As we carried our stuff back to the canoe, a teenage boy swimming across the pond yelled for help. Gary jumped in and paddled quickly over; after briefly resting on the canoe, the kid pulled himself in and collapsed sideways into the boat. He seemed genuinely grateful and embarrassed, saying he didn’t realize what poor shape he was in. Gary got him to shore, suggested he swim with a life jacket from then on, and urged him to “pay it forward.”
We took the old millrace from the dam to the portage, admiring the fast water spilling down to the river. We put in and detoured back upstream looking for the Allen Creek outlet. Shallow water and rocks stopped us before we could get very close, but I was glad to see it—Allen Creek runs by my house (underground), so I feel especially connected to that little tributary.
The water was low past University Hospital and Island Park, but our passage was peaceful and smooth. At the Arb we stuck to a human-made “channel” with slightly higher water, and were cheered for technique by someone on the shore who had been watching as other canoeists ran aground and had to walk their boats through the area. We still did a fair amount of walking, but only for short stretches.
Rounding a bend, we spotted a deer and her two fawns in the middle of the river. She let us come pretty close before calmly climbing the bank to hang out on someone’s lawn. We also saw a lot of little green herons, some very close, many flying, and their call became familiar.