Happy Canoe Year paddle


Unrepentant Canoeist
The North Branch of the Chicago River, aka The Ralph C. Frese Canoe Trail, is the site of an annual event that draws paddlers out of the woodwork on New Year's Day. The weather forecast looks good... two days of snow-melting temps with rain to put some water in the river, then a high temp of 28 F (-2 C) and scattered snow flurries on Jan 1st. The put-in is at Willow Road; the paddle itself is about 6 miles, to Linne Woods. The Forest Preserve District of Cook County is the host of this event, and they provide a free shuttle bus service, port-a-potties at both ends of the trip, and hot cider and donuts at the takeout. The shuttle service starts around 8:30, with the first boats expected to launch at 9 or so; shuttle service ends at 11AM or so. Join us!

There are two dams that require portages. Both portages are short, but one take-out and both put-ins are a bit challenging. More than a few folks dump their boats every year, and have to be taken out, but safety boat service, with boat schlepping help, is there as well. In fact, if you'd like to help with safety boat work, let me know!
Thanks to everyone - especially the safety crew and Cook County Forest Preserve - for enabling a fun and dry 6 mile paddle this morning on the Ralph Frese canoe trail.

Everyone had a great time - aside from the couple who took a dip right at the beginning. In the spirit of the Willits Bros' reputation for building hearty canoes, I gave Melissa her belated 10 yr. anniversary present yesterday... so that we could take our maiden voyage this morning among the ice and (not so much) snow.

A couple photos, and a link to the set:


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Was a great day on the river... cold & very windy at the ends, but being on the river, you're out of the wind chill...

Was good to meet you & yours, and congrats on the ten year bash! And great job on the boat, too -- it raised more than a few eyebrows!