Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Looking Glass River and Harrison Lake State Park, OH

My last stop before leaving Michigan was to visit friends Marge and Dick in Dewitt. They happen to live along the Looking Glass River.
On the day Carol and I arrived, they had planned a backyard cookout for friends from church. Dick is on the left cooking hot dogs.
After dinner, we all gathered around the campfire.

The next day Thistle and I enjoyed a paddle up the river and back. You can see how the Looking Glass got its name.
After church on Sunday, Carol and I said our good-byes and thank-yous, and drove south into Ohio to Harrison Lake State Park. We ended up staying here 3 nights.
The lake has a nice doggie beach, which also served well as a kayak launch site.
On the first morning Thistle and I went on a 3-mile hike around the lake.
Accessible fishing dock.
Originally the Harrison Lake region was part of Lake Erie. As Lake Erie receded, this area reverted to swamplands and became known as the Great Black Swamp. In 1941, a dam was completed and Harrison Lake was created.
Many Great Blue Heron reside around the lake.
Ducks are plentiful too.
A view from the other side of the lake looking back at the campground near the water tower.
The State Park is surrounded by farmland and fields of corn and soybeans.
The white arrows mark our trail.
Canadian Geese hanging out near the boat ramp. Only non-motorized boats allowed or those with electric motors. I didn't see any boats on the lake while we were here.
Sumac adds the first hints of fall color.
The trail is well-maintained.
Thistle found a turkey feather. Will he find the turkeys?
Milkweed pods.
"I think the turkeys went this way..."
These nuts reminded me of butternuts, but too large, so I thought maybe Hickory nuts.
Then I came to a couple of signs.
Not sure which nut I saw.
Oh, and here are the turkeys!
We passed the kayak rental place.
Another Great Blue Heron perched in a tree.
This narrow inlet might be fun to explore by kayak.
In the afternoon, Carol and I did a driving tour after a run to Walmart.
We took a stroll through Goll Woods, an example of Black Swamp Forest, so the signs tell us.
The Sugar Maples are beginning to change.
We learned about the Goll Family.
Not sure I've ever heard of Basswood.
Carol found the Goll Family Cemetery.

Patriarch of the Goll family in America.
More farmland.
This is a modern (1999) two-lane covered bridge. You can drive your RV through it.
Quakers settled here. This meeting house was built in 1850.
Quaker Cemetery, circa 1847.
The Opera House in Fayette was built in 1898.
Downtown Fayette storefronts.
The next day was a beautiful day to kayak. I tried out the kayak cart that friend Soos gave me, and it worked great to pull my kayoo to the doggie beach for launching.
 Harrison Lake was calm, and the entire lake is part of the state park, so there are no houses or other development around the lake.
"Wild"life along the bank... 
Maple leaves and seeds
More color 
Picnic area and boat launch on the left. 
The bridge marks the end of the lake. Beyond it the waters return to the Great Black Swamp... 
You want to explore the swamp, didn't you? 
Turtles like the swamp. 
I think these are Painted Turtles. 
The water is very still here and it is very quiet as we drift along. 

The only hard decisions to make is which side of the island to drift by? 
We went left. Only a tiny paddle stroke was needed to point the kayoo. 
 Do you see the duck hiding in there?
More of nature's fall colors. 
Painted Turtle enjoying the sun. 
Great Blue Heron. 
Ducks and turtles sharing a log. 
The geese were on the lake today. 
 More color...
GBH  got tired of the picture-taking.
Here's that little inlet we saw yesterday. 

Movement on the bank caught my eye. 
I decided it's a woodchuck. 

Want to go through the tunnel? 
 Nowhere to go on the other side, except turn around and back through.
Back to the lake. 
The vultures are taking an afternoon siesta on the water tower. Sounds good to me... 

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