Over Father's Day weekend, my dad and I completed a 28 mile run down the fox river. As the same with other trips, we started in Yorkville, camped around Sheridan, and ended in Wedron. The weather held up for the weekend, and it was a nice paddle. I'm going to chart out where we started, ended, and camped.
This weekend, I went on a kayak trip down the full length of the DuPage river. I started at Weigand Park in Naperville, and ended at Channahon state park in Shorewood. 28 Miles. Along the way, I passed through the rapids south of Hammel Woods. The gauge at Hammel was reading at about 3ft at the time, average.
I took two videos from my time on the river in the rapids area. Enjoy!
Over Easter weekend, I went on a solo kayak camping trip down the Fox River in Illinois. I took a 28 mile trip from Yorkville to Wedron. 0 portages and lots of scenic camping. I did 18 miles of paddling day 1, and 10 on day 2. Overall, I paddled for about 8 hours.
I put in at Yorkville, just past the dam. There is a boat launch west of IL-47. I had my wife pick me up at C&M canoe rental. I found a campsite at an island nearby the Sheridan juvenile center.
I got some great videos from the dells area. Enjoy!
This past weekend, I went to the Wisconsin Dells. There's a solid 42 mile trip from Castle Rock Dam to Portage WI. There is just one portage, a long one in the middle in downtown WI dells. The plan is to paddle 10-14 miles on day one, and find camping somewhere in the islands. Day 2 takes you through a lake, portage, and then back into the lower dells area. Day 3 is all river, taking you out to the end.
I did this trip with group of 5 others. 3 had never kayak camped before. 2 had gone on a few trips, to say the least. In mid October, highs were in the upper 50s, and lows in the low 40s. Not too cold, and not a lot of bugs.
Day 1 was windy. We made it about 12 miles. We started around noon with a car swap. We left all boats and gear at start, drove to end, then hired a taxi to take us back to the start. Little back and forth, but saved us travel at the end.
The wind was constantly in our face all day, making it a bit of a struggle. We hit the 7 mile bridge around 3:30, a bit behind pace. Fortunately from there, the current picked up and things got moving. We passed through the canyon around the 10 mile marker and had no issues despite choppy wind.
Day 2 was a mixed bag. The water was calm in the morning, leading to a smooth paddle through the open lake area and then through the narrows and into the dells. We took our time going through the scenic dells, so hit the portage right at noon. We'd get back into the water around 2pm, after lunch and portage.
The portage takes forever, as you go uphill, through a big parking lot area around a power plant, then back down a hill. I'm happy to report that they've widened the last part going downhill, so it was much easier to traverse. There are clear maps marking the route, and signs along the way.
The second half of day 2 it began to rain and mist. This would last from 2-8pm, and eventually got us all wet and cold. We'd find a decent beach somewhere in the pine islands, around the 32 mile marker. Once the rain cut off, we were able to start up a fire and have some dinner.
Day 3 was very straightforward. We paddled 10 miles through the wider portion of the river. Eventually you see a bridge, as you get into portage. That's roughly the 3 miles to go marker. You scoot under two bridges, then go to the takeout on the left.
Overall, it was a great trip. Nothing too crazy compared to previous trips. In October, there wasn't much speedboat traffic to contend with. The elements were a challenge, but nothing we couldn't overcome. The Wisconsin river can be a big challenge, but overall goes pretty smooth with its many islands and sandbars.
This memorial day weekend, my wife and I attempted a 40 mile trip down the Kishwaukee and Rock rivers, from Belvidere to Oregon Illinois. It'd be a 3 day 2 night trip which I've done previously.
We fell short.
The Kishwaukee was moving, but not exceptionally fast. Water height was at 5 feet (2 more than average), and a KCFS around 2.4. It was right at action stage, 3 feet below flood. Unfortunately, after so much deadfall and so many floods from the last 2 years, it's nearly impassable at points. At that level, it basically became a whitewater course, trying to avoid trees.
After my wife flipped twice, and me getting caught in a current and splashing over, we made the call to end it. We were behind schedule, and had gear beginning to get soaked. Baumann park is right at the edge of civilization, so it was a point of no return. By blackhawk park there were a few more sharp turns, and if that would be as bad as the first stretch, we would have been in trouble.
So we played it safe. A bit unsatisfactory, but safety first.
Today I completed my first race: the Des Plaines river canoe and kayak marathon. It is 18.5 miles from Oak Spring Road to Euclid road. I completed it in 3:45, just under 5 MPH. It was good enough for 24/94 for my men's rec 14 or less kayak division.
