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Vermillion River

PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 6:42 pm
by ChadH
While browsing this site last Friday I visited the Classified section and noticed a kayak for sale down in Bloomington, IL... just an hours South of me. As luck would have it, I was able to purchase it on Saturday. It's a Dagger Baja 15'6"... an older out of production boat but hey it still floats and the price was right. On Sunday, again using this site for reference, I located some put-in options close by. The Vermillion was an easy choice, as the Oglesby Takeout (well my put-in) is only a few miles away.
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The put-in is probably a 100+ ft walk down a gentle grade to get under the bridge. This area gets crowded as the Vermillion River Rafting outfit uses this take out... so everyone parks along this road. My goal was to paddle upstream a ways to get a feel for my boat. I would NOT recommend this. There are several rapids along this section and for the life of me I couldn't paddle through. I thought with the level being low and river running slower I might have some luck...but nope.
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On a few rapids I could get about 5-10 feet from making it through and then there was an invisible wall that couldn't be passed. Paddling as quick and hard as I could, I just could not move forward. With the shallow water, I was able to exit and pull the boat through these obstacles.
I made it up river far enough to get to the dam but then I decided it was time to head back. Although there was the occasional raft going by I was mostly alone so I decided against running the dam. No point in drowning on the first day! I did get my boat most of the way through but after nearly losing my paddle and standing in the fast current I decided I wasn't thinking very smart and pulled my boat out of the water to the rocks. After carrying my boat over the rocks halfway back to the down stream side a group of whitewater kayakers passed through. I took a few pictures and then paddled back downstream to the takeout.

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My kayak as I explored my first rapids section - Large Creek area...

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The Narrows

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the Dam

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Kayaker, the Dam

I would like to paddle this river before it dries up for the summer. A canoer was kind enough to give me the phone number of someone who will shuttle your boat to the put in at Canoe The Vermillion located in Streater... it's about 15 miles to the Oglesby takeout. It's probably the Canoe the Vermillion outfit that I got the number for, but I'll have to figure out where I put the number in order to check.

Until next time...


Re: Vermillion River

PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 8:45 pm
by rich
Chad, congrats on the new boat!!! Those Vermilion pics are awesome, thanks for sharing them -some really beautiful scenery around there. Definitely looking forward to my first trip down there.

We should try and schedule a trip sometime in mid-July. Seems the water level the day of your trip was pretty good for a first time trip on the Vermilion (somewhere around 225 cfs on the Pontiac, IL sensor ).


Vermilion River near Utica, Illinois

PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 8:28 pm
by rich
Here is another trip report on the Vermilion from Mark (from Float Your Boat). His trip ended with an amazing rescue of some rafters that were caught up in a dam and going hypothermic. This was also his first time on the Vermilion as part of the CWA (Chicago Whitewater Association) beginners trip. He's got some nice photos of the whitewater sections.

Re: Vermillion River

PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 9:04 pm
by ChadH
Mark was on the trip this past weeknd on the fox. He never brought up that incident when we were talking about the vermillion. Thanks for posting the link. I was going to try and schedule something this weekend but I've heard the water level is getting questionable for the last part of the trip. Also there is another put-in I want to scout out.
Maybe we'll get some more rain soon.