Ford, Michigan, US
|Usual Difficulty||II (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||6 fpm|
|Max Gradient||11 fpm|
|FORD RIVER NEAR HYDE, MI|
|usgs-04059500||300 - 2000 cfs||II||01h44m||~ 170 cfs (too low)|
|Likely too low for reasonable whitewater run or play. Non-gradient portions of river are likely paddleable. Gauge (450 sq.mi. drainage) lies well downstream, thus will certainly lag rise and fall. Flow here will be nearly half gauge reading.|
While the Ford from Hwy.2 to Hwy.35 may have higher maximum and average gradient, and thus seem a 'better' run, it has no apparent ledges or significant geology, thus consists primarily of waves (at high enough flows). This stretch lies well upstream, and has very low overall gradient, but has a brief stretch which looks very promising. Indeed, at the right flows, it appears it could be worth a 'park-and-play', if it can be legally accessed (if the unimproved roads which seem to provide access are not gated or posted against trespass) and if the roads are passable. After the brief rapids, the remainder of the stretch is likely to be flat/flowing, possibly a few areas of swiftwater, riffles and rips.
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|0.0||USGS sampling site||N/A|
|1.8||Begin rapids sequence||II|
|2.1||Possible additional minor features||I|
|2.5||Possible short access||N/A|
USGS lists a sampling site very near our listed put-in, and shows drainage area at that point as 230 square miles.
About a mile-and-three-quarters of generally flatwater paddling from the listed put-in brings you to the best stretch of rapids on this section of river. It appears there may be a couple good ledge/wave/holes to start, and possibly some nice waves/riffles/rips for a ways downstream.
It appears there are unimproved roads either side of river which may provide access to this location for inspection, and possible park-and-play (if features merit).
After the 'main event', it appears there may be some additional geology which could created additional minor features as the river jogs left then back to the right.
A string of islands break up the flow. Watch for possible wood accumulating at head of each. There may be minor waves and eddy-work possible amid these various channels.
Almost the entire stretch downstream of here is flatwater (and perhaps swiftwater riffles and rips). It may be possible to use what appear to be logging roads (if they are not gated or posted against trespass, or impassible to your particular shuttle vehicle(s)) to access the river at this point to make a short trip.