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9-October-2010, Leg 6

Village of Lawrence to 59 1/2 Street Bridge

Saturday, October 9 was a beautiful fall day and I was excited to put in at Lawrence to resume my journey down the Paw Paw for multiple reasons.  I knew the worst of the log jams were behind me for a while. Also, I had extended an invitation to the general public to join me and I was curious what kind of turnout I would get.  Well, only one other paddler showed up, MaryJo from Benton Harbor.  She had heard about the trip from a kayak group she belonged to [Michiana Paddlers].  We got underway and immediately were entranced by the beauty of the river.  Crystal clear water, blazing Fall foliage, what could be better?  The paddling was very easy since a small group from Michiana Paddlers had cleared a pathway with a chainsaw all the way to CR 681.  There was only one serious obstacle, two big trees down across the river about 20 feet apart.  Since I didn't really want to get wet, I went to the trouble of hauling my kayak over the 1st log, getting back in and paddling 20 feet to the 2nd log and repeating the process.  Not MaryJo!  I heard a tremendous splash behind me and turned to see that she had jumped in to the cold, deep, fast water and was towing her kayak behind her to the 2nd log... I have to admit she made me feel like a sissy [but a dry sissy].  The rest of the trip was simply the Paw Paw River at its finest. The stretch from 54th street to CR 681 is my favorite part of the entire river.  Only a few houses and lots of varied terrain: sometimes floodplain forest on both sides, sometimes a high bank with the river digging a deep pool at the base.  It was warm enough that the occasional turtle would still drop from a sunny log as we approached.  Wood ducks burst into flight sounding an alarm around every bend in the river.  As I went around one bend, I heard a commotion and splashing up ahead.  Suddenly I saw two deer swimming across the river, then climbing up the far bank and disappearing noisily into the forest. [Unfortunately, MaryJo missed this show because she had gotten caught on a submerged tree].  All in all, it was probably the best day on the river yet.
  

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Big Burl (not a bear) [Click here to view full size picture]
Big Burl (not a bear)
Fall Colors - Still amazing after all these years [Click here to view full size picture]
Fall Colors - Still amazing after all these years
Big log jam [Click here to view full size picture]
Big log jam
MaryJo on a log [Click here to view full size picture]
MaryJo on a log
Either a hornet nest or a wasp nest - Close enough for me [Click here to view full size picture]
Either a hornet nest or a wasp nest - Close enough for me
Catalpa tree and leaves [widespread but not native to our region] [Click here to view full size picture]
Catalpa tree and leaves [widespread but not native to our region]