Canoe and Kayak Checklist
One of the many Chicago area traditions is paddling The Ralph Frese Water Trail year round. Even during those months where the air temp is 60 deg. or above, there are always some risks involved. This trip is not advised for new paddlers, or persons who have not paddled in this type of current. The combination of cold spring air and high fast water can make this reach dangerous if you should capsize. We ask you to carefully consider the following questions. If you are unable to answer yes to all of them, you should not paddle, because you are risking serious consequences, including drowning, and hypothermia.
1. I am wearing adequate clothing that will remain warm, even if it gets wet. (ie: enough layers (best to begin with a wet suit) of synthetic fleece, wool, or wicking layers to maintain body heat with a breathable outer water proof layer such as a drysuit, paddling jacket and pants, full rain suit, etc. and insulated boots, gloves and hat. Note that clothing made of cotton, including sweat clothes and flannel, are unacceptable and could kill you.)
2. I have a complete change of wool and/or synthetic clothing in a bag made of waterproof material that will not leak if wet. (i.e. professionally made dry bag or knotted heavy garbage bags.)
3. I have a properly fitted, US Coast Guard approved, life jacket and will wear it for the entire trip.
4. I have paddled at least five miles on a river with current, at least twice before.
5. In swiftly moving water I can steer
my craft away from brush, low-hanging branches, bridge pilings, and
floating logs. I am able to recognize other hazards and avoid
6. In the event of my boat flipping over, I understand that I may have to swim until I am rescued, or reach shore without assistance, while immersed in cold water.
7. I will forgo the recreational use of drugs and alcoholic beverages before and
during the event.
A TREMENDOUS TOOL !
As of now, you can go to the site and download the full "Rock River Water Trail Plan" booklet which contains complete maps, an inventory of access sites along the river with complete information about what ammenities they provide, plus there are GPS Coordinates for each site,and a narrative description of each of the segments.
At the present time, in order to obtain the information concerning the eleven water trail sections in the plan, you must download the complete plan, but shortly you will be able to obtain the individual segments (Samples seen on the left.).
Having this information will allow planning, campsites, lunch stops, etc. using exact mileage, complete information as to what amenities are availble, and what the section is like to paddle.