Sunday, July 17, 2011

Rocky River (Three Rivers)

Three Rivers, a town about half an hour south of Kalamazoo, offers several choices for canoe trips. Last fall we tried the St Joseph River; yesterday, we paddled the Rocky River. Compared to the St Joseph River, the Rocky was narrower, shallower, and twistier with a better current.

We started at a bridge on Null Road in a suburban area northwest of town, where the river took us through a mix of manicured lawns and natural areas. Downstream, farmers were irrigating their fields with river water. We saw Blue Herons, muskrats, turtles, frogs and a Kingfisher and we watched a colorful Goldfinch take a bath at the river's edge. About two hours into the paddle, we came to the dock at Brewster's where we stopped for a cold beverage.

Near the end of the river the current picked up, with a few rapids. We scouted the whitewater from a footbridge in the city park and decided to portage. We did watch three boats run the rapids, none successfully. The water was shallow enough that the paddlers were able to just stand up and start again.

From there, the river ran through Skidmore Park where we saw an emu in the small zoo. Then a series of riffles led to the Saint Joseph River. The end of the trip was directly across the river at the Conservation Park boat ramp.

Boat rental and spotting are available from
Liquid Therapy
221 S. Main Street
Three Rivers, MI 49093

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