After 2 years of planning, scouting & dreaming; my work schedule and the weather cooperated in allowing me the pleasure of paddling one the most pristine creeks in N.Illinois with some good friends. We only went six miles, but it was a joy. We knew we were going to get wet; although there were no dumps; the obstacles & portages keep us wet. Thankfully the weather was great and no one got hypothermia, we all ended up taking off layers. The creek showed us a tamer side of itself at this height & flow, as we did not scrap or drag. It allowed us time to enjoy the get scenery and enjoy the paddle without having to constantly be on our guard of being swept into the strainers or over the dams. We encountered many hawks, two deer and the GBH. The water level and flow were just right for folks who hadn’t been on the creek before or for those that it had been awhile (10 years) since they last visited. With some hard work & elbow grease on some of the strainers, the trip would be allot more enjoyable, even if you can only run it once or twice a year. Thanks Tom for assisting in the reverse car shift. We look forward to enjoying the creek again.
-- And some other Notes --
Well ... you did miss it. The trip was GREAT, trip report on the PSC website. I found out a lot about the creek. For instance, I thought the creek averaged 15 ft. down to Klatt Park, well its is probably around 20 - 25 ft., amongst other things. It's a BEAUTIFUL creek, very unspoiled by humans, very little trash - what there was were large items; ie metal tank, car door, etc. But those were few. I did get the location of the dams, and got to see what was in store for future trips. I found that the large creek wide trees that had fallen could probably be trimmed up a bit to allow safe passage, but it will take blood, sweat & tears (maybe not so much blood or tears; but a lot of sweat). We only went from Galena Rd. to Hale St.; about six miles; but it took about 4 hours. The creek was moving pretty good; not at all like the weekend before; but moving to the point of making it an enjoyable & challenging paddle. More height would have been good in getting through a couple of areas, but the large trees would have taken an extra 2 ft. to clear, but then it would have been way to fast to be safe. So I'm afraid; short of chain saw work; that we'll just have to live with some downed trees and let nature do our clearing of those. We did find some exhilarating drops and some great riffles; not whitewater; but fun none the less. I would love to do it again and go to the Fox River next time. I also saw where we could do some boat clearing/trimming that would help. It was rewarding to find that all the work that myself, my wife & son did this past summer upstream of Klatt Park was worth the sweat equity. We sailed right through those previous strainers; I also found a few more spots in that area that still require work. If the weather holds up this fall, I may yet get back in there. Maybe, also, if the weather holds up we could get in another trip before it gets too cold, because you do get wet from the portages. I took my canoe, it worked great on this size creek. I did take some pictures, I'll get post some soon.
If anyone is interested in doing some canoe clearing work, please reply to this post.
For other trips please go to the Prairie State Canoeists Web Site, located at: