Monday, May 30, 2011
Paddle Till The Current Says "No"
After the storms passed Sunday afternoon, I hit the Fox River. I dropped in North of the Dundee dam and paddled upstream towards the Algonquin dam. There is a park north of West Dundee called Fox River Shores that has great parking and an easy put in area.
This was my first time paddling this section of the Fox. My original plan was to launch North and float downstream first. Boy, was I glad that I went the other way. At the first turn, the river narrowed and the current picked up pretty quick. I almost stopped there...until I saw the first memory of the trip. There was a tree full of Turkey Vultures. There were about 5 of them in a tree and they took turns diving into the tall grass at the shore. I assume they had a tasty treat laying in there.
After the first turn and a heavy paddle session, I came across a doe hanging out by the shoreline. She was just as interested in me as I was in her.
The current was very strong for this trip and it took me about 2 hours to go 2 miles. Luckily, the river was high and there were some flooded sections I could duck into for a break. These little hideouts offered a nice break from the current and were very interesting in themselves. One had a waterfall, one had a heavy canopy, and another had an old car that had been forgotten for decades.
The scenery on this section of the Fox is fantastic. I think this may be the only area that has a hill that could maybe be considered a "Illinois Mountain". Sure, it isn't a Rocky or a Himalaya, but it is bigger than the sled hill in the neighborhood, so I think it gain's Mountain status.
The last little hideout gave me a chance for a self portrait. At this point, I also got a call from the wife allowing me to gain an extra hour of paddling before I had to head back. I thought this was GREAT because I was very close to reaching the Algonquin dam and that extra hour gave me enough time to give it a good try. The river had other plans for me. I drifted back out into the current and started paddling north again. I paddled a little harder. Then a little harder. Then I gave it all that I had. I was still at the mouth of the little cove that I had just left. The current told me "no" so it was time to crack a beer and spin the canoe around. On the way back, I saw another deer and a snapping turtle that could have cracked the canoe in half if he wanted to. It was a great trip and I can't wait to challenge the current again!