Archive for the ‘paddling’ Category
HRWC’s holiday auction includes our largest collection of fabulous items for your bidding pleasure! This year we have over 40 items listed online at BiddingForGood and all proceeds benefit HRWC’s efforts to restore and protect the watershed.
Bids on the River is online now until December 2 and is the perfect shopping opportunity for the holidays or any occasion.
It’s a toss up between Paddle Board Lessons and Schultz Outfitters Fly Fishing Lessons or a Jolly Irish Christmas. Something for everyone. Outdoor recreation, birding, paddle boarding, baked goods, entertainment, unique experiences and cooking lessons.
Bid early and remember to check back for new items.
The auction closes on Dec 2 so start your bidding soon and check back often. You don’t want to miss this opportunity to purchase a beautiful gift for yourself or special someone and support HRWC with just a couple of clicks! Auction proceeds this year will support HRWC’s core programs, such as water quality monitoring.
Portaging Argo Dam is a bit of a challenge. Do you float the cascades, or walk your watercraft around them and the dam?
This video, developed for the Huron River Water Trail, will give the proper directions for your trip! And hopefully it will make you laugh a little bit too. Make sure your sound is on!
The Huron River Water Trail website contains many useful trip planning tools to guide you on your next paddling excursion. The website include online maps, a store to purchase the waterproof Paddler’s Companion, tips on river safety and trail etiquette, real-time river flows, fishing updates, and suggested itineraries.
On Wednesday afternoon I joined a group of paddlers (all women!) to test drive a few rafts down the river with the idea of developing senior programming for the City of Ann Arbor and possibly in concert with the UM Turner Geriatric Center. Yep, I never thought of rafting the river but it is a great way to get small children and senior citizens out on the river safely while providing some education and guidance about the river.
It was a gorgeous sunny day to take the trip from Argo livery to Gallup Park. Gallup Park canoe livery and launch is under construction but you can take out at the boat launch just a bit downstream. Unfortunately the river in this section was considerably impacted by some odd operations at Barton Dam so the water level dropped off. Where we were expecting about 400-500 cubic feet per second (CFS) of water in the river; we were greeted with only a mere 200 cfs. This made the ride through the Argo Cascades very bumpy and wet and then past the cascades, it meant a lot of walking and pulling the raft over rocky bottom.
We were the only boats on the river and it provided us an opportunity to see many birds. We saw two osprey as they hunted their way down the river from Riverside Park in Ann Arbor to downstream of Island Park. And we saw numerous blue herons (its hard to tell if you are seeing the same 2 over and over again, or new ones). They enjoy perching on logs or taller branches overlooking the river. Despite the river being very low, the water clarity was great and being up on a raft allowed a better vantage point to see the tons of fish and river bottom. The section below Island Park back by Fuller fields seems like a great, remote fishing spot.
In terms of senior programming, we had a few findings:
- the Argo Gallup trip is too long for seniors to sit without back support and being jostled. A shorter trip (maybe Argo to Island Park–our new launch!) was a better offering than the longer trip to Gallup;
- getting in and out of the raft using the docks works very well for creaky bones and limited mobility;
- one camp chair fits in the middle of the raft for someone in need of back support;
- an experienced and “youthful” river guide is needed to steer the boat and assist entry and exit;
- we would need to set a lower limit of water in the river (probably 400-500 cfs) so you can stay in the boat the whole trip!;
- and finally, we need to tie in a pre-raft class at Turner as part of the programming.
If you have ideas about river trip programming for seniors please let me know as we will be developing our ideas over the winter.
I’m sorry I have no pictures of the trip, but my phone was in the drybag the whole time! Highly advised when you go through the Cascades in low water.
- Quiet waters for landing and launching at Island Park
- Soil erosion and sediment control measures are installed prior to earth-moving
- The site is graded to achieve an easy slope for hauling canoes and kayaks
- Boulders at the site are used to stabilize the new design. This gravel won't scratch canoes and kayaks
- Our friend Mike happened to be fly fishing near the project site. Catch anything?
- The perfect spot for one, two or ten boats to rest.
RiverUp! strikes again! Another makeover at the river’s edge is nearing completion, this time in Ann Arbor’s Island Park.
The construction crew just wrapped up at the new canoe and kayak access located at river mile 49.4 on the Huron River Water Trail. The new launch and landing replaces the eroded and undersized (and unofficial) landing just upstream near the footbridge that had become the taking out spot for paddlers. Way-finding signage will be installed soon directing river users to the improved access point.
City of Ann Arbor Liveries Manager Cheryl Saam envisioned a better option at the new site. RiverUp! program staff and project consultant SmithGroupJJR worked with Cheryl and the city to design and implement the project. Upon visiting the site this week, Cheryl offered, “All looks really good. I think the landing is easily seen from the main river, and I really like the pea gravel mix for boat dragging.” Island Park is situated along the popular Argo to Gallup paddle trip. Cheryl adds, “We will be directing many groups to this launch since Island Park is the best stopping off point for wading, playing, picnicking and restroom breaks.”
