Haunted canoeists! Get ready for Oct. 23, 30

2009 Pumpkin Paddle winners. Photo by Tom Lindblade

By Tom Lindblade
Illinois Paddling Council President

Come have a great paddle on the surprising North Branch!

The Pumpkin Paddle is an opportunity for newer paddlers, veterans and families to experience fall color on the Chicago River’s Ralph C. Frese River Trail, and have a little Halloween fun. Bring a carved pumpkin (or not) and fasten it to your boat as you paddle. First, second and third place prizes for originality will be awarded. Pumpkins will be judged at the launch site and must reach the takeout intact.

The paddle is co-sponsored by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County and the Illinois Paddling Council. Participants do not have to pre-register, but must bring their own boat, paddles, and properly-fitted PFD (life preserver, which must be worn at all times on the water). The paddle is 5.8 miles long and requires carrying around two small dams. All participants must have a dump bag (an extra set of dry clothes either in a dry bag or double-bagged trash bags).

We will launch from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 23 from the put in just below the Willow Road dam, which is located on Forestway Drive 500 feet north of Willow Road. The intersection is .6 of a mile east of the Willow Road exit from the Edens Expressway. Car shifts will be arranged to the take out, which will be at Linne Woods, 1 mile west of the Edens on Dempster. Cider and doughnuts will be served.

As some friends of mine say, “Hey, kayakers!” They sent me the following: “Kayak Chicago’s summer season is coming to an end. Oct. 22-24 is our last outdoor weekend for kayaking on the Chicago River.

“Our indoor pool classes and open pool will start on Wednesday, Dec. 1, and run every Wednesday through the end of May. You can register for classes at www.kayakchicago.com.

“Halloween is approaching, and our annual Halloween party fundraiser is on Saturday, Oct. 30, at Golan Studios/Atomic Imaging, 1501 N. Magnolia Ave., Chicago, IL 60642, next to our Chicago River location. The proceeds benefit Adaptive Adventures, who help to get people with disabilities outdoors, kayaking, skiing, climbing, scuba diving and many more activities to help with their rehabilitation. The Halloween party invite is at www.atomicimaging.com/atomic_html/index.cfm. Under “Buy Tickets,” type in the coupon code “KayakH10” to get discounted tickets and $100+ in gift certificates for AKIRA Men, Women & Shoes, The Signature Room Restaurant, Chicago Costume and of course, Kayak Chicago.

“Enter the Underworld at our Haunted Ice-Factory warehouse compound and experience Chicago’s largest, longest-running and most highly rated Halloween Event.

“Featuring 3D Body Painting Fashion Show and 3D Haunted Exhibits, Dancing, “Costume Contest with prizes, All-Inclusive Food & Beverage (Open Bar).

Undead Music by: Maggie Speaks. Chubby Nothin’ and The Bone, Springa Sonic Droogs and mystery guest performers + DJ Rockstar.”

Hope to see you there and on the water.

From the Oct. 20-26, 2010 issue

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