Sunday Oct 30th.
15 miles down the Kalamazoo river in the Allegan State Game area. Tom Deater, Matt Johnson, and Dustin White accompanied me. We launched under a light breeze, bright sunshine, and samurai film falling leaves, a deluge of red, yellow, and orange leaves fluttered to the ground around Dustin and I as we waited for the shuttle crew to return.
We paddled a short way, both Tom and I had new gaskets. We were both gagging a bit from the tension on our adam’s apples. We came to a side stream that Matt knew and hiked in about 1/2 a mile. We were treated to the sight of salmon coming in to spawn, and then obviously die. It was amazing to see these prehistoric looking creatures flinging themselves up a drainage pipe over the rocks. The futility of it all, sort of dawned on me, and I made the joke that a man over thirty really shouldn’t watch this, as it is a metaphor for the rest of our lives. The salmon looked terrible, splotchy, and white with their black scales falling out in huge patches, like my hair in my final years of college. All they wanted to do was get above a 5 foot dam to hump a good woman and die. Not a pretty picture. I wonder if they thought about how much they fell short of their ancestors, like I do.
We continued down the river for another 5 hours, despite matt’s claims at a four hour paddle! Eventually darkness creeped in, and the headlights came out. I enjoyed coming under the train trestle bridge in the dark. I also thought a lot about trying to do the Manitou Crossing under a full moon some day in summer. How great would that be, still water, bright moonlight and a landing in the dark. Might need a GPS.