My father delivered us to Delhi Park in his hybrid car. The water was so low that running the rapids there mostly meant finagling our way through the rocks. A sign in the river warned “Road construction ahead” just upstream from the place where the iron bridge had been removed for repair. It seemed as if the construction guys were laughing at us as we went by, but we were concentrating too hard on avoiding rocks to know for sure. Even with Gary standing up in the back to spot the signatures of the water, we crashed into a few boulders as we maneuvered downstream.
Below Tubbs Road the river opened up and deepened. The riverbank was filled with blooming plants, and the section by Huron River Drive was especially calm and peaceful—until we pulled alongside the trucks reconstructing the road. We went by quickly and then lingered on the far side of the pond by Barton Hills. We found a low-hanging staghorn sumac and picked some fruit, adding it to a water bottle for later sumac tea. Gary and I had our first date here at Barton Park, walking ice-covered paths last December. It was nice to come into it with him from the water.
The portage around the dam was an easy downhill-only carry. Gary had his large backpack and carried the canoe while I grabbed everything else. We switched seats for the slow, easy paddle to Argo Park. This stretch of river felt totally unknown to me until I recognized the backs of the buildings on North Main. We were ready for lunch: fruit salad, potato salad, tempeh salad, cheese bread rolls I had made the night before—and sumacade.