The Piers Gorge area of the Menominee River contains some of the fastest moving water in Michigan and Wisconsin. Some of the rapids are classified as low falls. Mishicot Falls is at the entrance of the gorge. It is a drop that measures between eight and fifteen feet depending on water levels. The water flows are between 1,500 to 15,000 cfs.
Our group had two full days to work on sea kayaking skills in whitewater with Ryan Rushton, owner and instructor at the Geneva Kayak Center in Yorkville, Illinois. YouTube here ; Flickr Pictures here.
The gorge is named after the natural rocky "piers" that the river tumbles over which results in four sets of rapids. Not far from the parking area, the first pier, Sand Portage Falls, is about a mile and a half down the river. It is a turblent section of whitewater where the bedrock is tilted 90 degrees.
Like billiards, kayaking in whitewater is all about angles and approach. Always look for where you're going. You’ve got to plan ahead a little bit. You want to use the power of the current to your advantage.
Just after Mishicot Falls you follow a wave train to Volkswagen rock and then through the island rapids which lead straight into the Twin Sisters. After Twin Sisters the river widens up a bit and slows down. When river levels rise above 3000 cfs, some of the holes below Mishicot Falls become quite powerful. The river was running at 3800 cfs both days. Terminal Surfer is considered an unfriendly hole at the bottom of the rapids.