The Turkey River is one of Clayton County’s paddling treasures, and is very popular among those seeking adventures on the Turkey River Water Trail. To celebrate the scenic waterway, the Clayton County Conservation Awareness Network and Turkey River Recreational Corridor band together to put on the annual Murky Turkey Flotilla, starting in the Elkader’s Founders Park and ending at the Motor Mill Historic Site. It’s a day to sit back in an inner tube, paddle in a kayak, or float anyway you’d want to! On a mid-July day, nothing beats a relaxing float down the Turkey River.
When summertime is on the rise, I shiver with anticipation to get on the river. The feeling of the sun on my face, interrupted by the sudden cool splash of water was the sensation I longed for during the long winter months, waiting for the water to thaw. Naturally, when I heard about the Murky Turkey Flotilla in Elkader, I packed up my inner tube and joined the party on the river with my cooler for lunch at the Motor Mill. Some people had brought canoes, others brought kayaks, and one came in just arm floaties! I joined the party floating down the river, and soon the live music entertainment set sail. You read that correctly, live music was played from the bow of a boat! Anyone who hasn’t heard a rowboat being used as a kick drum is really missing out.
Our floating party had kicked off, and I was having a blast. There was absolutely no rush, and even those in canoes and kayaks paddled just enough to stay with the rest of the group, while the live band provided us with entertainment. The melodic sound of the guitar filled the water trail with music and resonated through the bluffs while the thump of the boat gave a unique twist to the classic boom of the kick drum. Everybody on the river just sat back as the group floated closer and closer to the final destination, the Motor Mill. It was very tempting to fall asleep to the sound of the music playing as the river flowed ever so gently, birds flying by overhead.
Once our group reached the Motor Mill, everyone pulled out of the water and gathered their lunch. The rubber material of my inner tube squeaked and squelched throughout my effort to get out of it before a fellow floater helped pull me out of the water. At last, my well-deserved lunch was ready to be devoured. I unwrapped my ham sandwich and spread a nice dollop of tangy mustard and creamy mayonnaise across the top slice of bread. I took a big bite of the sandwich and savored the meat paired with a crisp leaf of lettuce. It was a perfect day to go floating down the Turkey River, and the full floating party made it that much better. It was a unique experience I couldn’t find anywhere else, and all I had to do was float down the river while beat of the rowboat kick drum followed us down.