On June 30, my son Jon and I drove from our home in Sycamore to St. Charles, where I locked my bike up next to “Wind Emotions,” by Lyman Whitaker, kinetic sculptures on three poles that move in synchrony with the wind. Nearby are stairs going to a concrete landing, our take-out point just before the dam. We then drove to our South Elgin put-in, just past a dam and bridge. Our trip got off to a nerve-wracking start. Red-winged blackbirds dive-bombed our heads as we unloaded the kayaks and gear. A sign nearby warns about “aggressive birds.” Soon after we got on the water, we saw the Fox River Trolley Museum on the west bank and the many cars they have on display. The museum offers a brief ride that goes along the river to a nearby forest preserve and back.
Even though we were in the heart of suburbia, the sounds of civilization reduced to a background hum as bird song and paddle swish prevailed. A couple of miles downstream, we passed under a pedestrian bridge. I would cross this bridge later on the shuttle ride back to the car. Clouds returned and it rained for all of five minutes. A water tower for St. Charles hove in view. Then we saw two paddlewheel riverboats and the ornate wooden Pottawatomie Park pavilion on the east bank. Minutes later, we made it to our take-out point. The 7.5-mile journey took a little over two hours.
A word from the contributor: Thanks so much for helping facilitate this fun outing. We really enjoyed the kayaks. They are so much more maneuverable than our 17 foot Coleman canoe. I don't know if I'll ever want to use it again. I rented two kayaks (a single and a double) from the Adventure Center at NIU on June 29, 2021, with a return date of July 6. I used the book Paddling Illinois by Mike Svob to plan our trips on two rivers, the Fox and the Spoon.