As a teenager my brother and his friends would take a week every year and kayak over a long weekend on the AuSable camping along the way. Even after we went into the Army he would come home for those trips with his two closets friends. Now he lives in Colorado and camps all over the place out there
I thought of him and his friends many times over the 4 hour journey my husband and I braved on the AuSable. Braved might not be the right word….drifted is probably better. The AuSable is beautiful. Deep enough to dive or jump from a tree in some parts and shallow enough to beach your kayak in other parts. We went on a Saturday in early August and the weather was perfect. We rented from http://www.oscodacanoe.com/ just inside Oscoda, MI. We arrived about 20 minutes early and checked in. The driver was ready right on time to take us and another small group up the river. They had kayaks already there and got those in the river for us.
The first half of the trip was quiet and serene. The second half is where they drop the tube floaters off. It was like running into floating parties all along that part of the river. And yes they actually rent floating coolers to attach to your tubes or boats as you float along.
At one point we found a quiet place to put up our kayaks and play in the water. We took some fun picture of the little fish that kept swimming up to us. If you stayed still for a few seconds they would surround your ankles!
The trip was wonderful! An inexpensive and relaxing way to spend an afternoon. We probably spend more than 4 hours on the river since the last half we had the wind whipping into us. More than once when we would stop paddling were pretty sure we were going backwards.
We were not nearly as sore the next day as we figured we would be. I attribute part of that to playing in the cold waters of Lake Huron the next morning.
For more information about the AuSable River http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-153-10364_52259_31442-95630–,00.html