Licenses and Titles and Stickers, Oh My.
Licenses and Titles and Stickers, Oh My.
Several adventurers are currently on paddle boarding expeditions covering hundreds of miles. One of these adventurers is Chicagoan, Scott Mestrezat. Scott is paddling down the Missouri River on his stand up paddle board and is raising funds to provide inner city children wilderness experiences through the Big City Mountaineers program. The 2,341 mile trip started the first week of June and will finish up sometime in September. Follow his journey by following Scott’s Facebook page or follow Scotts blog Missouri River SUP.
Check out these brave adventurers and then vote for Scott in the SUP The Magazines Vote for Top Expedition – 2013 SUP Awards, to help him raise funds for the Big City Mountaineers.
If you want to explore other areas to paddle check out the Standup Paddleboard Magazine. Their award winning photo’s make you want to pack up your inflatable SUP and drive around the country to find these waters and amazing scenery.
Where do you want to SUP?
Twelve paddle boarders took a trip down the Fox River on a beautiful Sunday morning. Two kayakers tagged along as well. The 7 mile paddle started off at Buffalo Park in Algonquin IL where all the boards were dropped off and a few stayed to watch over them while the rest drove their cars to Voyagers Landing in Elgin. Everyone then piled back into two cars back up to Algonquin. The shuttle back and forth took about 20 minutes as it was a Sunday morning with no traffic. The trip down stream started at 7:30am and we arrived in Elgin about 11:00am.
It was peaceful and quiet. We saw cranes, an eagle, ducks with their ducklings and fish. Some had fish that jumped out of the water and onto their boards. And the lily pads were in bloom. There was a portage at the Carpentersville Dam on the west side of the river. The area we pulled out of was narrow and mucky, however the area to put back in was wide open. Shortly after the dam was the old bridge by Otto Engineering. The taller guys could touch the bottom of the bridge which had about a 7 foot clearance. Not one person fell in the entire trip. A good time was had by all. Would you like to join us on our next excursion?
It rained so much in the Chicago area June 28, 2013 that the retention area behind our shop filled up deep enough for Sean and Rick to go paddleboarding. The retention area is about 5 acres and normally has no water. But when 3-4 inches of rain came down, it filled the rention pond with as much as 4 feet in some areas. The most water we ever saw in the rention area. So we had to go.
Rick said it was like going paddleboarding in the Bayou or Everglades. “We were going between trees, over bushes and evergreens. Felt like we were in a jungle at times. It was pretty amazing to go somewhere that didn’t exist the day before.”
Paddle boards can be used for getting around in depths of water as low as 12 inches or less if you take the fin off.
The Fox River from Algonquin to Elgin is lined by parks and forest preserves. At some points you can’t believe you are in the Chicago suburbs it is so peaceful. South of the Algonquin dam to the I90 bridge, these are the parks to gain access to the water.
Starting out just south of the Algonquin dam on the west side of the river is the Village of Algonquin’s Cornish Park and further south Buffalo Park a Kane Country Forest Preserve park. Last summer we paddled from Buffalo Park to the Fox River Shores Forest Preserve.
From Buffalo Park to the Fox River Shores you pass the Brunner Family Forest Preserve which just received a grant for improvements that includes “600 feet of shoreline enhancements” which hopefully includes a launch area. You will see cranes and other wildlife along this stretch of the river. During last summers drought (2012) there were a few areas that were so shallow that the fin on my board hit the bottom of the riverbed. I had to walk off the board and move the board to a deeper spot. This is a very good reason to wear water shoes when paddle boarding. If you make a stop off or end your trip at the Fox River Shores Forest Preserve on the east side of the river, you will have a great place to take a break. This park has a rest room, shelter, picnic tables and ample parking.
After the Fox River Shores you will approch the Carpentersville Dam. There is a park on the west side of the river with ample parking and a launch area. I would not recommend portaging on the west side of the dam. Too much junk in the inlet there. (I will update this post after checking out the area on the east side of the dam.) It may be best to start off at this point than try to portage around this dam.
On the east side in Carpentersville is the Otto Engineering park. This is a privately owned park which allows public use. There is plenty of parking here and a launch area. One may have to kneel on their board to get under the Otto bridge, especially very tall people and when the water levels are high.
