Red Wing Bucket List: Travel the Cannon RiverWhether you prefer to effortlessly float or skillfully maneuver your way through the water, a trip down the Cannon River can provide you with the opportunity to do either.
By: Regan Carstensen, The Republican Eagle
Whether you prefer to effortlessly float or skillfully maneuver your way through the water, a trip down the Cannon River can provide you with the opportunity to do either.
Monday, a day that tends to see less river traffic, saw plenty of people tubing, canoeing and kayaking their way downstream.
While some only dream about a hot summer weekday spent cooling off by the beach, others made their dream into reality. Parents brought their kids, teens brought their friends and families brought their dogs.
Since many people don’t have watercrafts of their own, two separate locations in Goodhue County offer up chances to rent everything from classic canoes to tandem kayaks and individual tubes to six-person rafts.
“It’s not terribly expensive,” said Hannah Eisert, an employee at Welch Mill Canoeing and Tubing. “And it’s just fun.”
Welch Mill is a big draw for the town, which has only a few other businesses. The second location for amateurs to conveniently take to the river, Cannon Falls Canoe and Bike Rental, is only 15 miles away from Welch.
If someone is looking to have a few drinks, lay back and relax, tubing is a popular option. Others prefer to get a bit of exercise and propel themselves along by paddling from a canoe or kayak.
No matter which method is used, everyone can enjoy the same great aspects of the nature around them. Trees are seen for miles starting right at the river’s edge and moving upward, some towering above on the sides of bluffs.
Geese share the river, swimming along with young ones in tow. Songbirds provide a natural musical background and horses grazing on a riverside family farm add to the overall atmosphere.
Significant flooding in the county prevented safe use of the Cannon River a few weeks ago, but facilities are assuring everyone they’re back up and running. And extremely hot temperatures have made up for time lost as crowds flock to Welch and Cannon Falls on a daily basis.
Business at each location depends heavily on each day’s forecast.
“It varies with the weather,” Welch Mill owner Jane Nelson said.
Nelson said when the temps reach 90 degrees or higher, the place is bustling. Saturdays and Sundays, of course, see more people as well.
“Most nice weather weekends are crazy packed,” Eisert said.
Fritz Johnson and his family decided to avoid too much commotion and head up to Welch on a weekday instead.
While his three children went tubing, Johnson opted for something else.
“I like the canoeing better,” he said.
“Yeah you like the canoeing better until you find a log,” his 11-year-old son, Ian, teased.
Johnson’s trip down the river began like any other, but it wasn’t long before it hit a bit of a snag — a snag otherwise known as a tree.
He noticed a group of tubers hung up on a branch in the water and attempted to help, but his act of kindness went awry when the river swept his canoe into the tree as well.
“The poor canoe, it looks like a pretzel,” Johnson said.
The thought shouldn’t let first-timers be scared away from an outing on the water. Staff at the Welch and Cannon Falls locations can offer tips to those less familiar with how to handle the river.
Johnson said he’s well aware that incidents like his on Monday are not common occurrences and noted that his journeys down the river are usually a lot of fun.
“Normally it’s a very enjoyable trip,” Johnson said, adding that he’d encourage people to visit and give it a try.
Especially now that they know to watch out for stray logs.