A Grand Excursion

Had a great opportunity today to take some mental-health time with my friend Scott. He and I kayaked 15 miles on the Grand River. We put in at Veteran’s Boat Launch in Grandville and pulled out at Eastmanville Bayou. Basically, almost half-way between Grand Rapids and Lake Michigan.

Perfect day for it. No bugs, nice temps, and not many others on the river. The water is very high and muddy given all the recent rain. Saw lots of turtles and herons. And a snake in a tree.

All this, in just a hair over five hours.

Lazy Kayakin’ Sunday on the Flat River

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.