In West Dundee on the west banks of the river is South End Park. Here is another nice park for a break where you have a canoe/SUP launch, picnic area, gazebo, restrooms and parking. The next stopoff would be Voyagers Landing. When going down the river you have to arrange dropping off your gear at the upstream park, leaving someone to watch over it, then have others drive to the downstream park to leave your vehicles there and carpool everyone back to the upstream location to start paddling. Or you could ask a non paddler drive to the downsteam location for the pickup. If you don’t want to go through this hassle, when you go paddling on the river you first paddle upstream, because you will be so exhausted paddling upstream you will need to take the easy way down with the current to get back to your vehicle.
Rick and I have paddled upstream a few times and it takes 3-4 times as long to paddle upstream than the same distance downstream. The current around the bridges is very swift and is very difficult to impossible to get through going upstream. That’s the time to turn around for me. So if you are interested in paddling down the Fox River with a group, check out our Meet Up page for upcoming journeys.
Here are the addresses for the parks mentioned above:
Cornish Park, 101 South Harrison Street, Algonquin IL
Buffalo Park, 1 Alan Drive (east side of Route 31/Main St), Algonquin IL
Brunner Family Forest Preserve, NOT OPEN YET
Fox River Shores Forest Preserve Carpentersville at 701 N. Williams Rd
Carpentersville Dam Park, North Lincoln Ave, Carpentersville, IL
Otto Engineering, 2 E Main St, Carpentersville, IL
South End Park, S. First St., West Dundee IL
Voyagers Landing, 50 Airport Rd, Elgin, IL
The annual Paddle in the Park at the Hollows Conservation Area put on by the McHenry County Conservation District was again a great success. Paddle boarding clinics were given by Alpine Accessories staff every half hour and participants were able to try out the boards. If you would like to take a full hour lesson call Alpine Accessories at 847-854-4754 for a reservation. Lessons will be given at the Three Oaks Recreation Area seven days a week starting Memorial Day weekend.
The annual Paddle in the Park, a McHenry County Conservation District event, will be on Saturday, May 18th this year. Alpine Accessories will be at The Hollows Conservation Area from 10:00 am to 2:00 p.m. at this event with Stand Up Paddleboards as we did last year. Dry land demonstrations will be given prior to the testing of the paddle boards. MCCD will collect a $5.00 per person fee which includes all activities at the event. The Hollows is at 3804 U.S. Hwy.14 in Cary IL.
The new shipments of BIC Sport and Boardworks stand up paddleboards have arrived at Alpine Accessories. Now that we have a larger selection than last year new racks had to be made to display the paddleboards. Our staff Bill, Sean and Ashley all had a hand in developing, assembling and painting the new racks.
If you live in the Chicago suburbs this is the Stand Up Paddle board race for you. The BIC One Design Challenge puts challengers against each other using identical equipment to match the boarder’s ability and endurance on a 1 mile buoyed course in an elimination round. No need to bring any equipment. Your entry fee includes use of a BIC 12′ 6″ Wing SUP, board leash, composite paddle, vest and Lycra jersey.
The events will be held at the Three Oaks Recreation Area North Beach in Crystal Lake IL on the second Saturday of June, July, August and September. You can sign up for one event for $30 or all four for $100. Sign in at the pavillion at the North Beach 15 minutes prior to the race.
At the end of each Challenge you will receive a souvenir bib, possible medal, be entered in a drawing to win a BIC 12′ 6″ Wing SUP, and receive a free SUP clinic on the different types of boards and then be able to demo the boards.
The BIC One Design Challenge and Demo is great training before you decide to enter into a World Paddle Association santioned event where you would compete against hundreds of participants.
Are you planning a warm beach vacation for Spring Break? Many vacation spots now rent Stand Up Paddleboards. Paddleboarding is easier the first time out if you have the basics. To help you enjoy your first paddleboarding experience more, Alpine Accessories is offering Free in store dry land paddleboard lessons on Monday March 18th at 6:30 pm and Thursday March 21st at 6:30 pm. Space is limited so please call 847-854-4754 to reserve your spot.