A tiny male ruby-throated hummingbird seems to hold a classical pose for the camera as it stretches its wings back and spreads its tail feathers in the low light shadows of the morning sun. In the summer, these visitors to the eastern half of North America for the breeding season will be migrating south in late August and will be gone by late October.

Daily Journal staff report

The Potawatomi Paddlers Association, an Illinois support group for the Kankakee River National Water Trail, is planning a kayak and canoe trip from Rivals Lookout Park to Wilmington on Sept. 15.

Rivals Lookout Park is on the north side of the river, at the end of Rivals Road, off Illinois Route 102 northwest of Ritchie.

It’s a free event, but bring your own boat.

Paddlers board members Bruce Cowhig and Doug Morris paddled the route last Saturday, and Cowhig reported online that the Sept. 15 event should be “a great 2½ to 3 hour trip (depending on stops)” and provided some heads-up information for potential participants.

“About a mile upriver from our take-out point (at Wilmington) the river is extremely shallow,” Cowhig said. “Unless the river level rises at least 6 inches, we’ll have to walk our boats about 100 yards. The bottom there is solid rock (not stone rubble on mud), so the footing is solid. Water was ankle-deep for most of the walk. Bottom line (no pun intended), wear your river shoes and bring a rope. Doug discovered tying a rope to your kayak will help you keep it from getting away from you as it floats and you walk. If you have balance issues when walking on uneven surfaces, be sure you have a walking-buddy. Kayak paddles make good walking sticks, too. In the meantime, pray for rain.”

The paddling event will end above the Wilmington dam, he noted. Participants also can meet afterward at Hayden’s Crossing restaurant at 107 Water St., downtown Wilmington, for a bite and recap of the river trip.

For more information, contact Cowhig at 815-507-6977 or email

Kayak the Canal

What: Kayak the Canal (Advanced)

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 15 and 22

Where: The Forest Preserve District of Will County’s McKinley Woods – Kerry Sheridan Grove.

Certified kayak instructors will lead you on a day trip that investigates this once crucial waterway. The event will include a 2.5-mile paddle on the I&M Canal to McKinley Woods — Frederick’s Grove, where lunch will be provided. Then, the group will visit the I&M Canal locks and paddle 3 miles back on the DuPage River to the starting location.

All equipment is provided. Previous kayaking experience is required. Participants are required to portage kayaks over short distances and will be required to paddle the rest of the time. The program is for ages 18 and older, and it costs $50 per person.

Register by Wednesday at or by calling 815-722-9470.

Summer’s end paddle

What: Summer Send-Off Paddle

When: 4 to 7 p.m. Sept. 15

Where: The Forest Preserve District of Will County’s Monee Reservoir.

Choose a kayak or canoe to paddle and close the summer out on the water at Monee Reservoir. Let certified instructors guide you on a tour of the reservoir. End the day with a campfire to roast hot dogs and s’mores. This is a recreational, noninstructional program. All equipment is provided. Prior paddling experience is strongly recommended. Private, one-on-one instruction also is available.

Register by Sept. 13 at or by calling 708-534-8499.

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