Metropolitan Homesick Blues

Southampton Stories & Other Stuff

Saugeen Mud & Ice

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From somewhere in Southern Ontario the Saugeen meanders for 160 km, flowing northwest. There’s a North and South Saugeen, both formed from many smaller tributaries. Somewhere 24 km South of Southampton the two main branches meet.

The Saugeen gets it name from the Anishinaabe or Ojibwe word ‘Zaagling’ meaning “outlet.” And that’s an apt meaning because it does just that – empties itself into Lake Huron at Southampton Harbour.

12.jpgHigh winds tend to rake the Saugeen’s surface, churning up the silt on the river bottom until it becomes one long brown flowing mass of water. 

2.jpgWind and rain bring high water. The force of the flow relentlessly carries the silt out into Lake Huron. From anywhere on the shore you can see the muddy Saugeen stream out towards Chantry Island. Brown water moves up and down the shoreline for great distances depending on wind and current. Beyond this, blue water and white caps wait to see how far out this beige stream will force itself.  

The Saugeen wants to move. Even in the dead of February when it’s frozen solid you can hear it creak and groan. You can see the fissures and pressure cracks pushing against each other. Ice rams into the harbour’s steel sides sounding like nails on a chalkboard. 

It takes days for the river to defeat the ice. But, when it does the sight of it carrying 18-inch thick floes with tree trunks, docks, tires and whatever else it picks up on the way down is daunting. Again the Saugeen carries everything out into Huron.

Nothing stops it. The Saugeen is true to its name.

 

 

 

 

Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

January 15, 2008 at 7:35 PM

Posted in thoughts

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