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PHOTOS: Canoeing the Au Sable River

Students and staff from Miami University explore Laurel Lake in canoes during fall break.
Students and staff from Miami University explore Laurel Lake in canoes during fall break.

Well, it was supposed to be the Au Sable River. But the forecast for Roscommon, Michigan, where the Au Sable is located, was in the 30s and predicted almost constant rain. So, at the last minute, the itinerary was changed to the Cumberland River in Kentucky. 

Except, after arriving in Kentucky, the Cumberland’s water level was extremely low, and travelers were told they would have to carry their canoes for five miles. So the Cumberland River turned into Laurel Lake, a reservoir built on the Laurel River just west of Corbin, Kentucky.

The canoe trip was put on by Miami University’s Outdoor Pursuit Center (OPC), and it spanned from Thursday evening to Sunday afternoon the weekend of Fall Break. More than a dozen students and OPC leaders participated in the event. 

On the first night of the trip, the group stayed in cabins on a campground near the Cumberland River. They then traveled to Laurel Lake after having a camp-style egg and sausage breakfast on Friday morning. Here, all 6 canoes were unloaded into the water, and the group set off in search of a campsite. The travelers chose a site about a 30-minute paddle from the entry point and treated it as their home base for the weekend. They set up their tents, established a cooking area, and ventured out in their canoes to explore the lake. 

Highlights of the trip included the beautiful fall colors as well as several delicious camp meals cooked by the trip leads. The weather was a bit chilly out at times, but overall the trip was relaxing, successful (only one canoe flip!) , and a much-needed break from the business of the semester.