While St. Lawrence is typically thought of for its northern locale, there are certainly days in the early fall and late spring that feel more like the peak of summer. On these bluebird days, one of my favorite things to do is to spend time around the Grasse River, a tributary of the St. Lawrence River that tickles the edge of campus as it flows through Canton.
On the truly scorcher days, the most popular place is a quick 10-minute walk from the center of campus, where a rope swing helps speed up the cooling-off process. When it is time to dry off, it is nice to build a fire to relax by until its time to head back up to campus. Or if it is a clear night, it is sometimes a nice option to pitch a tent or hammock, cook up something yummy, and grow sleepy as your fire subsides. While I try to make it down there daily when it is warm enough to swim, there is much more that the river has to offer.
In fact, there is the Little River that flows into the Grasse just north of the swimming spot. When it is still the warmer months, the Outing Program opens the Canoe Shack, where students can rent a canoe or kayak by simply leaving their student ID as collateral. From there, you can paddle down stream to connect with the Grasse, or go upstream and follow small tributaries all the way to within a few hundred yards of the senior townhouses. I am a big fan of throwing in my fly fishing rod, to occasionally hunt for the rare musky, a fairly rare relative of the pike. The fish can easily way up to 10-25 pounds while just north on the St. Lawrence River, the fish have been know to breach 50 inches long! For the most advanced paddlers, it is popular to the run the rapids near the Miner Street bridge when the water is high in spring.
While I am a huge fan of all thing in and on the river, as we all know there is a good portion of the year when it is a little chilly to take a dip. Whether or not this is the case, I enjoy going for runs along our trail network that follows along both of the rivers. There are many combinations to choose from, with the longest routes spanning up to six miles. While some of the trails are in the rivers’ flood plains, the trails are well maintained and have footbridges over the muddiest areas. When there is too much snow for regular footwear, it is a pretty wonderful place to go for a snowshoe in the winter months.
Dipping into the one of rivers is one of the best ways to unwind in the warmer months, and spending time in and around the water is one of the most underrated ways to spend time at SLU.