It has been rumored that theMadRiver was given its name by a woman in Angus who fell into it and nearly drowned. It has never been very clear, though, whether it was the river or the woman that was mad. My buddy Reg Rowe and I, however, would conclude that it was indeed the river that was mad… at least the time it ate my car and my shoe.
The Mad River is undoubtedly one of the prettiest rivers inSouthern Ontario. It starts as a narrow stream with high mud banks near Angus, and continues north past Creemore and Glen Huron. The water rises in various places as it meets various streams along its course and drops in others as it travels along the Niagara Escarpment area.
In Devil’s Glen Provincial Park there is a steep-sided gorge that theMadRivercarved. It turns into a shallow stream with cedars and rare ferns along the shore. The upper portion near Singhampton babbles over a gravel bed and is shallow enough in spots that you can cross it in rubber boots without getting your feet wet.
Shortly after Hazel had torn through the area, Reg and I took at trip to Angus to 13 X. To get there we took Highway 90. The Mad River had flooded and the water had risen above the highway. Reg thought we could get across. I don’t know why my buddies always had so much more faith in getting across raging bodies of water than me. So, I listened to Reg – inspired by the story of success the previous night – revved the engine and tried to take her across.
This time, we weren’t so lucky. The engine stalled. “Now what do we do?”, inquired Reg. I think he felt kind of bad, but not bad enough to be the one to volunteer to get out of the car and get his feet wet.
I said, “Well, I guess we’re going to have to get some help.” I knew that Ken Kernan’s farm was just up the road and so I thought I could walk there and see if he could pull us out of our mess. I opened the door to the car and “whoosh” – in flooded the river. The current was stronger than I had expected and it had chunks of ice in it too as it was still only March. The worst thing about it was that the current took one of my good shoes with it. Frustrated because they were expensive shoes, I threw the other one directly after it. I guess if anyone was lucky enough to find the shoes at least they may end up having a pair.
Off I went – to the other side of the river. It was quite a challenge to not be swept away myself and the chunks of ice hurt as they struck my legs. With a great deal of effort, I made it to the other side of the river and to Ken’s farm.
Sure enough, Ken was good to bring a couple of his horses. We hooked the horses up to the car and pulled the car out of the flooded area to safety.
Weeks later, when I was driving home, I found one of my shoes stuck in a fence. It was wedged in quite good from the strength of the current. There was only one shoe. For years I waited to find the mate to this shoe – but I never did. I guess you could say I lost my sole on the Mad River that day.