Sunday, August 29, 2010

Great Black Swamp Ride

Saturday I rode east into the Great Black Swamp. We live on the glacial end moraine just north and east of Ft. Wayne.

Below is a photo of the Great Black Swamp, as it appears today.

Probably 99% of the swamp is gone today. The soil is ditched and tiled, very few trees remain. Those woods that do remain are on ground that was too wet to drain years ago. The drained ground, however, makes excellent farm ground. Graineries like this abound in every small town with a rail line in the Great Black Swamp.

In the afternoon, Alex and I drove to a nearby nature preserve to walk in the woods. Here's a photo of Big Oak and Big Oak (Big Bur Oak, actually). Bur oaks like this were common (and still are) in the Great Black Swamp on the bluffs along the Maumee River.

Here's the route I took. A 50 miler with no hills (I'm not counting the US 24 overpass as a hill, although it was the biggest I encountered the entire way).

View Great Black Swamp Ride in a larger map

Happy riding!


Steve A said...

I never knew about the Great Black Swamp before. From your photo, it looks more like the Great Green (Former) Swamp.

Big Oak said...

Steve - yes, there undoubtedly was lots of green. The legend goes that it was the called the black swamp because the trees were so dense the understory was dark - even at mid-day.

Just after the last glacier melted, it was a huge lake that stretched from present day Ft. Wayne to Buffalo, NY.

Oldfool said...

That ain't a swamp. Come here and I'll show you a swamp. My yard (today) is more of a swamp.

rlove2bike said...

There are a lot of wetlands that have gone by the way of progress, and I think that line of thinking is changing, although not in time for Great Black Swamp. I will say this with certainity, that is one big oak tree. I also like the sounds of a 50 miler with no hills. Maybe some wind though?

Big Oak said...

Oldfool - I agree - there's probably no swamp in the world like the one out your back door.

rlove2bike - actually, very little wind from the SE that morning. It was very easy. More hot weather on the way for a couple of days though.

Apertome said...

I didn't know about the Great Black Swamp either. Interesting stuff, are there bits and pieces that have been preserved?

That Big Oak is, well, quite large!

By the way, I like your T-shirt ... the Huntington ride was a lot of fun.

D A N O said...


Big Oak said...

Apertome - Michael, just a very few spots are left, and I think most of those have been cut over. Most large trees in this area originated around 1840 or later.

I'm going to miss the Huntington ride this year. Parents weekend at Purdue for that ride.