The Namekagon south of Hayward is a nice paddle with some riffles and lots of wildlife. The put-in is at the DNR landing below the Hayward Dam, which can also double as a campground. In the first mile, there are some homes along the river. A mile in, there is a large beaver cutting that has to be maneuvered around, the most challenging part of the trip.
The river winds through pine forests and lowalnds with tag alder. Other trees along the way are silver maple and paper birch, some budding out. There are six campsites along this section of river, some of them group sites. We stopped for lunch at the campsite at Mile 61.4. Within a minute of sitting in the grass near the campfire, I had two ticks crawling on my – both wood and deer. There were also what we called ‘pepper mites’ – tiny bugs that covered everything that sat in the grass for a little while, including food – they truly looked like black pepper! We also found a Gyromitra (false morel) mushroom at the site. This is a reminder that these sites are rustic – there are toilets, but without walls, and there is a seat! Other wildlife seen on this secion of the river onclude a bald eagle, common merganser and two swans.
Last paddled May 10, 2017