The rapids return

When the rain picks up, local kayakers hit the waters.

Spring rains have increased the water levels of the rivers and creeks that snake through Hamilton County. Heavy precipitation has temporarily turned the serene scene of water flowing down the Briggs Woods falls into a torrent of rapids. It was at these falls in the northern part of Briggs Woods Park that Ben and David Everson took to kayaking on Wednesday. Ben Everson said they took several trips down the falls as the river often doesn’t have enough water to form the rapids.

Briggs Woods isn’t the only place that the Eversons and other local kayakers have enjoyed. While Ben Everson said the river can still be kayaked when it’s low, others require an opportunistic approach. That includes a path from Brewer Creek at Beach Street in Webster City along to the Boone River. Other paths Ben Everson said he enjoys include Nokomis Park to Briggs Woods, Albright’s Canoe Access to Tunnel Mill and White Fox Creek down through Kendall Young Park.

For Ben Everson, kayaking down the Briggs Woods falls is a rare adrenaline rush. However, kayaking is more than just that.

“It can be as intense as running the falls or it can be as calm as just floating down the Boone River,” he said. “You can make it as fun or as difficult as you’d like.”

Those relaxing kayak outings offer Ben Everson and others a chance to see nature from the unique perspective of the river. In the couple years he has kayaked, he’s seen two bald eagle nests near the Highway 20 bridge. Along the river, he’s floated alongside foxes running along the shore, and has paddled next to a beaver chasing their boat.

Ben Everson said it’s important for new kayakers to be safe and wear a helmet and personal flotation device when getting out on the water, especially when going into the rapids.