Grand River, Culver Road to Reed Road
15 October 2016
Yesterday was a lovely, crisp fall morning, and Ellen and I headed over to Jackson to paddle with our pal Kat, who spends her summers running her outstanding business Quiet World Sports. We don’t get to paddle with Kat enough, and you can tell because our paddling gear is still in decent shape. The only time it really gets used rigorously is when we go paddling with Kat.
This is a good thing—Kat’s a paddler’s paddler. When we paddle with her, we paddle water that only infrequently sees boat traffic. We bushwhack (see evidence in the slideshow below), getting bark in our hair, spiders on our necks, and bushels of twigs and leaves in our boats. We do seal launches, scooting our boats bow-first into the water and hoping not to tip. We use all the paddling strokes we know in her hairpin-curvy part of the river, which is close to the headwaters and has amazing flow. We get out of our boats into knee-high water to climb over downed trees and drag our boats over them behind us, avoiding poison ivy vines as thick as my wrist. We discover beaver dams and shoot the mini-rapids they create. In other words, SUPER FUN. And not our standard fare, so a treat!
Our trip was a little over 6 miles, and we saw no other paddlers. But we did see approximately five thousand ducks, usually in packs of ten, and usually startled out of their minds by us; about the same amount of giant, giant carp, which also bolted upon our arrival in their part of the river; one fleeing heron; and one very cold-looking turtle huddled in some grass on a bank.
Oh, also, getting back into my boat at one of the places we had to climb over a log, I fell over and out of my boat, sort of half of an eskimo roll. It wasn’t pleasant, and when it happened, I lost my favorite hoodie to the river, but I dried fast. I think I’ll consider that hoodie less a loss than an offering.
P.S. So rarely do I get to use the “scary statues” tag on this blog, I gotta throw in this deeply unsettling fireplug that guards over the spot where we put our boats in.