A Canoe-Cruise on the Genesee


The following quotes are from Ralph K. Wing's article about his canoe trip on the Genesee River, and refer specifically to Livingston County. Each numbered paragraph corresponds with its number on the map. Notice how Wing describes a characteristic or personality of the Genesee that is unique to that particular part of the river.

1.  “… we camped near a ford, within four miles of Portage. At Portage, as the name indicates, we had to make a carry, and for excellent reasons. The valley, some two miles broad, seems to terminate here. The river, after crossing from side to side, and doubling and turning, finally does a bold thing and forces itself through an immensely deep gorge, over three falls.”

2. “We found the river to be very different from what it was above Portage… The stream here lost the character of river, and became a mountain torrent. We had scarcely launched ere we came to as unprepossessing a rapid as any we had seen.”

3. “…we respected our little river the more for what it had been, and this evidence of what it had done. As we admire all that is great in nature, or was great in human history… why not respect for its history an agency that for miles and miles could cut through such tremendous depth of the solid rock, and do what man could never accomplish?”

4. “The most noticeable characteristic is the exceeding crookedness of the river’s course…Hence the difficulty of ascertaining the distance between places. Few travel by the river, and the miles stated to reach a certain point, always given by land, stretch out into interminable leagues. By the road it is not ten miles from Mt. Morris to Geneseo, while I was informed by several that the distance by the river between those places was nearly forty miles.”

5. “In the upper waters of the river, and down to Geneseo, bass give the angler some fine sport; below this point pickerel about and the ordinary fresh-water fish can be caught. We carried no gun, but many times could have found use for one. The small fur-bearing animals are plentiful on the on the upper river, and time and again we startled ducks.”