Paddling on a Very Old River

Two days ago we paddled the Kickapoo River from Ontario down to Rockton. It was a lovely paddle, with high water so it was over before we wanted it to be. Such is life.

The Driftless Area through which runs the Kickapoo is old. Since it wasn't scraped off by one of three glacial lobes in three ice ages, the rock was laid down between 400 and 500 million years ago. Almost half a billion years. Imagine a river that started flowing when trilobites were crawling around on the ocean floor. That's old. Cambrian and Ordovician rock, for you rock nerds.

It's a great solo canoe river. It's one my favorite places to take my wife. Watching a truly competent paddler is a joy, and when she's your wife, it's even better. She's puts grace over speed, and that's how I like it. We're not in a hurry. Last one off the water wins.

The bluffs along the river have beautiful colors, mosses and small plants, many endangered, and they exist in a very few places. The combination of geology and time created diverse microhabitats that support many unique species.

Julius Trees Parrish is an artist with autism who lives near the Kickapoo Valley. He paints some gorgeous stuff and his paintings are all over the shop and in my home too.

I commissioned this piece to represent one of the bluffs along the Kickapoo River. I was told by his parents, "You understand, you never know what you're going to get from Julius." I was fine with that.

I think it's about as good as it gets. Julius saw things I didn't. It's hanging in my office.

I'm grateful for the Kickapoo, my paddling partner, and Julius, for capturing the spirit of ordovician rock.

Have a great week, and support art!