By Sally Van Cise, Owner and Operator, Canoe Reflections, LLC
Imagine having no deadlines, no ‘to-do’ list. What would it be like to hear the sounds of the river gently lapping or a kingfisher calling, instead of the noises of traffic and everyday demands? Envision being completely at ease camping and canoeing on a river; relaxed and open to the sights, sounds, smells and feel of the river. Canoe Reflections, LLC offers women the opportunity to take time for themselves, breaking away from their day-to-day concerns and distractions, to experience and enjoy what we call “river time.”
What we do: We provide guided and outfitted 1-day and 3-day canoe/camping trips on the Manistee River, one of Northern Lower Michigan’s serene rivers. We paddle along sections that have little or no development with only a few cabins, some fishermen, and canoeists. We camp along the river in “primitive” areas that have no established facilities; we share tents. Group size is small (two to four women).
The days are geared to feel fairly leisurely; time for swimming, walking, reading, personal reflections, or simply listening to the wind and watching the clouds. In the morning, the sunlight wakes you by 7 or 8. As a group, we prepare (and enjoy!) breakfast. Then we’ll strike camp, load the canoes, and be on the river by late morning. We’ll paddle somewhat steadily for a few hours; taking breaks to float quietly, get out on a sand bar, snack or eat lunch as we wish. We’ll pull in to the next campsite by mid-afternoon, set up the tents and “kitchen,” prepare dinner, and relax.
Who might like this: Any woman who likes being out in nature, on a quiet river. Both novice and experienced paddlers have enjoyed these trips. Many novices have had some experience car-camping, or backpacking, and/or have kayaked or canoed. They come, knowing our trips allow them to safely expand their skills and gain confidence with river travel. Others come simply to relax and enjoy having someone else set up the trip. As needed, guidance is given in canoeing and low-impact camping.
Trip Dates: The 3-day trips may be scheduled June through September. They usually begin early Sunday morning, ending Tuesday evening. Dates are set to accommodate your availability. Day trips are often scheduled on Sundays; week days are certainly possible.
What is included: Cost includes all meals/snacks, canoe and camping equipment. Just bring your clothes and a sleeping bag. Be prepared for an adventure!
- We use “real” food for our meals; as well, we ask your preferences.
- Once enrolled, you will be sent a recommended clothing list and the proposed menu.
- Guidance on paddling and camping is given as needed.
- You must provide your own transportation to the departure site.
About your river guide: I have been canoeing, hiking, and camping since I was quite young, in areas such as Northern Michigan, Boundary Waters, Southern Ontario and Nepal. I am certified as a Canoe Instructor through the American Canoe Association. I have also enrolled in courses that emphasize safe outdoor practices, natural education processes, and low-impact Leave-No-Trace camping skills. I have master’s degrees in both Public Health Nutrition and Exercise Science. I work as a Registered Dietitian for the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe in Mt Pleasant, Michigan.
Canoe Reflections is based in Mt Pleasant. We are pleased to provide our community with this unique mid-Michigan experience, which combines river travel and camping within the natural quietude of nature. Canoe Reflections offers GreenTree Co-op Owners a 10% discount on all trips (this can be combined within your portion of the group rate discount).