The first 10-12 miles was fun: decent current and tons of eddies I could pick up to keep moving. I was paddling hard and scooting along, but never to the point where I burnt out. The river has lots of twists and runs through heavier forest, so it's scenic and fun.
Around mile marker 12/Lake Cook road, the river widens, and the current slows. This day, there was a major headwind, which really slowed me down. There are sections of the river that are wide open and have little coverage, so the wind can unimpededly blast you there. I was already starting to tire, and this wind really hurt. I had to paddle harder than the first 12, but to go slower than before. Factor in some soreness and I burnt out quickly.
The last 6 miles or so took a lot longer than the first 2/3rd. My strength waned, but eventually my arms went numb and I just pressed on with some divine support. I was thrilled to finish under 4 hours. The best paddlers and boats can do it in close to 2. It requires a thin cigarette style boat that can slide right through the water. The winners from my recreational kayak division made the run in about 3 hours.
I did grab video from the first 2 hours of the race. My gopro eventually ran out of battery, but this should be the first 10 miles or so. It formatted into 4 videos:
This weekend I got out and did a partially new portion of the river. I kayaked 35 miles down the eastern then main portions of the DuPage river. I started at Lion's Park, in winfield. Then ended at Hammel Woods in Plainfield/Shorewood area. We did 20 miles on day one, then 15 on day 2. We'd camp at an island Just before Hassert Road.
Early season river levels were up enough to push us along pretty fast. We scraped slightly in a few spots, but nothing bad. 35 is a lot for an early season overnight, but it was tolerable.
Just north of Downtown Naperville, there is a fishing area/dam. It has doors that you can technically paddle through, even though you really shouldn't. I was able to pass through with a little bit of water intake, so I'm sharing it below!
At the beginning of the year, I set a personal goal of 500 miles. Through longer trips and mishaps, I found myself at 468 miles going into the last weekend of October, so I pulled off 32 miles on the Kishwaukee and Rock rivers to get to 500 exact. It was my second attempt at this exact trip, after the labor day disaster.
This trip begins at Hickory's Bills Island. You cannot park there overnight, so we stash a car at the nearby VFW. It ends at the downtown Byron boat launch. You can leave a car there overnight. The trip is 32 miles, no portaging
The first 6 miles of the Kish are the toughest. Lots of turns and deadfall. Plenty of islands too, so sometimes you need to choose your route carefully. I spilled about 3 miles in when I pinned a log, broke free and didn't see the next log coming. Fortunately it was right bya shore so I could get the water out efficiently. The current is super strong for the initial stretch.
From there, it evens out. The current slows and there are less obstacles. We would camp by the lithuanian park, as there's a good shoreline and plenty of islands to choose from.
The next day, We'd go under the rt 39 highway bridge (probably the most scenic bridge pass in the area) at mile marker 15. The river splits at 20-22. I thought left was the safer route, but it was blocked this time. Right has all kinds of turns, but eventually merges back at mile marker 22. Then it's 10 on the rock to the end. You go under a bridge, and the rock's current almost sweeps you away. It's a bit intimidating, but once you settle up it's not too bad.
The rock river has a few cliff walls and is generally scenic. The fall colors were popping this time. The current was going too. We finished the second half of the trip in about 6 hours (18 miles).
And that's that. 500 miles for the year, GOAL REACHED
The leaves begin to change, fall is here. Montgomery to silver springs is a nice 20 mile paddle. 10 miles, portage in yorkville, then 10 more miles. Put in point is The Montgomery Dam (shortly thereafter). The Take out is Shuh Shuh canoe launch. The portage at yorkville is pretty easy, paved path around the whitewater course. You could go through the whitewater, but I've not chanced it. Yet.
The first half 10 miles is one of my favorite exercise routes. It's local and fun and scenic.
But the second half really has some spectacular sights. Wall to wall with trees, and only slight road noise, you get a wilderness feeling very quickly. There's only one road bridge the entire trip, right by silver springs state park. If I live closer, that would be my exercise route.
Today is my Birthday. I decided to celebrate by putting in 19 miles on the dupage river: from naperville, through Plainfield, down to Shorewood. 0 portages on this trip, and it's all fairly scenic.
The put in is Doothea Weigand Riverfront Park in Naperville. It's a minor walk through some much to get to the actual river, but it works.
The take out is the Dam at Hammel Woods. You drive in via the route 59 access portion of the park, and drive through to the last loop, then can walk to the dam. The take out is maybe a 5 minute walk away from that.
This trip: water was at normal levels. It took me about 5 hours of paddling hard to get to the end. Good day.
The Kayak Maniac