Pigeon River Paddle and Nasby Fen Hike by Peg Zeis

Our group was small but not lacking enthusiasm as we launched our canoes just below the dam at Mongo. The weather posed a threat but we barely got damp as only an occasional misty rain fell. It actually was quite refreshing and cooling on a humid July morning. At least we weren’t soaked as were some paddlers in a large group we encountered on the river who had the misfortune (or was it deliberate?) of capsizing in the gently flowing waters of the Pigeon.


After a four-plus paddle on the Pigeon we worked out way through a significant bed of lily pads and left our boats behind forgetting any thought of our damp clothing which quickly became decorated with muck. Nate kindly excused his senior troops’ slowness of pace, even though using walking poles, as he explained that because he spends so much time in this irregular habitat he has developed “fen legs.” But there we were, the beauty of Nasby fen stretched out before us! As we struggled through the unpredictable terrain it was hard (but very important!) to keep our eyes on each step we took. The Blazing Star was bountiful and profoundly beautiful. Among other plants, we saw Death Camus, Kalm’s Lobelia, Hardhack, Meadowsweet, Sundew, Pitcher Plant, and numerous grasses, sedges, and rushes. How, buried under the dense vegetation, Nate spotted a spike of a newly emerged Purple Loosestrife, we don’t know. But he took time to dig it from the mucky soil lest it get a start on reinvading the fen. And on went the daring explorers from muck to marl, seeps to rivulets, skin-slicing but delicious blackberries, and hummocks to sinkholes just waiting to swallow a victim, until we again reached the water’s edge where our canoes, well banked in ankle-deep muck awaited the all-too-short final stretch of our journey and we crossed the widened pool on the river to the take-out point above Nasby Dam.


It was interesting that the devotion of the day of our Pigeon River paddle and Nasby Fen tour, July 30, from Sara Young’s Jesus Calling was as follows:

“Worship Me in the beauty of holiness. I created beauty to declare the existence of My holy Being. A magnificent rose, a hauntingly glorious sunset, oceanic splendor- all these tings were meant to proclaim My presence in the world. Most people rush past there proclamations without giving them a second thought…

How precious are My children who are awed by nature’s beauty; this opens them up to My holy Presence. Even before you knew Me personally, you responded to My creation with wonder. This is a gift, and it carries responsibility with it. Declare My glorious Being to the world. The whole earth is full of My radiant beauty- My Glory!”


This article, along with others, was featured in this month’s edition of Rustling Grass. To see the full newsletter, visit the archives page or subscribe by emailing us at stuartbheron1@hotmail.com.

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