Thursday, September 3, 2009
Every summer, we spend a week in the Thousand Islands, in the St. Lawrence River. I'm always surprised by how many people back in the Midwest have only a vague idea where that is. The St. Lawrence is the 4th longest river in the United States. Stretching 750 miles from Lake Ontario to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the river marks the boundary between the U.S. and Canada along the northern edge of New York, then continues through Montreal and Quebec. The width of the river varies from 2.5 miles at Lake Ontario to 80 miles at its mouth.
Near Lake Ontario, the river is relatively calm and slow, and dotted with islands ranging in size from -- well, without getting picky about the math, let's say from teeny-tiny to pretty darn big. Some are large enough for just one tree, and some are privately owned. Wellesley Island is one of our favorites, since it has a large, wooded state park with a nature preserve and trails.
My mate4life grew up spending summers on Grindstone Island, and we spent our honeymoon in his family's cabin there. The cabin is gone now, but for 2 weeks each summer, we stay in the home his father built on the mainland, a short drive from the river.
These days, when we go, we spend a lot of time in our canoe, on the river or in one of its small, winding creeks. We watch the ospreys catch fish and take long walks in the meadow, looking at wildflowers, butterflies and birds. The St. Lawrence valley is a beautiful place, and in the next couple of postings, I'll try to share a bit of that beauty as we have found it.