Traveling Ted is a blog that takes readers along on my adventures hiking, canoeing, skiing, and international backpacking. Many blogs focus on one aspect of backpacking, but I tackle both the outdoor adventure side and international exploration as well.

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I had the pleasure to guide the Chicago chapter of the Outdoor Afro club. A group that inspires and connects African-Americans from Chicago to nature. They are part of a national organization that does the same thing throughout the country. We paused halfway through our canoe outing down the Little Calumet River for a group canoeing GoPro selfie.

Group canoeing GoPro selfie

Group canoeing GoPro selfie – I am in the front with the orange hat getting it set up on my GoPro app

Afro Outdoor canoeing

On the way to the Kickapoo Woods canoe launch with Afro Outdoor Chicago

Group canoeing GoPro selfie

I was in front of the lead boat and put my GoPro on the time lapse photo option and chose to take a picture every two seconds. Then I got the selfie stick and raised it high to try and get all 24 of us in the shot.

Little Calumet River

Group canoeing GoPro selfie – More of the same

Afro Outdoor Chicago

Group canoeing GoPro selfie – Not much happened in the last 2 seconds

Unfortunately, I was unable to get a few of the participants in.  The canoeists in the front of the boat right next to me did not fit in.  Next time I will have to inch forward of everyone else in the caravan to make sure all can get in.

Canoeing Friends of Chicago River

Group canoeing GoPro selfie – Finally swinging my head up

Canoeing Little Calumet River

Group canoeing GoPro selfie – Everyone having a great time on the Little Calumet River

Group canoeing GoPro selfie

Group canoeing GoPro selfie –

Outdoor Afro Chicago canoeing

Breaking up the selfie monotony with a little paddling picture

Paddling the Little Calumet River

The trip with the Outdoor Afro Chicago group was sponsored by the Alliance for the Great Lakes and the trip was guided by the volunteer guides from the Friends of the Chicago River. It was three great groups enjoying a beautiful fall day on the Little Calumet River as it meanders through the Kickapoo Woods Forest Preserve. It was a little cold and crisp, but once we started paddling, everyone warmed up.

Canoeing Little Calumet River

Group canoeing GoPro selfie – Somehow I regressed to having my head back down looking at my phone

Group canoeing GoPro selfie

Group canoeing GoPro selfie – With over 20 pictures taken, there had to be a blooper or two

GoPro Little Calumet River

Group canoeing GoPro selfie – Back in business

We were all really impressed how quickly the group learned to canoe. For many it was their first time paddling. Steering a canoe can be tricky. It is not as easy as a kayak. There was a lot of zigging and zagging in the beginning, but by the end everyone was paddling like pros. I was the sweep, meaning the designated last boat, and we had to paddle hard at the end to keep up.

I have often wondered why I do not see many minorities and especially black people enjoying the outdoors. I was pleased to find there is a vibrant organization in Chicago and nationwide with a goal to change that fact.

Group canoeing GoPro selfie

Group canoeing GoPro selfie – I then started tilting the GoPro camera to try and get everyone and get different angles

Group canoeing GoPro selfie

Group canoeing GoPro selfie – From the other side of the group

Canoeing Little Calumet River

Group canoeing GoPro selfie

We started our trip from the Forest Preserves of Cook County boat launch at 1500 Jackson Street right from Ashland Street after exiting I-57. On a weekend, it is easy to reach from the north side of Chicago in 45 minutes. We finished at the boat launch in Kickapoo Woods and then turned around and paddled back. The current is not that strong, especially in October, so no one had trouble paddling upstream on the first part of the trip.

Group canoeing GoPro selfie

Group canoeing GoPro selfie

Little Calumet canoeing

Group canoeing GoPro selfie – How do I turn this darn thing off

The great part of this stretch of river is it is a perfect mix of urban and outdoor. At the beginning of the paddle we go under several bridges both car and train. There are also a few houses along the river. Next moment you are in the woods with egrets, kingfishers, and herons flying overhead and you forget you are in the Chicago area.

Little Calumet River

The Outdoor Afro Chicago group paddles towards and underpass with a train going overhead

Little Calumet River

Next thing you know we are in the Kickapoo Woods

It was a great way to end the paddling season. I look forward to next year for another Chicago River canoeing season and more great partnerships like we experienced on this day.

Adventure on!

The goal of Traveling Ted is to inspire people to outdoor adventure travel and then provide tips on where and how to go. If you liked this post then sign up for the email newsletter. Notifications are sent out once or twice a month with what is new with Traveling Ted’s adventures. There is no spam and email information will not be shared. Other e-follow options include Facebook (click on the like box to the right) or twitter (click on the pretty bird on the rainbow above).

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