Fox Wisconsin Heritage Parkway

A non-profit organization dedicated to the improvement and preservation of the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers.

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Final Day: Fox River Trip Complete

We begin each day thankful for the opportunity to explore and travel on the waterways of this great state. There is no denying we are all feeling yesterday’s efforts. We linger over the morning coffee and stretch our sore limbs. The landing at Rapid Croche is good but a muddy game trail must be widened to give access back onto the Fox. Our first portage is complete and we are headed out for our last day by 9am. There is no obvious landing at the Little Kaukauna Lock so we weave our way through the brush to the trail. Feels like it will be warm today so we are appreciative of a slight following breeze. As we count down the miles to Green Bay the wind speed begins to tick up. One thing we have begun to notice since the southern shores of Buttes des Morts is that our attention has been drawn more to man made structures than to the natural background. There is also much less natural shoreline, the feeling of the Fox River is changing. Mark Fisher, quoted in The Once and Future World notes, ” that when a country like Great Britain becomes overdeveloped you lose a lot of human freedoms”.. like “the human freedom to enjoy nature.” I think this is worth considering. Sometimes the trappings get in the way of enjoying nature or VITAMIN N as Richard Louv refers to nature in his latest two books. A number of years ago one of my students coined a phrase I still use in classes today, ” spend more time hanging out outside.” By the time we get to the De Pere lock the wind is really swirling. This will be our second “ride” through a lock run extremely smoothly and with obvious professionalism by the Fox River Navigational System Authority lock keepers. We’re at one point reminded not to cook while in the lock. For canoeists-this was funny. As the water lowered we could not resist the time worn lines like.” I’m at the end of my rope” I still find it funny! With the water down and the gates opening the wind was swirling our boats like crazy and then we paddled out into a much different world than 20 minutes earlier. It was a struggle to get out to the channel and round the corner. There were several close calls with capsize in the story line. We managed to land in Voyageur Park for lunch and a weather check. The winds were predicted to continue which meant we were, as the French say, “degrade” or wind bound- just 8 miles from the terminus of the Fox River and the beginning of Green Bay. We had no other choice, since camping is not allowed in the park, we did what any other modern day adventurer would in a similar circumstance and location-we called a cab to shuttle us to our cars. If you have to stop early-Voyageur Park seemed fitting. After collecting our vehicles and loading our gear we headed for the Hinterland for a celebratory dinner. Abbey Metzger in Meander Scars notes,”.. reading a river sometimes isn’t enough…you have to sense.” Unfortunately we were sensing this was to be the end of our For River adventure. In the coming days and weeks I will have a few epilogue entries as we sift and compile our photos. Keep an eye out and paddle on !

De Pere lock

De Pere lock

Expansive morning paddle scene

Expansive morning paddle scene

.... and again

…. and again

Rapid Croche lock exit and loading scene

Rapid Croche lock exit and loading scene

.... and again

…. and again

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