Groupon is a pretty good resource to find nifty deals around Chicago. A few months ago, in my daily deals email, I spotted a kayaking deal. For the bargain price of $50, I purchased two single kayak Skyscraper Canyon Trips with Chicago River Canoe and Kayak (CRCK). One for me and one for my dude since I didn’t trust his skills in a tandem at the time. However, for the record he definitely proved himself and I’m looking forward to our next adventure on the water.
Originally we were supposed to redeem our Groupons two weeks ago. Unfortunately Mother Nature decided to veto that move with a thunderstorm. Ryan Chew, one of the key folks over at CRCK was majorly apologetic and immediately got us rescheduled. So, this past Monday we showed up 2120 Canal Street to get our paddle on.
The weather was perfect: low humidity, clear, puffy white clouds and not 110 degrees like earlier in the summer, but rather a comfortable 70. We met Ryan right away and he helped to get us outfitted with life jackets and gave us a run-down on getting fitted to our kayaks. After that we met up with the rest of our group, and had a mini pow-wow where the staff explained more about our six mile tour, gave a paddling demo and a rules of the water speech.
Armed with our paddles and proper techniques, we were off! We launched around the intersection of Canal and Cermak and continued on north into the Loop. The water in the beginning was nice and still, making for a pleasant ride under the blue sky. However, when we got to the “hub” around the Michigan Avenue Bridge (our turn around point) the water picked up to a decent chop, all due to boat traffic. Water taxis, sight-seeing tours, private boats and even barges made for interesting passing maneuvers. Needless to say, my arms were looking forward to heading back south to the calmer water.
As we headed back, the sun was setting and the buildings began to glow. The views were so unique due to our vantage point in the water and then adding sunset equals Chicago architecture awesomeness. We paddled by landmarks such as the Merchandise Mart, Union Station, Willis Tower, and the Leo Burnet building.
My favorite part of the tour came at the end. We were on our way back down the river when our guide told us to stop and turn around. We looked back from our kayaks at a beautiful night cityscape. Breathtaking would be a fitting word to describe it.
All in all, I’d totally recommend the tour if you’re looking for fun outing that involves a slight workout. Definitely check out CRCK as an option. Their staff was great and very informative. Now I just have to wait for another kayak Groupon…