We're back in the flatlands for our wedding reception! Jordan and I eloped in May, but we still wanted to have the big ol' party back home with all our friends and family in Illinois. I also really wanted a bachelorette party with my buddies (Although, I guess it's not a legit bachelorette party if you're already married, but ... you know.) Semantics asides -- we had a great time. I'm not a big fan of bar-hopping with penis necklaces and pink martinis, so my little sister planned a fantastic canoe trip along the Lower Fox River. Much more my scene. :)
Obviously, a big group and tons of booze aren't conducive to super-ambitious trips, so we decided to do a short 6-mile stretch of the river. The Lower Fox River is a pretty tributary of the Illinois River. Its dark green waters roll by white sandstone bluffs dotted with little alcoves. Everything was covered with white pines, sassafras, Ohio buckeye, and blue beech. We also saw a bunch of classic flatland critters -- deer, cliff swallows, and squirrels.
We rented canoes from Ayers Landing Canoe Rental ($50/canoe, includes shuttle.) They dropped us of at the put-in at Highway 52, and we paddled right up to the take-out at their office. Convenient.
That night, we stayed in two cabins at Mallard Bend Campground. The campground was definitely clean and well-maintained, but it was waaaay spendy ($105 per cabin?!) Any other night I would have opted to stay in a less-expensive IL state park, but for some inconceivable reason, IL state parks don't let you drink in their campgrounds. Come on, it's my bachelorette party! So we shelled out the extra money and made the most of it.
All in all, it was a great trip. Amid all the girly details of wedding planning, it was really nice to get outside and be ornery with my best buddies. :)