What better way is there to spend the last weekend of summer than in a canoe? While I enjoy kayaking, I have never been on a canoe trip (at least since I’ve been old enough to have to row). So, to end the summer season I headed south to Evansville to spend a day exploring a channel of the Ohio River with the company Canoe Evansville.
Canoe Evansville offers naturalist-guided tours for individuals and groups of all ages. Rates are $20 per person, or $15 if you’re a member of the Wesselman Nature Society. The trips usually last about four hours, so it’s well worth the money.
Important: In order to join the excursion you must register by the Thursday BEFORE the trip, and fill out a waiver to bring with you!
I signed up for the Pigeon Creek Paddle. It was a 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. excursion. I, along with all my other group members for the day loaded up in the nature society’s bus and drove to the starting point. Once we arrived we unloaded the canoes and the guides helped us board and push off into the water. We were setting off on a 5 mile paddle down the creek.
There are two guides who lead the paddle, and two who bring up the rear. So there is no way you can get lost or get left behind. As well, it’s a trip that is accessible to people of all ages. Our group had children, families, young couples and older couples.
For the most part the river is very calm, and you’re rowing downstream so it’s a leisurely pace and enjoyable trip. Because we set off early in the day it wasn’t too hot, despite being 90 degrees this weekend! And the river is covered with trees that offer a lot of shade.
We didn’t see much wildlife aside from a few birds. However, just taking a few hours to get away and enjoy nature was such a great way to spend the day. Normally this ride would be smooth and easily navigable. However, the day we went the river had had dropped a few feet making for a tricky ride.
Having to maneuver the canoe around logs resting in the water was a learning experience, but one that the group managed well and in good spirits. At one point, there was so much debris we couldn’t navigate around so we had to dock our boats on the muddy bank and slip and slide our way over it. While I hadn’t anticipated sinking into mud and lugging my canoe around, the way everyone in the group helped each other was great to see.
Tip: It is required that you wear closed-toed shoes. I will also advise you to wear shoes you don’t mind ruining. I ended up throwing my sneakers away because they were caked with mud! Luckily they were a clearance item from last spring.
Maybe I lucked out, but the other members of the journey were in good spirits, kind and eager to help one another. Whether it was laughing when our canoes bumped or calling out to watch for rough patches in the water, it was a team effort to navigate those five miles.
If you’d like to check out Wesselman’s trip schedule click here. The trips are winding down for 2017 but will back and running again next summer!
Their others trips include a moonlight paddle, exploring Bluegrass Fish & Wildlife Area, Hovey Lake and Lynnville Lake.