Lots of discoveries at The Oak

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 October 2013 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – The water isn’t too deep on the western tributary of the Oak Orchard River near the Waterport Dam.

WATERPORT – I’ve been hoping to write about Friday’s journey into the woods along the Oak Orchard River in search of the remnants of the trestle and two bridges that have long been gone.

Brandon Blount led me through the woods and we found support walls, steel girders and lots of stone from the bridges. The trestle’s stone bases are hard to miss.

I have a lot of photos from the journey and I’ve decided to break up the stories. I hope to have the trestle and the bridges on the Hub sometime tomorrow.

For now, you can meet two shaggy ink cap mushrooms that were growing a few feet from the base of the trestle in the woods near Clark Mills Road.

Blount, 35, grew up nearby and often ventured into the woods with his grandfather, the late Don “Cookie” Cook of Medina. (I worked with Cookie briefly when I started my newspaper career back in 1996 with the former Albion Advertiser. Cookie worked in the darkroom for The Journal-Register in Medina. I had to stop by once or twice a week so Cookie could develop some of my photos. This was in the pre-digital photography days.)

Blount has a growing collection of photos of mushrooms, flora and fauna. He has about 70 different types of fungi captured on camera. He likes to get their different growing stages as well.

Blount knows the Oak Orchard River and the woods. I didn’t realize the river splits in two near the Waterport Dam before connecting near the Archer’s Club. Most of the fishermen prefer the east end, where the water is a little deeper, and the river moves faster. That makes it more attractive for the big salmon that come up in the fall to lay their eggs.

But the west river draws some fish. We didn’t see any fishermen on the west river near the dam. There were about a dozen dead fish in the water. They spawned and then died. That’s what they do in their life cycle. If they had come up on the east side, they probably would have been caught by the many anglers.

The waterfall by the dam is bigger than it looks from a distance. Get up close and I bet it’s 75 feet in height, maybe bigger.

I should have more tomorrow on the trestle and the old bridges.