near Rock Island
June 13, 2010
Mike and I decided to kayak down to Hennessee Bridge from Locke Bend Bridge, so we set out around 2:15, believing it would take us around an hour to float the 5.3-miles to Hennesse Bridge, whereupon we’d call Andra and have her pick us up. I had no idea what the river was like on this trip, so we simply trusted Google Earth that the river would be passable the entire way.
We hopped in the new kayak, and shoved off into the clear water of the Collins River, flowing nicely at 350 cfs. We ran over several shoals, scraping the bottom of the boat a little on some, clearing others with barely inches to spare on others. The water was cool, and clear, yet we saw few fish on the voyage. The shores of the Collins River through this section are almost completely wild, with barely any hint of the agricultural activities going on beyond the screen of trees. Only one house is visible from the river from Locke Bend Bridge to Hennessee Bridge.
The current carried us along at a good clip until we reached Mountain Creek, and right about there, the flow slowed to almost nothing, presumably because we were reaching the level of Great Falls Reservoir created by the dam 8 miles downstream. We had to paddle from there on, and the going was slower. Just past a line of powerlines, we turned into a shaded cove where a series of waterfalls from spring water sent out a wave of air like air conditioning, and we basked in the cool shade of the cove for some time before continuing on.
We reached Hennessee Bridge around 3:45, about 30 minutes after we intended to, indicating that our average speed on the water was around 3.5 mph. We hauled the kayak out of the water and up to the road where Andra met us minutes later with cold sodas and towels.