ESCANABA - Rivers are alive!
They are like the life giving blood flowing through the veins of Upper Michigan.
They're the pulse of a healthy woodlands and watershed. White pines, willows, wild flowers and every plant in between, taps into the life giving river water.
Karen Wils photo
Trout fishing season starts this weekend. Move out ice!
A vintage postcard shows a trout fisherman in a Northern Michigan river.
An old postcard shows a catch of fish by a beloved riverside.
Here in Delta County we are so fortunate to have friends like the Days, Escanaba, Rapid, Tacoosh and Whitefish River.
All of these lovely streams grace our homelands and hunting lands and flow into Little Bay de Noc. To us so often we see our rivers as toys- a place to fish, canoe, raft or swim.
To most other living things, the rivers create an ecosystem of survival. From the tiniest mayfly nymph to the mightiest moose, the river is the Gatorade of good health.
Today, our cup runneth over with the bubbly goodness of river water. An old fashioned winter weather blessed us with several feet of snow and a thick cap of ice on our streams.
The melting snow and spring run-off, this year has created some wild, white water. The rivers are wide, deep and the current is dangerously strong.
Many of us have a favorite spot along one of the U.P.'s rivers where we like to sit and watch the water go by. Our streams lured in presidents (Calvin Coolidge) and famous authors (Ernest Hemingway) to fly fish for trout and to relax by the soothing waters.
Even if you don't fish, canoe or kayak, a river has a lot offer. The music it makes as it splashes along, moss, roots, rocks and boulders is still one of nature's finest de-stressors.
The wildlife it supports, eagles, otters, raccoons, beaver and blue herons and many more, draw in campers and vacationers. The soft pink of the delicate lady slipper orchid and the cool green of maiden hair ferns beckon to hikers and photographers.
Each one of our U.P. Rivers has certain unique qualities and characteristics. The Escanaba, the biggest and widest is famous for its flat limestone bed. In fact "Escanaba" means flat rock, we were named for the river.
Some of our streams have sandy, gravel, shale or muddy bottoms. Some rivers are slow moving and wide, some are swift with curves bends and waterfalls.
Whatever river is closest to you, adopt it. Keep it clean, shady and growing with native plants, flowers and trees. Rivers are alive with their own personalities, moods and songs. Listen to your river this weekend.
Karen (Rose) Wils is a lifelong resident of North Escanaba. Her folksy columns are published weekly in Lifestyles.