Thursday, June 19, 2008

Andrew, Dad, the canoe and the Chippewa

For a very long time, my planner has contained this To Do: "Canoe the Chippewa with Andrew." It hasn't had a date on it, but it finally happened this week.

I'd been on the Chippewa with Andrew many years ago, near Midland. We had just gotten the canoe, and he was very, very young. Somehow, a lot of years slipped by, and he and I didn't get into that canoe, on that river, again until now. We put in at the Vandecar Road bridge. The water is high and fast, thanks to the late-spring rain we've had. Approaching Meridian Park, the Chippewa is a lot wider than it usually is during canoe season.

A huge blue heron kept an eye on us. Andrew was in back, doing the paddling and steering. I was up front, taking pictures and messing things up.

We saw the heron, deer, and these geese fertilizing Riverwood Golf Course. I imagine the course owner, Mr. Figg (you just have to call him Mr.) is thrilled.

We found this guy climbing on a dead tree out over the river. He said he was looking for a way to cut it back.

The rapids at Millpond Park were running strong and tricky. We made it through the first drop, got out and scouted, then got hung up on the third drop. I had to get out and push. Yes, I wet myself. (!) We portaged the final drop - it looked just too mean. Maybe when the river's quieter.

We took the river all the way into town, to Island Park, past the rapids. We cruised proudly past the Borden Building, around the island, and beached the canoe next to the Carnie Village set up next on Island Park for the Summer Festival.
When we came back for the canoe later, a yoga class was going on next to the landing. I love this place - a public park, a carnie village, yoga people raising their arms to the sky, and a dad and his son putting a 15-foot canoe on top of a 14-foot Ford Escort.
All in a normal day.

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