Joined: 08 Sep 2011
Location: Evansville, IN
|Posted: Mon Oct 03, 2011 8:49 am Post subject: Solo Canoe Trip: Huntington to Lafayette in September
|Notes from a solo canoe trip on the Wabash River
Huntington, IN to West Lafayette, IN
Sep 21 to Sep 27 2011
Overall: Great trip!
Selling Points: Scenic, clean, safe, suitable water flow
Downs: Formidable low-water obstacles around Lewisburg and Georgetown
Total Miles: 104
Total River Hours: 38
Average Miles per Hour: 2.7
Boat: 16' fiberglass canoe
Cargo: 280 lbs (me + food + supplies)
Day 1 Sep 21, 2011
Huntington to Lagro (2 miles past Lagro)
River miles: 15
River Time: 6 hours
USGS Wabash, IN discharge = 461 (220 normal for Sep 21)
Camped on a perfect pebble island. Water was characterized by large areas of slow moving water about 2-4 feet deep which were best navigated by poling (Poling Video), interspersed with short sections of mild rapids which required strict attention to avoid hitting many exposed boulders and boulders just beneath the surface. Narrow stream bed.
Day 2 Sep 22, 2011
Lagro to Mississewa River
River Miles: 19
River Time: 7 hours
USGS Wabash, IN discharge = 470 (240 normal for Sep 22)
Similar conditions as yesterday. Chased a bald eagle nearly the whole day.
Day 3 Sep 23, 2011
Mississewa River to County Road 500 West (5 miles past Peru, IN)
River Miles: 8
River Time: 4 hours
USGS Peru, IN discharge = 168 (600 normal for Sep 23)
Similar conditions as yesterday. Spent considerable time shopping for supplies in Peru, IN at ACE hardware off the Wallace Bridge and at Kmart off the Main Street bridge.
Day 4 Sep 24, 2011
CR500W to France Park
River Miles: 20
River Time: 7.5 hours
USGS Peru, IN discharge = 186 (600 normal for Sep 24)
USGS Logansport, IN discharge = 930 (750 normal for Sep 24)
From Kienly Island to Hwy 35 (Logansport area) was very rough due to vast sections of shallow rapids (4 to 6 inches) exposing rough jagged stone shelves. Despite the stress of my fiberglass canoe scraping bottom so much and getting pinned a couple times on jagged boulders, I made excellent time today. Staying to the very outside edge (5 – 10 feet) seemed to be the best way to navigate these areas – the deepest water was clearly along the edges which is quite abnormal. I did not camp in France Park itself, but found a premiere spot on the right bank about 100 yards past the ramp.
Day 5 Sep 25, 2011
France Park to Pittsburgh (3 miles before Pittsburgh)
River Miles: 18
River Time: 5 hours
USGS Logansport, IN discharge = 1460 (750 normal for Sep 25)
More shallows encountered around Georgetown. I stayed to the outside edges and squeezed through with a few rough scrapes and couple easy snags. It was a struggle but the extra rain made all the difference. I guess it would have been impassable at the normal water level for Sep 25. Past Georgetown was the most scenic portion of the trip yet. Many lush islands with complex passageways in and around. A bald eagle to guide my way. Camped on a gorgeous pebble island. Set my tent 25 feet from the water’s edge and placed a stick at the water line. By morning the water was right up to my tent! – an 18” rise in water level.
Day 6 Sep 26, 2011
Pittsburgh to Hwy 225 Bridge
River Miles: 17
River Time: 5 hours
USGS Logansport, IN discharge = 2720 (750 normal for Sep 25)
After Tippecanoe River the Wabash River seems to widen and deepen drastically. I found that my pole was useless today because the water was too deep. The wider river with larger turns seemed to correlate with much increased head winds taking away much of my pleasure. After Tippecanoe River the banks also seem to be void of any stones or sand and consist entirely of sticky clay mud which was not a good thing for me. I ended up camped on the bank about a mile past the 225 bridge. My boots continuously gathered mud as I walked around setting up my tent sometimes collecting as much as 3 inches of mud before I cleaned them off again.
Day 7 Sep 27, 2011
Hwy 225 to West Lafayette (Tapawingo Park)
River Miles: 6.5
River Time: 3 hours
Massive river. Not my style for paddling. I travelled early before the wind got going. Tapawingo park was a classy pick-up point although I had to carry the canoe and all equipment 100 yards up the catwalk. Mascouten ramp is clean and quiet and probably a better choice for most.
Trip photo album (14 photos)
Overall a great trip that I would recommend!