This river access improvement was made possible through the generous support of Marguerite Smith whose own experiences with the river motivates her philanthropy. “My husband was an avid outdoorsman and particularly enjoyed solo canoeing,” shares Marguerite. “The Huron River was a favorite of his and he paddled the entire length over a period of two summers,” she recalls, “He would be pleased with the improvements that are underway through RiverUp! to enhance access and enjoyment of this wonderful resource.”
RiverUp! is the signature placemaking initiative for the Huron River and its communities. Through this effort, we are working to assist communities to maximize the Huron River as a community asset to attract residents, visitors, and businesses. From the launch of the initiative in August 2011 to present, RiverUp! is generating interest in the river and its communities, and is part of a broader Great Lakes vision to maximize freshwater resources for community development.
Welcome to the virtual launch for the new Huron River Water Trail website!
While nothing beats trying out the site for yourself, here’s a sample of what to expect:
- Clean, user-friendly interactive trip planning maps
- Extensive trail amenities – where to grab a sandwich? where to pitch a tent? what activities are happening in the Trail Towns?
- Real-time weather and stream flow information
- Outfitters with canoe and kayak rentals
- And much, much more
Are you looking for a lazy float on flat water or a chance to try your whitewater skills? Flat water, flowing river, portages, and other trail features are all mapped with recommended trips to last a few hours to a few days. Investigate the distance, time, level of difficulty, highlights, and more for each recommended trip.
The trail information and graphics complement the new Paddler’s Companion, the indispensable waterproof map book for the Huron River Water Trail. Get your own copy today!
Help us spread the word about the new planning tool for the Huron River Water Trail. Use it to plan your next trip! Tell you friends and family! And become a part of it by sharing your observations and photos.
HRWC acknowledges the planning and design team of The Greenway Collaborative, Inc. and Imageweaver Studio, the Partners of the Huron River Water Trail for their review and recommendations, and the support of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, the Erb Family Foundation, and the many partners of RiverUp!.
Sunday night we held one of our most unique paddle trips of the year, Full Moon Paddle. Typically, our paddle trips consist of paddling up or down river, however, this paddle was held on Mill Lake in the Waterloo State Recreation Area. Mill Lake is very calm, quiet, and a beautifully natural lake.
Surrounded by various flora and fauna helped produce a mesmerizing orchestra of sights and sounds under the fading sunlight. With the help of our participating birders; Dea Armstrong, City of Ann Arbor Ornithologist, produced a list of 34 species of birds we encountered on the paddle. Once the sun had receded below the tree line we witnessed our first glimpse of the Full Moon that we were anxiously waiting to see. Paddling around, in awe of the Moon’s luminance we couldn’t help but gaze upward in silence. The shimmering Moon light across the still water produced a surreal view of Mill Lake.
Thanks to staff member, Jason Frenzel, we were able to come back to shore with a campfire roaring for us. Thanks to our Huron River guides Barry Lonik and Ron Sell for making sure that each of our paddler’s are safe and the trip’s informative. A special thanks to State Representative Gretchen Driskell for joining us for the Full Moon paddle. Thanks to each participant for made this paddle memorable, including our canine friend who accompanied us.
Find out about our last two paddle trips of the summer here.
What a day on the river and around the watershed!
After a week of stupendous, gushing thunderstorms, Sunday, July 7 brought a beautiful Michigan summer day not to be spent inside. My first treat was a 31-mile bike ride through 5 of the watershed’s some 26 creeksheds (5 of our 63 communities) in Washtenaw and Livingston counties, along rolling country roads winding by green farms, shady woodlands, and beautiful wetlands and lakes.
Next, a paddle down the river itself, from Delhi Metropark to Barton Dam. The muddy, fast flowing river was practically spilling from its banks from the week’s storms, but the river carried our kayaks safely through rapids, runs, and stillwater, and it provided a zoo-ful of faunal sightings, including an osprey, a red-tailed hawk, which lazily circled back and forth over our kayaks, dozens of turtles (including little babies hiding in the reeds), a black-crowned night heron, a muskrat, kingbirds pirouetting over us catching flying insects, damsel and dragonflies frantically hooking up, and, yes, a river otter!
But wait, there was more! A raccoon skittered across the Delhi Metropark entry drive; to cap off the trip, a red fox sauntered along Huron River Drive as we were on our way home!
These sites reminded me how fortunate we are to have the Huron River watershed, and why it is the prime recreational gem that it is:
- The large areas of farmland, open space and natural areas that still remain in our watershed provide cool, clear, constant water to the river by absorbing rainwater and polluted runoff and slowly releasing it after cooling it down and filtering out dirt, excess nutrients, and other pollution.
- Most of the river’s adjacent lands are part of the Huron Clinton Metroparks system, keeping it and its riparian area natural.
- For much of its length, the Huron is a Natural River Zone, meaning any building along its banks must be set back 125 feet from the river, including a 50-foot buffer of natural vegetation. The value of this regulation was clear to us as we paddled through the Natural River Zone. Though we were surrounded by private lots on either side of the river, from our kayaks it lookedlike we were up north in a wilderness area. The minute we left the zone, the scene changed. Large homes loomed over the river, their treeless, manicured lawns (mowed right down to the riverbank) leaving no doubt that we were in a City.
