Date: July 7, 2019; Length: 21.3 miles; Duration: 6 hours
This marked my first solo river trip with my Sea Eagle 330 inflatable kayak. So going into this Rock River outing, my main concern was over how my inflatable kayak would fair on a river when it came to unseen downed trees or rocks. But what I ended up overlooking instead were my specific put ins and takeouts and general river navigating. I got on the river a little before noon after some uncertainty of the exact put in location to Harnischfeger county park. My first mistake here was thinking Harnischfeger and Kaul parks were connected, based on how it looked on Google maps. I put in at signs for Kaul park, which I didn’t realize was about 4-5 miles down river of Harnischfeger. With the initial intention of paddling from Harnischfeger to Kanow park, about 10-11 miles, I arrived at Kanow park way earlier than made sense to me at the time (not factoring in the closer put in). Not thinking it actually was Kanow park my takeout, I continued paddling on passing a handful of bridges but no sign of my takeout, which I unknowingly already passed. As the time was passing I was becoming convinced that I must have passed it and what finally confirmed this hunch was a water tower labeled Watertown, the next town over. So realizing my takeout mistake (I realized my put in mistake later when looking at Google maps again), I took out at a small landing in Watertown just shortly before a dam. It was a much longer walk back with my heavy deflated kayak bag uncomfortably carried back to my place, where I then biked back up to my car to complete a triathlon of sorts for a river trip’s logistics, all while racing the setting sun.
As for the river itself, it was a good one to start with. A local to me river without serious hazards to maneuver, with calm waters to make for easy handling while paddling. It winded a decent amount, especially in the second half of this stretch, and often passed through undeveloped areas making for some solitude with opportunities to spot some wildlife in the often wooded banks of the river.