The area around Lake Wawasee offers plenty of opportunities for exploration, but not all of them can be accessed by car, bicycle or even by foot. That is where paddling comes in.
On Monday, Tim Weadick, Goshen and Lake Wawasee and Dan Cummiskey, Fort Wayne, took off down Turkey Creek in a sit-on-top tandem kayak. Putting in at the Syracuse Dam, they traveled north to the millrace in Goshen, a seven-hour journey.
“We just wanted to see the whole water table,” Cummiskey said. “The turnover time for water in Lake Wawasee is about three years. This is the biggest water supply for it.”
They also explored the headwaters of Turkey Creek prior to Monday’s trip. The waterway begins at Harper Lake, traveling through several lakes along the way.
Harper Lake, they said, is within five miles of three water systems, including Turkey Creek; the Tippecanoe water system, going to the Wabash, Ohio and Mississippi rivers; and the Maumee River System, east of Harper Lake, flows north to Lake Erie.
During their paddling adventures, Weadick and Cummiskey have seen areas of the local watershed practically invisible to all but those willing to take a little risk and head out on the water. Among the hidden treasures of the local watershed are wildlife, natural scenery and human-made objects like old railroad bridges that no longer have tracks attached.
If traveling Turkey Creek sounds like all leisure, however, think again. Weadick and Cummiskey have encountered more than their share of hazards, such as downed trees and rapids. Sometimes they got out of the kayak and portage, or carried it around the blockage. Other times, they simply climbed right over whatever obstacle they may encounter. Along the way, they acquired plenty of bumps and bruises. Staying dry was not an option, especially when their kayak flipped.
For them, the attraction of such an undertaking can be summed up in one word: adventure. Neither Weadick nor Cummiskey wanted to pass up the opportunity to see their own home area in a way most people do not get to see it.
“We’ve got a cool place to live,” Cummiskey said.
Their next goal is to take the St. Joseph River into Lake Michigan.