The Huron River is the cleanest river in Southeast Michigan thanks to those who work to protect it by preserving open spaces and natural areas throughout its watershed and by enacting policies and regulations to preserve its quality.
Day 5: Lower Huron Metropark to Lake Erie
6.5 hrs paddling
After another quiet and peaceful night camping, we’re up early for an 8 am start. Mike George arrives to accompany us as far as Oakwoods Metropark, and Jim Pershing, Superintendent for the Park arrives to bid us a Bon Voyage.
This next stretch of river is perhaps the best kept secret of the whole river. It’s surprisingly remote and mostly natural with few houses or intrusions; only negative is the constant noise of jet traffic overhead (choose a day with north winds if you can when paddling this stretch, as the jets will be taking off in the other direction). Herons, Kingfishers and Orioles escorted us along the banks. Sycamores, Catalpas and Redbuds provided the greenery. We didn’t glimpse the Paw Paw trees but knew they were there. Future Water Trail mile markers and sign posts will be a welcome addition as landmarks are few and far between. Highway and railroad bridges are soon passed and we enter the backwaters of the Flat Rock impoundment and Oakwoods Metropark, a wonderful stretch of oxbows and bayous.
Our weather karma wanes a little as the east wind gets funneled down the lake giving us a stiff headwind for the crossing. Mike George waves goodbye and heads for the Nature Center, and we set our sights on the right end of the Flat Rock Dam anticipating the portage and lunch stop ahead. Flat Rock Metals has graciously left the gate unlocked so the portage is surprisingly quick and easy, we move our gear to the bank below the low dam by the covered bridge and enjoy our well deserved lunch. Ten miles to go.
The current helps along for the next few miles and the woods gradually gives away to more open marsh and wetlands. A few more houses along the banks with some impressive metal breakwalls, and soon the Jefferson St bridge is in view. We pause to collect the group and marvel at the remains of the circa 1800 plank road [editor's note: the road built for the War of 1812 known as Hull's Trace] visible along the shoreline and ready for the last push across the river mouth to Pt. Mouillee. Kay, Klaus and Aileen are there to greet us with our shuttle vehicles await in the parking lot.
What a great adventure. I couldn’t have asked for better paddling companions and our shore support was wonderful. Once I get home and unpacked, notes and photos sorted, I’ll post a Trip Epilogue with more details and observations. Until then, thanks to all that made this adventure truly special.
Total river miles: 101.8
Total hours paddling: 28
Day 3: Hudson Mills to Superior Pond
6.5 hrs paddling
Total miles (so far) 60.09
On the water before 8 am. Up close and personal look at the tornado damage from March 15 2012. Some impressive “tornado art” just above Mill Creek. Great blue herons escorting us all the way down the river. Several elected to run Delhi Rapids; the rest of us chose to portage.
I forget how nice the stretch below Delhi is to paddle, must do it more often.
Our good paddling karma continued with a tailwind across Barton Pond, two egrets and an osprey inspired us on. Quick stop to salute the Huron River Watershed Council staff then on to lunch at the Argo Livery before tackling the Cascades. Be sure to stop and enjoy the Ned Sharples bench in front of the livery–he inspired many of us to paddle and enjoy and protect the river. We ran with empty boats without incident but all dragged our sterns on the rock on the last drop.
Easy run across Gallup Pond and quick portage over the Geddes Dam put us in Superior Pond. We discussed the history of this forgotten and peaceful stretch of river, waiving to the Governor and ogling the mansions on the high bank. We end the day at a secret campsite we’ve nicknamed “Superior Bluffs– a gated community”.
Two days, forty miles, four challenging portages to go…
All is going well for Ron and the crew. Visit HRWC on Facebook for more photos from their trip.
Day 2: Island Lake Camp to Hudson Mills
6.5 hrs paddling
2 hrs stopped
3.4 MPH moving avg
Peaceful camping overnight, no drinking water available on site. Paul Seelbach (one of the original Riverfesters) joined us in the evening for the rest of the trip. 8:00 am start on the water through one of the nicest stretches of the river. Deb and Klaus joined us at Place ways for the day. The rest of the morning was very pleasant paddle dodging fallen trees. First lunch at Huron Meadows, then on to the lakes.
Good paddling karma gave us light following breezes across Strawberry, Woodburn and Galleger Lakes and got us to Base Line where we stopped for second lunch at the Michigan Sailing Club. Paul explained how we were leaving the first phase of the river– upland wetland woodland and entering the section that works its way through the rocky, gravelly glacial moraines.
Mink, muskrat, great blue heron, orioles, catbirds, kingfishers, killdeer, cygnets riding on the back of a swan, owl (barred?), pileated woodpecker.
Many carp splashing, suckers along the bottom and small mouth bass. A fisherman at the rapids at Hudson Mills reported catching (and releasing) 27 this day.
Great day on the river, 60 some miles to go . . .