Saturday, March 5, 2011

Whitewater and sea kayaking in Yorkville

Panoramic shot of the whitewater park and the new Geneva Kayak Outdoor Center.
Most of the time, we drive east to paddle on Lake Michigan. But yesterday, we went west to Yorkville, Ill. to check out Geneva Kayak Center's new Yorkville Outdoor Center on the also-new Glen D. Palmer Whitewater Canoe/Kayak Chute.

It's a nice location: the whitewater course is right outside the door of the outdoor center, and a concrete walkway allows paddlers to easily carry their boats from the bottom of the run back up to the top. The landscaping isn't yet done, and Geneva Kayak is still putting finishing touches on the shop, but both are ready enough for action.

Sharon and Bill Burton putting in at the top of the chute. Mounds of debris and cement blocks testify to the recent completion of the chute and the work yet to come on the landscaping.

The river was high and the current was fast -- about 3,000 cubic feet per second (CFS) -- so we felt comfortable running it once in a fiberglass boat. From there, we headed down the Fox River.
One of the appeals of Geneva's Yorkville Location is the easy access to a lovely section of the Fox. You can paddle various distances to a number of easy take-outs.

At one point, we heard rapids and saw a horizon line ahead of us--the tell-tale signs of what could be a low-head dam. We knew that there was a broken-out dam at this point on the river and that it was runnable, but we decided to get out and scout anyway.

Getting out to scout ahead.
It turned out to be a broken-out dam of no significance, which we happily paddled through.

All that sound didn't signify much.
With air temperatures in the lower 50s, water in the upper 30s and a 90 percent chance of rain, we knew it was going to be an interesting weather day. And it was. At various times, we enjoyed rain...

and fog...

and even encountered a few small ice bergs floating along. But mostly, we enjoyed a very quiet trip down a pretty section of the fox.

When we returned to Geneva Kayak Center, it was getting cooler and starting to rain more heavily, but we hopped in our whitewater boats and spent some time playing in the features.

The view at 3,000 CFS
There were plenty of nice surf waves along with wave trains and squirrelly eddy lines. A serious play boater might find the offerings limited, but we appreciated the opportunity to paddle hard and tune up our rusty whitewater skills in our newer shorter boats.

We drove home in the dark and the rain, reflecting on how wonderful kayaking outdoors makes us feel. We appreciate the connection with the natural world and the physical pleasure of paddling our boats, and we always go home happy.

1 comment:

Los Humungos Paddleos said...

Welcome to Yorkville. I like the blog entry. Isn't the Fox River cool here? The WW chute will be very nice when the park is all done too. We hope you enjoyed yourself here and come back again soon.
Wally Werderich