Changing weather, redwing black birds (hard to see) - canoe on Fox River

Fox River up and back – Endeavor 2023

Last time we paddled the Fox River from the Endeavor boat landing was 2017. Happy to see that the boat access still exists six years later. We paddled south (upstream) and back – no shuttle.

The Launch

The water was low, about 440cfs at Princeton gauge. In contrast, our August 5, 2017 paddle from Endeavor was 1080 cfs. By ours and other’s reports, the Fox River in this area is never too low to paddle.

We had some light rain that delayed us just a few minutes – not enough to deter the plan. The ramp had a bit of weeds/scum but not too bad. There are still no facilities. No other boats at the launch. It always feels like we are in someone’s backyard since it feels like a driveway.

The Paddle

Still had a bit of drizzle after we launched. There was wild rice and beautiful grasses along the way. Midway we saw a swarm of redwing blackbirds which is unusual – there were hundreds of them. Just so happens that that was about where we started seeing “National Wildlife Refuge” signs.

The water was calm and provided beautiful reflections. It was really beautiful for us quiet-water paddlers. There were shallow areas, but we “read the river” and never grounded.

We finally got to where the shore was tree-lined and regretted that it was time to turn around. There was a beautiful reflection of a white tree which, in spite of our strict time constraint, we paddled toward. A nice surprise – the tree was by an old boathouse. It is still there! In the past we have seen it through water so high that half the door was submerged. Seeing the “point of interest” made it easier for us to turn around as we had made it to a remembered landmark.

We had to get home not one second after 8pm so we paddled without stopping back to the boat launch. Got a lot of exercise which was nice. Then we drove back to Madison via the interstate, which we don’t like to do with the boat on the car. It all worked out but a bit adrenaline inducing.

Wildlife: sandhill cranes, heron, frog, fish jumping, dragonflies, redwing blackbirds

The Photos

3:20 drove from Gary St (51 > 22 > O > T > N Island Dr)
4:35 arrived Endeavor landing, unloaded
4:50 launched
6:20 turned around at boathouse
6:55 take out, pack up
7:15 drive via interstate
8:00 home