An Exploratory Trip on the Little Turkey River
April 6, 2002
We met at Rick's. Dave, John, Colin and Michael
pulled up with the magic trailer shortly after Lynn
pulled in. I did a quick spot check to be sure that
it really was car magazines they were looking at and
making their comments about. And then we were off on
a long ride. It was probably was longer for Dave with
the three young guys in his car.
Mark had camped out the night before and was at
Gouldburg County Park when we got there. Peggy
showed up while the others were shuttling the cars.
We had white water, recreational, and sea kayaks, as
well as a tandem canoe. Watch for that first fence at
the bridge as you leave the park. In high waters, it
would be better to put in just downstream from the
This small stream was recommended by Hugh. And it was
worth the effort. The woodland bluffs had some birch
trees and some limestone outcropping; sights not
common in central Iowa. We also enjoyed our day on
the river with Bald Eagles, Canadian Geese, Turkey
Vultures, Kingfishers, Great Blue Herons, Coots and
other assorted ducks and birds as well as lots of
carp. Besides these usual treats we also saw a lone
swan, one of the surprises we enjoyed.
The low water and head winds were surprises of another
sort. There is no gauge on the Little River, but the
gauge on the Turkey River near Eldorado was at about
150 cfs, which is just a bit too low. For
perspective, normal flow for this time of year is
600cfs. Fortunately, the shuttle masters left a car
about six or so miles downstream and that was where we
But our adventure didn't end there. We took a
roundabout way back by first stopping at Boike's in
Fayette. We had eaten at this family ran restaurant
before and had been pleased by the good food and
friendly service. We were led to the back like they
were happy to see us and were expecting our party of
9. Still, even I was surprised when the owner, Deb,
was inspired by Dave's bald head.
As an aside, it turns out that Rick had gone to school
with the owners, Deb & Dave. At any rate, we ate well, but
especially Colin who had two meals and dessert. The
homemade banana crème pie was
delicious. Now, more than well fed and warm again
too, we headed back in a little caravan.
Our last surprise though was Colin: he was seen
foraging again about an hour later. And if Colin is
around when we do this river again, bring food.