This section of the Illinois contains eight named rapids, including the famous Class V Green Wall. If yesterday had been a wet, but easy, day, today was expected to be a hard and wet day. We prepared for the ordeal ahead with meditation and stretching.
Soon after leaving camp, we came to Prelude Rapid (IV-, aka Fawn Falls). By now the flow (measured up at the USGS gauge near Selma) had fallen to 496 cubic feet per second (14 m3/s) and the line was tight. Much pushing and pulling and walking ensued. But we managed to get all the rafts (and passengers) through without any mishaps.
Prelude Rapid is a prelude to the Green Wall Rapid (V). After much scouting, the guides determined that the flow was too low to safely float guests. They would take the rafts through while we walked around to the bottom of the rapids. It was a little disappointing (but not much) to not run Green Wall but being on shore allowed for better photos of this famous rapid. The heavier gear rafts were able to make it through but the lighter passenger rafts had to be hauled around some obstacles.
We got past the Green Wall and into the Little Green Wall Rapid (IV). It was just slightly less complicated and we were able to run it with everyone onboard and no lining or portaging.
Two more rapids followed – Sweeney Todd (III+, aka Rapid #97) and Holey Pohle (IV, aka Rapid #104). Rebekah got thrown out of her raft in one of these and was pleased to find that her dry suit was in fact dry as Derik lined her back to shore. Then came Submarine Hole (IV) where we again had to resort to pushing and squeezing.
After we got past Submarine Hole, the day got much less intense. We started losing sunlight to an overcast that was streaming in ahead of a wet storm due in tomorrow. So, after some glorified riffles and two more rapids (Rapid #131 (III+) and Horse Sign Creek Rapid (III+)), we were all glad to pull into camp at Horse Sign Creek, some 12 miles (19 km) and nine hours after leaving South Bend.
We fully expected the storm to strike us before we reached camp. It didn’t. After we arrived there were a few passing sprinkles that barely got anything wet. These soon went away. So we had another great dinner in the open and sat around the campfire solving the worlds problems until overcome by tiredness. Then to bed, to be soothed by the white noise coming from Horse Sign Creek. It had been a long, but excellent, day. 😀HOME