biking (a fictionalized account)

Matt Ledger, photos by Andrea Paulseth

    I don’t get out enough. There, I said it. I’ve been living in the Chippewa Valley now for three years, and I’ve seen only a pittance of it. I haven’t gone camping or fishing or canoeing or even really biking here. So this winter, while I was huddling cold and alone under a pile of blankets, I made myself a promise. A promise to have a Mega-Awesome Nature-Loving Yokel Trip and River-Inspired Passage or, as I’ve shortened it for bragging purposes, a MANLY TRIP. The most epic journey any Chippewa Valleyan has ever had. I would set myself afloat down the Chippewa River and tame the beast that powers the Valley.

  Now, having had little to no prior canoeing experience (outside of my cousin and myself turning ourselves backward on the Baraboo River once) I decided that maybe attempting to conquer the entire river was aiming just a little high. Two days of extreme researching and itinerary planning later, I set my goal: I would drive from Eau Claire up to Lake Wissota, where I would take a day or two to embrace my inner outdoorsman, and then brave the almost 20 miles of paddling necessary to make it back to Eau Claire. What follows is something I’ve come to call the MANLY TRIP Log, a diary of my journey.



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