Monday, March 23, 2009
The Grand is growing:
As the trio paddles downstream on the Grand it grows in volume from the input of its major tributaries. The first is the Looking Glass River which enters the Grand just downstream of where they launched in Portland. Its headwaters are in a marsh just a few yards from the Shiawassee River, a tributary of the Saginaw River whose waters flow to Saginaw Bay and Lake Huron. In its upper reaches the Looking Glass is an important Sandhill Crane breeding ground.
The next is the Maple River, a placid stream occupying the channel of what was once a Niagara-sized meltwater torrent. Its headwaters are also near the Shiawassee River. There was an ancient portage between the Maple and tributaries of the Saginaw.
Some 10,000 years ago a mile thick lobe of the Continental glacier occupied the Lake Huron Basin blocking the drainage to the Atlantic, forcing all the meltwater to flow to Lake Michigan and the Mississippi. The Maple and the Lower Grand are the remnants of that once-mighty glacial drain.
The Upper Grand as we know it today did not even exist in those times. It is a geologically youthful stream which cut its sinuous path across the moraines and drift left when the glacier retreated.
My message of April 30: Charlie, Dan and Jim camped at Ionia last night and are on their way toward Lowell, Ada and Grand Rapids.