Wednesday, April 25, 2012
First Paddle on Des Plaines River
For what ever reason, I never realized that I was so close to the Des Plaines River. It was one of those things in my head.... "if I am ever over that way, I should check it out". Well, I don't know what I was thinking, there is access to the river about a half hour from work. So, I headed east and met up with the Des Plaines in Libertyville at the Oak Spring Rd Canoe Launch.
This is also the park that the Canoe Marathon kicks off at. I am very excited to be a part of that this year. It looks like it is going to be a great time and a nice long trip down the river.
I dropped in at Oak Creek and headed north. The river has a nice current to it. I think it would have scared me off last season, but it really wasn't anything overwhelming for me now. If you stopped paddling, you stopped. There was no coasting. It wasn't enough to spin me around and push the canoe back, but you knew when you stopped paddling....
Right off the bat on this trip, I saw a first for me. I had never seen a hive when out on the water. There was a nice size one hanging off a limb right over the river here. It was an old one, but it was still a unnerving looking straight up at it.
This section of the river was mostly forest preserve and neighborhood. It was really quiet out there. There was a couple spots that you could really hear the water trickling past a fallen limb and birds up in the trees. It really took you away from the hustle a bustle that was just blocks away.
A cool thing about paddling in a neighborhood section is that you get to see how some people live. Now, it is always different looking at one tiny part of someones property and dreaming how they live their life, but whatever.... that's how I do it. Plus, it isn't me dreaming how they live their lives.... it's me dreaming how I would live mine if I had their stuff. This bonfire setup was one of those moments. I could see myself sipping some beer and watching the water flow by in the firelight. Someday.... someday..
In this area, I was in Minear Park. Right along the bend in here is a log cabin structure. It was really cool all tucked in the woods on the river. I tried finding info about it online, but didn't see anything. I don't know if it is an old structure or something that was more recently built. Either way, it was cool to stumble across.
And around the next, my up river tour ended. I was met with a clog in the system. There had been a bunch of limbs and debris that had backed up against some large trees. It made a natural dam that was passable, but just not by me that day. I made it into the dam, but wasn't so ambitious to fight my way over it.
Instead, I chose to begin my floating portion of the trip. I spun the canoe around and headed back to the launch. I really got a feel for how good the current was at this point. It swept me down river pretty quick.
This was a great section of the river to hit. I am very excited to spend more time on it this season. I will be attending the Canoe Marathon and that will really give me a good tour of the Des Plaines River....well 18 miles of it at least.