Sunday, May 27, 2012

Cannon River

Page 288: Cannon River: Faribault to Northfield. Route 99 from Paddle Minnesota. You may know how this is about to go.... If you do a route from a guide book, it goes as planned and this is no exception.

The Paddle book does not have navigation quality maps so a few minutes on Google gets you a PDF map and a zoom/print gives you a working map. It isn't going to give you the detail you need to navigate but it gives you a basic 'fix'. We paddle north so the map is read from bottom to top.

 We had a lot of put-in options. We had an island and two dams to choose from so we go north and jump in about 100 feet from the van.
 Kristen gets the last of the gear loaded and we launch about 11:30am. We are about and hour behind plan.
 On the water and everything goes great for the next 3 hours. Current is high and about 4 mph and we paddle some and get 6 mph with drifting breaks of 5 mph. We close the gap to the bikes we placed 16 miles down stream in 3 hours flat. The book said 5 to 8 hours, Not today. But that works well. We need to get home and feed and run the dog, Scooby.
 We get some nice cliffs full of birds living in small pockets.

 This little dragon fly or clones of him followed us on and off for the entire trip.

My wife is goofing off, we are not at the end and she has no reason to celebrate.
 Class 1

 At one time 15 grain mills used the river for power. This is the only one we saw. Entry was possible but the fast current made landing mixed and we said we'd come back in winter.

 The end of more Class 1. We pass about 8 such rapids.

 How can you pass natural arches. I had to take a picture.
 This is the exit. About 500 feet away and up a narrow path are the bikes. We get destroyed by skeeters just after this picture. When I say, destroyed, I mean destroyed!! We eat them, in-hail them, snort them... I had legs covered in them. We got attacked to the point you could do nothing but run, so we did, they followed.....

 We get the bikes but forget all kinds of supplies in the boats but we are not going back into the skeeters and we don't say anything about it.
 We cross the river and turn right and follow the crappy road for 12 miles and it's into the wind.
 Kristen is on her new Zuringo thanks to Jay over at Hollywood Cycles.
We are fighting into 10 to 15 mph wind after a morning of kayaking in 94 degree heat so she's blowing up for not having the blood sugar to push 6 hours without feeding. I'm short water but I pull and she gets a quick lesson on how to hide behind the leader to save the legs. She's a quick study but doesn't really like holding a wheel.
 This is how we left the boats. We grab them and run, dragging them as fast as we can but can only go 30 feet before me MUST stop and swat skeeters then run and pull. I could see my wife running and a cloud of skeeters in hot pursuit. I kid you not, I have never been attacked this bad. They follow us 500 feet or more to the parking lot and attack until we kill them one at a time like Japanese Zeros.

We get the boats loaded and run to the corner store for cold drinks, remember it's 94 degrees out. Page 288 is complete and without the hungry bugs, it's a no drama paddle just like what you paid for. I like this book, it delivers.

It's a very nice paddle that is easy and you see very little development with the exception of a short stretch of road and a house or two.  The Cannon is only 30 minutes from the cities and that's probably why it's so popular but then it's also very good. It's easily better then the Lower Saint Croix.

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