This trip started with chilly temperatures – below 40 degrees as we unloaded boats at the St. Charles Rd. bridge over the West Branch. Still, we ended up ten bundled-up paddlers, 4 in kayaks and 6 solo canoes, skimming along the river’s narrow upper reaches through Timber Ridge Forest Preserve. (West Chicago gauge was somewhat low, 65 cfs at 4.3 feet, though still well above the median). We warmed up with the weather, and most agreed it was downright pleasant when we stopped for lunch at Lions Park in Winfield. Chef Steve LaPorte created another “soup du jour magnifique”! A fine day with good paddling friends.
Put in directions: Take IL Rte. 64 North Avenue to the traffic signal at Prince Crossing Road – it’s a mile east of IL Rte. 59 or 8 miles west of I-355 or IL Rte 53. Turn north on Prince Crossing and travel one short block to St. Charles Rd.; head east to the bridge over the river. You can unload and launch on either side, upstream or downstream – all are equally muddy!
Directions to Takeout: A mile west to Rte 59, and then 5 miles south to Mack Rd. Left (east) across the river to the Dog Park and Canoe Landing.
Water level (gauge/reading): West Chicago Gauge: 65 cfs at 4.3 feet
Weather Conditions: Low, but good enough.
Thanks for car shift assistance of John Anderson and Scott Seifrid.