For any new readers, I've set up a trip on the Upper Iowa River for quite a few years. After some variability in scheduling, it has been the weekend before Mother's Day for the last few years. This year that is Friday, 4 May, through Sunday, 6 May. I would love to have more CCBB members join me. We already have a few CCBB folks who intend on coming, and I'd enjoy to have more. Most folks arrive Friday night, camp, paddle on Saturday, then leave on Sunday. However there undoubtably will be a few paddlers on Sunday too. This is an absolutely gorgeous river, with clear cool spring water, lots of bluffs, and trout. The Bluffton gauge is athttp://waterdata.usgs.gov/ia/nwis/uv?site_no=05387440
. Keep an eye on it. Most of the time the river is definitely moving water, not flat water. At any gauge level above 5 you need to feel comfortable with maneuvering your boat in moving water. Above 6 you need solid moving water skills (eddy turns). Then again, a gauge less than 3.5 means you might need to walk some. Remember the river will be cold and you need to bring a spare set of clothing in a dry bag, just in case. This is not a river for your Kevlar lake rocket, but canoe and kayak rentals are available.
We camp at Hruska's campground in Bluffton, Iowa (northwest of Decorah). The sites are suitable for RVs or tents, and there will be some of each. There is central water and electricity is available at every site, though you only pay for it if you use it. The toilets are portapotties that are always spotless. They advertise a solar shower, but no one I know has ever tried it - it must be cold that time of year! There is another campground, rental outfitter, and a bar across the river if you're good at ferries but the bridge across the river is closed. Here is a map from Hruskas showing how to get to the campground:http://www.bluffcountry.com/hruskas/hruskas%20map1001.pdf
Children are always welcome at the campground and they can generally paddle too as long as the gauge is below 5.
On Friday night we'll have a campfire and maybe share some smores and beverages. We'll also finalize the shuttle arrangements for Saturday morning. We run the shuttle ourselves, through Hruskas has been kind enough to let us use one of their trailers since a few people will be renting from them. Saturday we'll start shuttling at 8:30 or 9:00, depending on the weather. Most people will be off the water by 4:00 with a few taking a bit longer. There are a few options for length, but most take the "classic" route of Kendalville to Bluffton - about 16-17 miles. Dinner is potluck in the shelter at the campground. The potluck is usually amazing! Sunday some people will have an unplanned sharing of breakfast, but it isnt an official potluck. Those who want to paddle will arrange their shuttles and the rest of us will pack up.
For more information feel free to contact me via email. I like this trip so much that I've already made my airplane reservations! (Luckily my husband is bringing the trailer and gear.)