Specialty Trip: Illinois River Inflatable Kayak Expedition

Trip dates:  June 16th – 21st, 2009

Our “Exploratory” Inflatable Kayaking Trip on the Illinois. 6 days exploring the Illinois river during a time and in a way that has never been done before commercially (We think…). This will set the stage for future late spring and summer offerings on the Illinois. We are so excited about this trip. Please call if you would like to join us.

Leon Werdinger, a professional photographer and Guide will be joining us. Here excerpts of his trip description and pictures from the Illi in late spring:

Illinois River inflatable kayak expedition (SW Oregon)

Cost:  $1159
Meeting place:  Ashland or Grants Pass, Oregon
Information & reservations:  contact me or Momentum River Expeditions  https://www.momentumriverexpeditions.com/ 866-663-5628
Last June a couple friends and I did a low water self-support inflatable kayak trip on the Illinois River.  It was easily one of the most beautiful, enchanted and enjoyable river trips I’ve ever been down.  At the time I thought it’d be too challenging to run as a commercial trip.  But after seeing participants meet the rugged challenges on last summer’s Nahanni trip (mentioned above) I got to rethinking the Illinois.  In the last couple months I’ve been discussing a possible trip with the owner of Momentum and we’re both excited about going for it.
Everyone will paddle their own inflatable kayak that will also carry their personal gear and a share of group gear.  We’ll be going “backpack style” – think of what you’d bring backpacking, add an inflatable kayak, lifejacket, drybags, paddle, helmet, etc. and you get an idea of what we’ll be bringing.  Yup, this is not the usual raft trip “float & bloat” style.  There will be no raft support, as in mid-June the Illinois doesn’t have enough water for rafts.  This also means that we’ll have this gem of a river mainly to ourselves.
The two main challenges of running the Illinois at low water are the whitewater (the river’s rated Class IV and at low water the rapids are numerous and technical) and scouting and portaging along on rocky, sometimes bouldery, river banks.  On the other hand, we won’t have to deal with two of the challenges associated with running the Illinois during the rafting season – cold water and the likelihood of cold air temps and rain. Mid-June brings warm water and the likelihood of warm sunny days.  It also brings lots of hours of daylight which should give us time for exploring and relaxing.
If you have any questions, including about whether this trip is suitable for you, don’t hesitate to contact me or Pete at Momentum.
We’ll begin the trip with a half day of skills training on either an upper section of the Illinois or some other river (to be determined).  The trip is limited to 14 people maximum, including guides.  (There will be at least one guide for every three participants.)  The outfitter will be proving boats, boating gear, food, round trip transportation from the meeting point, etc.  Free to spread the word to others who you think would have the necessary skills and who’d be enjoyable to be with.
These images are from our Illinois trip last June.  As you can see, the Illinois at low water includes exciting whitewater and amazing pools:


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