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Due to recent rains the river gauge in Defiance had been over 10' (flood stage) a few days before but it was dropping fast and was down to 5' this day. The river was moving at a brisk pace.
The river from Defiance to Napoleon was very secluded. We did not see another person on the river or along the shore until we got to Napoleon. We saw the usual assortment of bids and a bald eagle . We watched swallows flying in and out of their nest cavities in the high mudbanks of the river.
We stopped for lunch at Ritter Park in Napoleon which has a boat ramp, docks, bathrooms and water. Most importantly there was a Frosty Boy on the road opposite the park so we got ice cream. We made the first 13 miles from Defiance to Napoleon in about 2 hours, helped along by the wind and current.
Below Napoleon, the river got wider, the current slower and being after lunch the powerboats, jets skis and waterskiers came out. The river was fairly wide at this point so sharing the river was easy. The ODNR officer stopped to chat with us and later came back to check on us as the day was very hot (>95F) and sunny.
The second leg of the trip from Napoleon down to Grand Rapids was slower. The river had widened into a narrow lake due to the lowhead dam at Grand Rapids. The remote secluded atmosphere was replaced by more houses along the river.
We took out at Providence Dam Metropark on river left just before the dam. There are no warning buoys or signs above the dam so it helps to scout out the old Miami and Erie Canal channel that leads close to the parking lot around the dam so you recognize it. There is no formal takeout point here. We paddled the canal to a convenient low muddy bank and pulled the canoe out onto the grass. There are bathrooms and water and parking is good here.
Touring Kayak Paddles