The Rock is a beautiful forest and sandstone bluff-lined stretch of riverway, is home to heron, otters and bald eagles and to top it all off, is only a short drive from Chicagoland. What’s not to like? Come learn (or review) the basics of proper kayaking technique and explore this close to home paddling gem on this unforgettable weekend getaway!
We will be setting up camp Friday evening.
All day Saturday and most of Sunday will be spent learning and refining your kayaking skills. We generally paddle one section of the river on Saturday and a different section on Sunday. Saturday morning we will be doing some instruction in paddling and rescue techniques.
It is essential that you know how to swim to participate in this trip.
**This itinerary is subject to change.
- 2 t-shirts (non-cotton preferable for kayaking- quick drying)
- 1 shirt, long sleeved, synthetic preferred. Cotton when wet stays wet and makes you colder
- 1 towel 2 pairs of shorts (at least one quick drying, non-cotton)
- 1 pair fast drying long pants - no blue jeans
- Sun/rain hat
- 1 pr. synthetic long underwear (medium weight); especially for early summer and fall trips
- 2 pairs shoes/sandals - light weight sneakers work fine, one pair to get wet. Tevas or other sport sandals, booties etc. are handy for paddling
- 2 pair socks
- Bathing suit
- 1 light or mid-weight fleece jacket
- Windbreaker jacket
- Rain gear (jacket and pants) (Paddling jacket works well as top)
- Bandana (optional)
- Clean change of clothing for the trip home (optional)
- Toiletry kit (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and shampoo, sunscreen, face cream, nail clippers, personal medication etc.)
- Bug repellent
- Sleeping bag (compact, 3-season) and pad
- Flashlight, batteries & extra bulb- headlamps are preferred
- Large plastic cup with handle (commuter mug)
- Pocket knife
- Water bottle
- Chums/Croakies® to keep glasses on your head are imperative
- Energy bars/reserve food
- Fishing rod (collapsible, with container and license) and tackle
- Camera, film, waterproof container
- Entertainment (harmonica, cards, games)
- Paddling jacket
- Ziploc storage bags
- Wetsuit (required if water temperature is below 60°)
- Crazy Creek chair or small lawn chair
What is special about this trip?
The Rock River is a special treat located only a couple hours away from the Chicagoland area. There is a lot of history in the Rock River region which has been around longer than Lake Michigan. There are numerous islands providing habitats for wild animals including coyotes and bald eagles! At times along the river you will be paddling alongside spectacular sandstone bluffs. Each day you will paddle on a different section of this lazy and scenic river.
How do I get there?
The Rock River lies about 2 hours west of Chicago near Oregon, Illinois. Upon registration we will provide you with a map and directions to our meeting location in Oregon.
How and where will you meet me?
We will meet you at our prearranged campsite in Oregon, Illinois.
How long will it take me to get there?
It’s about a 2 hour drive from Chicago.
Where should I stay overnight around there?
If you plan to arrive early or stay late, give the office a call for a recommendation on a great place to stay.
What money should I take?
You won’t need any money during the trip.
Do they take plastic there? Are there cash stations?"
The shops and restaurants in the nearby towns accept major credit cards and have ATMs.
What's the weather like?
The weather in the Rock River drainage is very similar to weather in Chicago. Highs are in the 80s with lows in the mid 50s.
What are the accommodations like?
We will be camping at a local campground, where we eat breakfast and dinner. There are restrooms and running water in the campgrounds that we use.
What do I need to bring?
We will send you an equipment list upon registration.
Can I drink the water?
There are plenty of pumps and faucets on our trip to fill your water bottles. All of the water is potable and we will have a variety of drink mixes to keep you hydrated and happy.
What's the food like?
We plan for delicious food on the Rock River trip and plenty of it. We have hot breakfasts, trail lunches and dinner on Saturday can be anything from Thai noodle dishes to chicken fajitas.
What time zone will I be in?
US Central Time Zone
How can people reach me in an emergency? Can I call home?
There are phones at the campsites and cell reception is generally very good along the Rock River.
How much time do we spend traveling each day? How many miles? Do I have free time?
We kayak about 10 miles a day. On Saturday we begin the day an introduction or review of basic kayaking skills. We are generally off the water by mid afternoon giving you plenty of time to shower and relax in the evening. On Sunday we aim to depart by 3 PM so that you can return home at a decent hour.
What kind of equipment do you use?
We use high quality, durable equipment for all our kayak camping trips. Our tents are either Kelty or Eureka lightweight tents and we have a variety polyethylene sea kayaks.
How many people are on this trip? How many guides? Who are the guides / what are their qualifications?
Generally our groups are between 5 and 10 people. Our guides are experience outdoor professionals and hold certifications in Wilderness First Aid and either BCU or ACA sea kayking instruction.
How can I prepare physically for the trip? How much prior experience is needed?
No prior experience or physical conditioning is necessary for this trip.