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Friday, August 1, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 64.0° F  Light Rain
The Daily

RECREATION

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Splendid isolation on Badfish Creek
The rewards of solo canoeing in northern Rock County
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Notwithstanding my capsize misadventures, solo canoeing on Badfish Creek affords ample reward on a weekday afternoon in late March.

A short time before my first inadvertent swim, I stopped paddling for a couple minutes to capture some images and short video clips near a bend in the river. As suggested by the clip below, filmed about 20 minutes downstream from the put-in off Highway 138 just north of Cooksville, the Badfish flows through remote croplands and wetlands in northern Rock County as it meanders west toward its confluence with the Yahara River south of Stebbinsville.

Except for the barn seen here in the background, and four bridges that cross the creek in the seven miles between this afternoon's put-in and take-out, the natural setting is all but uninterrupted by human structures. Instead, there is birdsong, a good current, a bit of breeze and an overcast sky that buffers the occasional distant sound of traffic.


Badfish Creek's current, its low-grade riffles, its numerous twists and turns, its occasional rocks and the fallen tree branches that sometimes cross its eddies can make for tricky going for an inexperienced solo canoeist such as myself. But I look forward to returning to this stretch of the Badfish with a sit-on-top kayak in warmer weather, when a swim -- inadvertent or otherwise -- might be more welcome.

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