14 October 2008
all conspired against our planned trip going as planned. we were determined, though, so despite losing our driver (for easier pick-up and drop-off), despite time limits, we did it; we made our last and longest kayak trip of the season--down the dowagiac river. we had gone down a short part of the river a few weeks back--sink road to dodd park--and that made us want more.
this time we put in at dewey lake street, down a steep embankment to a concrete storm drain we used to steady ourselves before getting in. i commented that a wrong step there would make for a long, cold, wet trip. we all got in fine. there are very few easy access points along the dowagiac.
the first hour and a half took us through the most log obstacles. none of them forced us to leave the river, but many required lots of scooting. they were puzzles. the woods along this part of the river are mostly breakers in the back of fields. we encountered more than a few barrels of god knows what dumped by farmers. other than those sad reminders of humanity, the river is natural and beautiful. we irritated a heron. it would fly down river when we approached--again and again. we tried to explain to it that it should just stay where it was or fly the opposite direction, but it was suspicious of our advice.
the next couple hours was cleared more. foot bridges and deer blinds spotted the river's edge. the ground was flatter, less undergrowth. forrest stared down a beaver.
the most beautiful part was near the end, when we were in the middle of dowagiac woods. there the light is forced into shafts by the dense woods. by this point, four hours in, we were tired and sore. we had gone under the last underpass and would soon be done.
it was then, after avoiding any danger when going over and under big obstacles, i went to make an easy turn, hit one tree, and was nudged by another log somewhere underneath me. the next thing i knew i was under water. under very cold water.