Monday, October 1, 2012

Canoeing the south branch of the Au Sable River

Beautiful, isn't it? This was the typical scene down the south branch of the Au Sable last weekend. 
It's been nearly 10 months since I got my boots on and camped. With changing jobs midway through the year, planning a wedding and other hectic life items, I haven't had the chance to get out like I'm accustomed to doing.

I broke that streak this past weekend when I traveled north to canoe the south branch of the Au Sable River. We canoed down the river near the peak of the fall colors this past weekend, doing more than 10 miles down the stretch near Roscommon.

The thing that struck me the most was the fall color along the river. It was one of the reasons I was excited to go on this trip; I knew the Au Sable was surrounded by tall, beautiful trees, and I knew the colors of fall would be exquisite.

Stopping by the Chase Bridge.
We arrived at the canoe livery in the morning, where we shoved off into the water. The river felt like it was around 55 degrees or so, enough to be cold but not enough to do significant damage if we were exposed to it for too long. That typically wouldn't be a problem, since most of the river was only a few feet deep at most places.

Our canoeing took us along the Mason Tract Pathway near Roscommon. We started down the river near the Chase Bridge, and after a mishap where one canoe flipped while trying to maneuver a fallen log, we stopped for lunch at Durant's Castle, the site where former auto millionaire William C. Durant had built a lavish home in the early 1900s.

Continuing down the river, we saw many ducks which seemingly followed us as we floated down. Many cottages lined the banks: some had people there for the weekend, others had "For Sale" signs in the backyard.
The mix of colors with the green made the trip
a wonderful adventure.
The randomness of where the color would appear was half the appeal
of the fall canoe trip.
We followed the river to the Smith Bridge, where we were met by a driver from the livery we rented the boats from. We returned to the Canoe Harbor State Forest Campground, and enjoyed dinner before falling asleep after a long day of paddling.

It's a great time to go up north for a trip like this: the crowds are gone, the campground is empty and the livery employees are more than happy to work with you. They stay open year-round, meaning you could canoe in January if you wanted to. There, you might see the snow on the trees, but I'll contend it does not rival the autumn colors mid-Michigan could offer the last weekend of September.

1 comment:

  1. The place looks beautiful. Lots of color and the waterworks looks delightful. I am sure the whole family will enjoy this trip. Thank you for sharing your experiences on this river. I really am enchanted with this.