I had a dam fine morning!

I spent most of Sunday, July 12th moseying around the Huron River. I sure was grateful for that weekend, which turned out to be a couple of days’ respite from the unrelenting heat and humidity. So I set out early to make the most of the day and in the process, I aimed to fulfill two items on my “Park Bucket List” by going to Huroc Park in Flat Rock then to visit Willow Metropark in nearby New Boston. Earlier that week I was chatting with fellow walker Arnie at Council Point Park about nearby parks and he asked if I’d been to Huroc Park or Willow Metropark. I said “they’re on my bucket list” so he gave me the scoop on what to see and do at those two venues. I did not originally intend to visit any other Metroparks, but since they are clustered together within a few miles, I thought “why not have a Parkapalooza today?”

So, with a cup of coffee and a bowl of oatmeal under my belt I ventured out.

The Huron River and Huroc Dam.

The Huron River has been in the news a lot recently since several persons have drowned in 2020 after their boat or kayak was overturned and they were lost due to swift undercurrents and higher-than-usual water levels. No problem for me as I was just a landlubber, only intent on meandering along the various trails at or near the Huron River.

The Huron River is 130 miles long and goes through six Michigan counties and ends at Point Mouillee on Lake Erie. This is just one bend in that River’s journey.

My first stop was Huroc Park.

I paused to check out the life-sized bear and the tribute plaque just inside the park.

There were American Black Ducks and a few Mallards milling about on the banks of the River. Signs everywhere warned against feeding the waterfowl.

In the distance the Flat Rock Dam was visible – it is pictured in the header as well. It really was not very scenic from my vantage point, so I walked to the railroad tracks, (not visible in these shots), to get a better view and some photos, but I was confronted with “private property – no trespassing” signs, so I scurried away rather quickly.

But no worries, because the better dam for viewing the churning water that rushes from beneath the covered bridge, definitely was this structure known as the Huroc Dam. It is located 900 feet (270 meters) downstream from the big dam.

See how the water gushes from beneath the covered bridge?

It was a sight to see and as I stood there on the banks, a few times I had to step back as water was spraying onto the camera and me. Look at the force of the water in these photos!

And then I saw him.

… a Great Blue Heron who was fishing for his breakfast and he was comfortable with me being there, unlike the skittish Harry.

I know I’ve included far too many photos of this guy, but I watched him studying the water which was roiling about those long skinny legs. He seem unperturbed and his body swayed as he fought to keep his balance with the strong current.

Finally he moved to where he seemed more sure-footed and then the hunt for breakfast was more intense as he crouched down lower to the water, his spear-like beak not too far from its surface. Droplets danced around the end of that beak while he studied the water intensely; I swear he didn’t even blink.

He was successful, albeit a skinny fish, which he quickly sent down the hatch and he returned to “fishing mode” once again.

Well I stood there watching him fishing and caught a glimpse of a human fishing on the River as well.

But I had a long day ahead, so I tore myself away and went across the covered bridge.

The bridge crosses from the mainland onto a small, man-made island a/k/a Huroc Park, where there is a circular loop that encircles the entire park, in addition to a trail which bicyclists can use to access four local Metroparks.

I walked over this bridge …

… and along that bike trail for a mile or so, then returned back to the main loop. It was okay for walking, however, it is a popular trail for bicyclists, so it was a little jammed up walking in between them.

As mentioned, Huroc Park has been on my Park Bucket List for a while. I was going to go there this past Spring, but it was closed for a month as it was deemed unsafe for proper social distancing because of the narrow walkways along the covered bridge and wooden overlook bridges like this one. There were signs about social distancing everywhere.

And there are the usual warnings to not eat the PFAS-contaminated fish at this locale.

The heron seemed humiliated with his wet feathers, but he got past it.

On the way back to the car, I retraced my steps and my head swiveled to see if the heron was still around. Well, yes he was, but clearly he’d either made a misstep and fallen into the River or gotten splashed pretty badly. 🙂

He was wearing this rather sheepish look that seemed to say “ya, I was dumb and got really wet – it messed up my ‘do!” Of course I had to take a picture of this humiliated heron.

I don’t know if this pose was a way to streamline feather drying, but it looked pretty funny.

But he rallied back to his usual self, then went in search of another fishing spot.

He moved over to the concrete slabs of the embankment and though it was a fairly steep incline …

… he caught another little fish – yay!

He then returned to studying the water once again.

I left Huroc Park and went to the first of three Metroparks which you’ll read about in my next post, so stay tuned!

About Linda Schaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, so this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for four decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, though I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too. - Linda Schaub
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34 Responses to I had a dam fine morning!

