I’ve always been a big fan of not confining myself to the places in guide books. That’s what led to create the hobby of exploratory kayaking. This basically involves looking at a gazeteer or google maps, locating obscure little blue squiggles (indicating a small waterway), seeking it out and paddling it. Instead of the major river ways that paddlers generally cover, exploratory kayaking involves small creeks and streams, canals, and ditches that few paddlers would think of or ever want to go.
This is very different than traditional river paddling because it is often filled with obstacles. River blockages, shallow waters that need to be portaged, or completely dried creek beds that are just impossible to paddle are common occurrences. It usually involves lots of carrying and dragging of boats and for this reason its best to use a very lightweight kayak.
So why do something like this? Mostly to see what’s out there. To experience not only the popular destinations, but every little place that you can. It’s also a challenge and a great workout. Actually I don’t know exactly what I enjoy about this, but I really do.
A good place to try this out is the headwaters of the Tippecanoe River. Find Big Lake in Whitley County and try to get into the canal system from there. Go.