Trip Report for Wildcat Creek
Friday, July 28 to Sunday, July 30, 2000

This weekend we attended the Indiana Paddlers Rendezvous. It's an annual event, and it was put on by the Hoosier Canoe Club and the Wildcat Canoe Club. The turnout was very good: over sixty paddlers the first day and forty the second day. There were boats of all sorts, including two-person canoes, solo canoes, recreational kayaks, whitewater kayaks and downriver kayaks.

The cumulative paddling knowledge of the people at the event was awesome. We met representatives of various outdoor resource agencies, including two DNR stream specialists who were cleaning up the scenic section of the river. They filled two canoes each day with trash (mostly rudely-discarded tires) on this trip.

On Saturday we paddled (often poling) approximately 14 miles on the North Fork of Wildcat Creek from Knop Lake State Fishing Area (near Pyrmont) to Wildcat Park (outside Lafayette, at the confluence of the North and South forks of Wildcat Creek). The water was pretty low (about 125 cfs according to the Lafayette guaging station), and everyone (except the solo canoes, it seemed) dragged a lot. We had to get out and pull several times.


Mr. Muddy Paws didn't like getting his feet rinsed.
Some people paddled hard and made it back to camp before the rain hit. Other people, including yours truly, were caught on the river when the clouds unloaded 1 1/2 inches of rain in about an hour. We could barely see the riffles well enough to find the channel and know where to place our kayaks. Luckily, the rain ended in time for some killer home-made chili and a most entertaining auction put on by the Wildcat Guardians, protectors, promoters and cleaner-uppers of Wildcat Creek.

On Sunday we paddled (no poling this time!) approx. nine miles from Wildcat Park to Davis Ferry Park on the Wabash River. The river level was much better than the day before (approx. 170 cfs at Lafayette), probably due to the added water from the South Fork and from the rain.

The group flew along the river, and everyone arrived at the take-out spot at about 2 p.m. That was too early for us, so we checked out the Wabash a little. We drifted downstream a couple of miles, then paddled back upstream, taking a side-channel by Heron Island Wildlife Preserve. (If you do this, definitely give yourself twice as much time to go upstream as you did downstream. The Wabash was really cooking along, so I wouldn't describe the upstream portion as easy.)

Note: Wildcat Park does not generally allow camping. Special permission was obtained for this event from the Tippecanoe County Parks Department.

Outdoor Resources:
Other Information:
 
www.IndianaOutfitters.com - Indiana's Online Outdoor Recreation Guide