|Near the take-out|
My brother and his wife came into town this week and Friday we headed up and explored the Flat River. I let them take my canoe and I paddled a kayak. This was a new river to me to float (and of course, it was also new to them). We put at 10:30 AM, just down from the small community of Smyrna, which has a bar and grill and a small bakery/grocery store. The river was mostly wide and shallow, with a rocky bottom. Shortly after we started, we ran through the one spot with fast water and a drop, the site of an old dam. There was a long paddle in the backwaters of Whites Bridge dam, a hydroelectric project. Not only did we have no flow to aid our efforts, the wind was in our face. About halfway through this backwater, we stopped and enjoyed lunch along the bank. In addition to what we’ve brought from home, I picked up in the Smyrna bakery a loaf of cinnamon bread and a jalapeno baguette which were delightful.
|Whites Bridge Dam|
There are a number of small hydro-electric dams along the river, but only one on the section we paddled. I had originally thought we’d try to paddle all the way into Lowell, a nice community where we could have had dinner, however, it would have involved two more dam portages and several more miles of flat water paddling. Whites Bridge Dam was an easy well-signed portage, made all the more humiliating by the fact that as I got back into my kayak, I slipped and half of me got wet. But it wasn’t too cold and I slipped on a jacket and paddled on. Shortly after the dam, we paddled under Whites Bridge, a “Brown truss wooden bridge” that was built in 1869 and the oldest covered bridge still in use in Michigan.
As the afternoon warmed up, we saw lots of turtles out sunning. I wish I could have gotten a photo of one of the rocks that had a full-blown, hard-shell orgy going as there were a dozen or more turtles getting it on. Unfortunately, by the time I got my camera out I had floated passed it and had obviously disrupted things as most had slid off into the cold water (the turtle equivalent to a cold shower?).
|A White Pine|
We took out at the Fallasburg Bridge, which is a part of a park that’s named in honor of the town by the same name that once had a chair factory that was suggested to be a forerunner of the furniture industry that grew up in Grand Rapids. Like Whites Bridge, the Fallasburg Bridge was also built using the “Brown truss” method (which is named from some guy from New York State who developed that particular way of trussing covered bridges). It's two years newer than Whites Bridge, having been built in 1871. It was a little after 3 PM when we pulled up to the bank. It took another 45 minutes to pick up my truck and load the boats before we were heading home. It had been a nice day.