I’m a Lumber Jack and I’m OK.
I work all night and sleep all day…
Well, not really. Last Sunday was a gorgeous January day, 38 degrees and partly sunny, perfect day for a float. The previous day was bumping the mercury to 40 and rain on Friday night. Snow was melting everywhere and large glacier like movements of the white masses were crashing down off our tin roof barn. I was surprised when I met Chris at the river and noticed it wasn’t running high at all. Still plenty of snow and we utilized it to our advantage. The Adipose Flow nicely scooted across the multiple densities of frozen precipitation right into the river. There were no other tracks to the river nor signs of boat trailers. We were launching at Old State Road, where most canoers take-out from a nice float down from Graves Crossing. So the water ahead lie waiting in mystery for us to discover. We scouted Webster take-out and made the assumption it was doable for us to drag the boat over some small ice mounds left from a plow that made one small pass through the launch site.
Chris and I have exchanged messages via Facebook, and I invited him to float the Jordan for some winter pictures for his Outdoor Column in the Gaylord Herald. It is funny, when you finally meet someone in person that you may have never actually talked to and all your character judgements are dialed in correctly. We know many of the same people in the tip of the mitt, kind of ironic we never met in the past. We talked in depth about a variety of subjects. The boat in particular because although Chris has floated the Jordan before, but never in a drift boat, so this was a first. I explained why I love the Adipose because of it’s storage, walk around platform, large footprint and shallow draft, it’s nimble dexterity and my ability to see objects headed our way over he bow, and a few other feature that make it a perfect design for floating a river like many we have in northern Michigan. He shall soon see what I am talking about. We also talk about the designation of Natural & Scenic for the Jordan River, the threat of hydraulic fracturing, certain dam removal in other areas that have been long overdue, and Pebble Mine/Bristol Bay. The EPA is scheduled to release it’s assessment midweek. We both know and agree how man, money and precious minerals seem to over-ride natural beauty that can’t be bought nor replaced. Here are the EPA findings. Now it’s time to do the right thing. It would make sense not to jeopardize 90 miles of salmon spawning habitat and destroying nearly 5,000 acres of wetland, pond and lakes, but we can voice our concern and make it known. This is the wrong place for this kind of open pit mine.
Anytime I have the pleasure of floating with someone I get a glimpse inside their life, and they mine. Because of his journalism background and my bartending past, we know how to walk the tightrope of delicate subjects without offending. I discover more about Chris and how we are both blessed with beautiful daughter(s) and gorgeous, caring wives. Our passion for rivers is one in the same, conservation of it’s natural beauty is the reason we are on this river. Even after being asked a hundred times why this river is special to me, I am dumbfounded. You are here in the middle of this amazing and spectacular natural setting and words fail to come close as to ‘why’ a place of serenity can be so magnificent. I can say that this is a mini-version of many more famous larger rivers I have known. In the Jordan, I can catch brook trout in an infinity of braided headwaters, major player browns during the hex hatch and an occasional steelhead in the cooler off-season. It offers twelve months of canoeing & kayaking and if the snow isn’t too high, I can access the river with my skiff anytime of the year.
After we clear the first major tangle of downed cedar trees, we only target hot spots and cruise though much of the river to clear a few more downed trees. This spring has our work cut out for us, many more javelin-like cedar spires need to be cut back to save would-be anglers from becoming swimmers during a midnight mousing excursion. The take-out was a challenge, snow can help glide the Adipose ashore but hinder the mighty fishcar from getting any traction. The parking lot was glazed ice and merely a two-track access point, we made it work.
If you never had the chance to float the Jordan, you should add it to your ‘Bucket List’. Winter months have a certain frozen beauty, the summer time has more canoe traffic, but the same awe inspiring scenery. I wrote a piece for aTightLoop online, magazine recently and have a link added to help preserve this one-of-a- kind fishery. Check it out and sign your name to the petition. Please spread the word.