Tuesday, August 31, 2010

River Scenes

When the first European explorers journeyed to the Great Lakes region, the land was literally covered with trees. A dense, seemingly impenetrable forest greeted them as they moved inland.

Although the forest provided many of the raw materials the newcomers needed to begin their lives in the area, this same forest presented them with numerous problems. One major obstacle was travel. With the trees so densely packed, getting from one point to another was difficult.

Native Americans used game trails to move from one area to another, but the most expeditious method of travel was by waterway. Most of the travel was done on The Great Lakes and on larger rivers, but smaller rivers and streams presented the opportunity to reach more out of the way, less visited locales.

Imagine it’s the year 1775. You’re paddling your birchbark canoe along the shore of Lake Huron. You’re watching the shoreline, and notice the mouth of a small stream such as the Pigeon or Pinnebog River in what is now Huron County. It’s getting near dusk and you need to find a camp for the night. It could be spring and the trees have no leaves yet. Or it’s summer and the foliage is thick, and lushly green. Or, it may be autumn and the banks are wonderfully covered with numerous vivid colors. It could also be early winter and the banks are covered with snow, but the river isn’t frozen yet. You paddle upriver a mile or so and camp. You build a small fire, and after catching a few fish in the stream, you enjoy the peace and solitude as you eat your supper. Later, you lay out your bedroll and drift off to sleep, planning the next days travel.

When you wake in the morning, the sight that catches your eye could be similar to what you may see on a small stream in Huron County today.

We still have the opportunity to view the river scene as it may have been viewed by the earliest European explorers. The next time you’re traveling from place to place, and cross the Pigeon or Pinnebog Rivers, or any of the other small streams in the county. Take the time to stop and look up and down stream. Image yourself as an explorer in 1775.

When viewed from the right perspective, the river scenery in Beautiful Huron County is nearly timeless.

Note:  Photos and text in this post are Copyright Bill Diller 2010

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