|A gentler portion of the river towards the Illinois River|
The Vermillion River is one of Illinois more wild rivers. Although the Mississippi, Illinois, Fox and Des Plains Rivers are much more well known, the Vermillion retains most of its rugged character. Hence, its a favorite for river rafting. One might think that a flat state like Illinois is hardly a destination for rafting. However, this delightful river offers just the right balance of rapids to pleasant floating. It was a great way to spend a simmering summer Saturday. We were able to easily rent a boat from Vermillion River Rafting.
Here's the map of our paddle-
As you can see, the river is full of twists and curves. I could brake it down into about three sections. The first third is mostly moving water without significant rapids. Its cliffy and magnificent. The second third continues with sharp cliffs that make the river seem like a deep Southwestern-like canyon. Here's where most of the rapids are, including Wildcat Falls. Wildcat can actually swell to a surprisingly good Class III rapids in the spring and after heavy rains. Even in a dry summer, it can be an adventurous and tricky section to navigate. None the less, it adds a thrilling challenge to the trip. The second two rapids are also thrilling but not quite as technical. The final third is a relaxed float which is best taken as slowly as your day allows.
The weather looked a little menacing at first but the day
|Cliffs dominate the scenery in the first half of the paddle|
|An interesting overhang and a blind corner|
|Almost looks Southwestern to me|
|Our bow-woman on alert for danger|
|Magnificent scenery though the first half|
|Looking back on Wildcat Falls which ultimately soaked our boat!|
|One of the many swimming holes we enjoyed|
|The final float down|
The dam and the concrete factory were the only visages of civilization we had on the whole trip. There were a few presumably abandoned railroad bridges but that added to the allure of the trip. After getting through the three main rapids, we enjoyed a pleasant float all the way back to the landing.
I imagine this will be a trip we do many times. Perhaps we'll rent funyaks next time?
Read. Plan. Get Out There!