  1. Sandra J says:

    What a wonderful group of photos of the Heron, he is having a good day fishing, It is amazing how still they are and seem to get their catch every time. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you liked the photos of the Heron Sandra. I know I had a lot which probably looked the same, but I thought it was interesting what a good fisherman he was … and I think he looked pretty funny after he got all his feathers wet. It looks sometimes like they are just staring at the water, then in just a moment’s time, they produce a fish!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sandra J says:

        More is better when it comes to bird photos. It shows him inching his way forward. It does look like they are looking at them selves in the water. I don’t have that much patience. If that was the husband watching something like that, I would interrupt and say grab it already. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Ha ha!! Or you would do it for him, so you could just move on. 🙂 I don’t have patience like I used to either Sandra. Yes, those herons and egrets have a lot of patience. All that waiting for two small, skinny fish. I could not pick which ones I liked, but like you said, the progression of photos let you see how he approached “fishing for his breakfast” … I sorted through the young blue jay photos last weekend and will do the same thing – they made multiple trips to the pavement, getting braver with each time there and Mama watching nearby. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sandra J says:

        I sure have not seen many blue jays this year. But, I did not have my feeders out all summer either. When I was feeding the birds on a regular basis, there were so many different ones at the feeders. They keep coming back if you stay consistent with the food.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Well it was the same with the squirrels here at the house. After I lost Grady and his pal, the black and furless squirrels, I stopped feeding them. I am still sure the hawk was the reason especially with Grady as he would beg every chance he got. I saw a Cooper’s Hawk trolling at the Park today and wondered if that was the reason for no squirrels on the path once again. Anyway, I stopped the peanuts and whatever fox squirrels were beating a path here and the remaining black squirrel – they no longer show up at the house, nor even glance my way.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Eliza says:

    Oh my gosh. I read the title as fire so couldn’t really read it properly for was waiting to hear you were okay….
    Phew….
    I like the Heron…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Oh wow! Well thanks for your concern from afar Ellie. I decided to use this title as something different since it was about a dam. It took me a while to figure what picture was going to go with that racy title though!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ally Bean says:

    Parkapalooza was a good idea. I didn’t know the Wyandot nation went into Michigan. They’re a big part of mid-Ohio history. I like the rushing water in the first park, but much prefer the bridge in the second park. As for not loitering on it, I dunno. Seems like it’d be nice place to pause and ponder.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes, tomorrow’s post will be two Metroparks and for Wordless Wednesday a collection of wildflowers at another Metropark. I was exhausted by the time I came home that day, having walked 7 miles.

      Yes, the Wyandott nation congregated in an area near me, now called “Wyandotte” – they have a huge totem pole in the downtown business district. I liked it on the bridge to see the rushing water – I was amazed at all the water and then so calm on the other side.

      Like

  4. Joni says:

    I enjoyed the walk with you Linda! You have some many wonderful parks and it’s nice to see Harry’s kin! What ever happened to Harry?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you enjoyed the walk Joni – the other parks will be tomorrow and one park’s wildflower photos on Wednesday. I have not seen Harry since the day that Council Point Park closed for a month. I heard him (or another heron) one time, screeching up in the sky, but didn’t see him at his fishing spot. This guy didn’t mind me intruding on his space at all. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. ruthsoaper says:

    Our state really does have a lot of nice parks to visit. I am glad you took us to some new ones. The energy in water is amazing. My husband husband says “water always wins”. Do you know anything about the history or purpose of those dams? Are they being maintained? I imagine a breach could cause major flooding and property damage like we have seen in other parts of the state..
    Those heron pictures are funny – you got some great shots.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes, there are so many parks to visit in our state Ruth … so many that I’ll bet it would take years to go through all of them … look at this; there were four parks all within a few miles of one another and just five miles from Lake Erie Metropark where I often go on walks.

      After the fellow walker suggested going here and Willow Park, I looked on the park site to get some directions and read up on them. Also I went on Wikipedia and YouTube to see if I could find anything. So I just hopped back on Wikipedia to tell you the exact stats – the dam is now decommissioned, but was once used by the Ford Motor Company for hydroelectricity for the nearby Ford Motor Company Lamp Factory, which remained in operation until 1950.

      I was amazed at the velocity of the rushing water, yet the other side of the bridge was clear and still. I liked that heron – he did not bolt like I was threatening him or something. He was funny and content to go fishing – pretty successful too. The DNR stocks the Huron River at this dam site with a lot of fish, for anglers and herons (though he just got the smaller fish).

