Sunday, October 5, 2008

#35 Virgin waters and Happy Halloween!!!

It was about 2 years ago when Dan and Kent took a trip on the West branch and they ran out of river (see pictures and story "July 8, 2007 Hot, sunny and non existent" 2007 ".

Ensured the river was again flowing they ventured out to Winfield and used the canoe launch on Beecher St. (previously only used once prior by Dan and Pat way before the streak started and using a borrowed canoe). Total distance from Beecher st. to Mach road is 4.33 miles. Although the water was not real high or fast,we could see the improvements that were made to create a more interesting paddling experience. We are looking forward to making this run with some better water to battle the rapids.

Kent and Dan made a few additional trips in October, all looking for the elusive fall color extravaganza. Mr. Killjoy Perry, would have nothing of it. "The trees along a river are typically not hardwoods and therefore will not produce the colors that you so long to see". Although this may provide an explanation as to why we are always disappointed by the lack of an autumnal splash of color, we will continue to search for a stretch of river that provides the sensory satisfaction that we so desire.

Now for the pictures....the weekend before Halloween Kent and I did the downtown Naperville route. Inspired by the Santa float from a year ago, Dan donned a scary mask. This got multiple interesting comments and reaction, often responded to by Kent with "That's what happens when plastic surgery goes bad".

Editors note: The no mention of Pat has more to do with his lack of participation than any sort of a snub. As in a previous entry, Pat claims to have completed an unvalidated lake paddle during October to keep his string alive. The title of Duper Boy is one not given out easily and is earned by paddling on the DuPage river. The board of directors may need to hold a special meeting to review the case.

Pray for rain.....NO more rain!!! (month 34)

Consecutive month 34 saw the August drought continue and the rivers were at an almost impassible level. Would our streak be in danger? Of course not but we need some drama every once in awhile. In the 1st week of September we finally got a nice rain mid week which kept the river high enough to warrant a trip down to Shorewood (picture 1) with Dan, Pat and Kent. Pat got to experience the "tasty waves" for the first time that makes the trip worthwhile.

All that praying for rain backfired the next weekend as the Chicago area got trenched with double digit rain totals over the weekend of the 14th. The "normal" level of the Naperville gauge is around 5 feet and the river swelled to over 12 feet!! Kent and an unnamed partner (I hope you used protection) took a trip down the east branch with the river at a dangerously high level. Dan and Mark, taking on the role of civil servants, paddled through the flooded Community park (picture 2) to rescue a pitching machine that was in danger of being ruined by the flood. As the waters finally got down to a manageable level over the next weekend, Dan and Pat did the Centennial beach to 95th street run, completing it in just over an hour (picture 3, big tree in Naperville). The next day, Paul (a Duper virgin) and Cole took one tandem (picture 5), Dan and Perry took the other tandem and Kent went solo (just like Fridays when Tracy is at work!!). This trip was the same as the day before except we went the additional distance down to Knoch Knolls park where we enjoyed smoked salmon prepared by Dan (picture 4, caught the previous Monday).