Today Jen, Dave and I partook in a gentle kayaking expedition along the Flat River — putting in at Whites Bridge and following it south to Fallasburg. In all, a three-hour tour.
The river is incredibly shallow; I don’t think I saw a depth greater than 3 feet the whole way, with sections of it averaging less than 12 inches. As such, it moves fairly swiftly, perhaps as fast as 2 mph.
Along the stretch we visited, we saw numerous blue herons, as well as a few hawks, a couple of turtles and enough large carp — 12 inches or longer — to feed an army. Oh, and you can’t forget the freshwater mussels. The east bank of the river is completely undeveloped; the west bank is mostly pristine, except for an occasional house.
Along the way, I saw perhaps a half-dozen beer cans at the bottom of the river. That’s it. The water is clean and there are very few signs of despoliation or human activity, despite the river’s proximity to the Grand Rapids metro area.
The Flat River feeds into the Grand River at Lowell, so it’s theoretically possible to keep on paddling all the way to Lake Michigan, as long as you don’t mind portaging past a few small dams along the way.
A pleasant day, sunburn and all.