Skokie Lagoons (First time!)

Deb’s sister-in-law declared a goal to paddle the Skokie Lagoons which is north of Chicago. Our friends Jeanne and Katia live close by and the weekend we were driving through we decided to give it a try. Unfortunately, my sister-in-law could not join us but we are determined to help her achieve this achievable goal. Continue reading Skokie Lagoons (First time!)

Rock River at Harnischfeger was lousy with heron

It was a windy day but the Rock River is pretty protected due to high banks. We went to put in at Kaul park (sometimes say “fisherman launch” since usually at least one person is fishing there). Since the wind was ruffling the water, the water was low for the launch, and the put-in was sort of scummy, we decided to go north to Harnischfeger Park which we had not used in awhile. Continue reading Rock River at Harnischfeger was lousy with heron

Rock River – Ixonia

With water levels being quite high after all the rainfall this summer, we weren’t sure we could do our usual up-and-back trip on this segment of the Rock River. We hadn’t paddled here for several years, but we consulted past notes and decided to take a chance.  We put in at Wayside Park off Highway 16 at 2:30 on a sunny afternoon with temp in the low 80’s. It is a great oxbow park with restrooms and plenty of parking and a nice concrete ramp at the put-in. The last time we tried to launch here a couple of years ago, the water was too low and there were too many large exposed rocks which blocked our access to the water.
Continue reading Rock River – Ixonia

Wingra Creek on the Fourth of July

Wingra Creek is a pleasant urban paddle in Madison. We usually try it once a year. If the water is too high, it can be difficult to get through the first railroad bridge; the water is too strong and fast and there is always deadfall to contend with. Sometimes the water is too low and the boat hits the creek bottom which causes an abandoned trip. The waterway can also suffer from invasive plants and algae making the experience extremely unpleasant. This year we were hoping that it would be “just right.” To be sure of our hunch, we Continue reading Wingra Creek on the Fourth of July

Aztalan was not the plan

Instead of working on our weekend “to do” list, we decided to find a river. It was late in the day so headed for one of the closest favorite spots, the Bark River at Burnt Village in Fort Atkinson. To our dismay, it was totally green with algae and was no place for any kind of enjoyment. We headed for the Crawfish.

Something new since our last visit long ago Continue reading Aztalan was not the plan

Crawfish River from Aztalan after Bark River Abort

After finding the Bark River covered with duckweed, we decided we would try putting in on the Rock River in Jefferson and paddle the short distance upstream into the Crawfish River. However, there was a sign at the old landing on the Rock River in Jefferson that read “For Emergency Personnel Only.” Apparently the public now has to use a different landing 1/2 mile further downstream where big boats more likely to be present, and also we felt it would be too far to paddle upstream to get to the Crawfish. Therefore, we got back in the car and proceeded to Aztalan State Park. Temperature 80° light wind.

Flow Crawfish River at Milford gauge 05426000: 189 cfs. (median ~110 cfs) We later found we had made notes in the margin of Paddling Southern Wisconsin that we “should not do the Crawfish if the flow at Milford is <310 cfs," notes we had made after an Aztalan to Jefferson paddle several years ago. However, we didn't have the book with us, or we might have just called it a day. The trip: In at 4:45 PM, upstream one hour to I 94, out 6:30 PM. Shallow, near-grounding once, glanced off rocks near landing. Wildlife: kingfishers, herons, turtles, plover, swallows, cranes in flight, jumping fish.