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Lovely park and interesting walk! I would have enjoyed the falling water.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love the pics of course, they are always so lovely. But today I really fell in love with your headline, the way you play with words: “I had a dam fine….” Excellent title, awesome. Really loved it. 😅😄😁👍👍👍

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Martha – glad you liked the pictures. It was a fun morning and I thought I’d use a different title because how many times am I able to say “I had a dam fine morning!” and have it be a credible statement?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Nice park and great pictures. Too bad the fish are contaminated. That’s also bad for the birds that eat the fish.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Kate – glad you liked the pictures. I was fascinated by the dam (and the heron too). Yes, it is bad for the fishermen and birds due to the PFAS and the strange thing is that the DNR stocks the Huron River with lots of fish, even though it is catch-and-release fishing only. Seems odd to me to do that but I guess they figure it is a good pastime for people to enjoy the outdoors. But it encourages this heron for example to eat the contaminated fish.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. susieshy45 says:

    Hi Linda,
    As usual, an activity and excitement ridden post. I understood how much I missed reading your posts as I returned to reading your posts after a hiatus. Writing and reading have become alien to me now, so I have been tardy. Today I have a domestic help to help – so some time to read the posts I stored for such a day. The corona situation has made us cautious about people we let into our homes. It is a strange and suspicious time now.
    Hence your post was welcome and reminiscent of the days gone by and not so far away. Loved the tale of the wet heron and his small fish catch. Admiring his guts to go near that very gushy water. It would surely be unsafe for humans?
    I am sure you will have colder weather soon. It is almost the end of July. I enjoyed reading about the community gardens and the vegetables grown there, can you buy some of those fresh veggies if you wished- surely there must be surplus.
    Any news from PArker and family?
    Susie

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I am glad you enjoyed those posts Susie and it is good to see you back here again. I know you have had a very long and eventful year and now your injury on top of it. There are so many worries with the Coronavirus – we have to think for everything we do anymore. I have been to the dentist the beginning of the month and then the eye doctor last Friday. A whole new deal than before but I did not want to forego the annual dental or eye doctor appointment.

      I was happy to have a heron who was not skittish and flying off and screeching away while taking off like I was out to get him. As to Parker and family – after the Park closed down that one month, things have not been the same in many aspects. I see very few squirrels on the trail – in fact two days in a row I’ve not seen a single one. I keep going and coming home with most of the peanuts I took on most days and not taking any photos, although a week ago Saturday I was at the Park and got some Parker photos and funny squirrel photos so will use them next week. I saw Parker in the parking lot, but he was alone. I saw some baby blue jays and took their photos and will use that post next week as well.

      But other than that, the ambiance of the Park changed after the shutdown for one month – maybe other walkers don’t notice it, but I do as I’ve been going there 7 years now. I hope things get better, but it has been very hot and that might be keeping them up in the trees as well. Today was a one-day respite from the heat, then hot tomorrow, then two days’ respite and cooler weather, then hot again – it is like a rollercoaster as the weather is bizarre. It is still better than ice and snow, but I worry when we have volatile weather which we’ve had a lot of this Summer. Take care of yourself Susie.

      Like

  10. What lovely pictures Linda!!! Gosh I loved all the pictures it’s hard to pick my favorite. What a nice change of scenery this must have been for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Diane – glad you liked these pictures. I was just amazed at the water at this dam and the way it was gushing out, yet calm on the other side of the covered bridge. It was a nice walking loop around that park and then I went to three more parks after that. But yes, this was a change of scenery from the usual parks where I walk. The cooperative heron was one of the highlights!

      Like

  11. Laurie says:

    Those heron photos are amazing, Linda. Great job capturing him! I think most great blues are skittish like Harry, not placid like this guy. I loved seeing the tiny fish he caught. That was probably just an appetizer for him.

    I finally got to see a metropark when we were in Ohio. We don’t have them in PA. I thought of you when we ran through the one in Maumee. It’s such a nice place for walkers, bikers, and runners. We even saw a man on roller blades. Haven’t seen them for a long time!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Laurie – that’s the closest I’ve every gotten to a heron, and, like you said, he was very placid and did not flinch at all if he caught sight of me. He was pretty daring – all that water churning around and fishing at such a steep angle made me wish he had caught bigger fish.

      A fellow blogger lives near Cleveland and they have Metroparks there and she would tell me how similar they were to our 13 here in Michigan. I just saw a roller blader this morning. Also, there is woman who rollerblades that lives a few blocks away – she is a year older than we are and zips around on her blades – she loves it.

      Like

  12. That is a dam fine morning indeed. Harry is gonna be jealous, you captured a lot of great shots of that heron in action!

    Liked by 1 person

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