A Journey Down Indiana’s White River in June 2011

This June, Harold Murphy flew to Indianapolis, paddled down the West Fork of the White River to Maysville, hitched a ride to Vincinnes, and hopped a bus home. In all, Harold paddled 135 river miles, exiting the river a bit earlier than he had expected due to flood warnings. He traveled with clothes, food, water, and his Innova Safari.

“Ahhh, the beauty of the White River. There was more solitude on the White River than civilization. Within 2-3 hours of leaving the center of Indianapolis, I entered into remote areas with beautiful rolling hills and farmland. Since the White River often goes over its banks, there were very few houses near to the river. Camping was easy and safe. There were three small (but still dangerous!) dams that were easy enough to portage around. Drinking water was a bit of a problem (I found only one fresh spring in 135 miles, but there were a few small towns and cities where I could fill up).

“The river speed was a fairly consistent 2-3 mph, at times 4 mph. No rapids, but a lot of debris in the water (the result of earlier floods).

“A few days into the White River trip, there was heavy rain in Indianapolis and points North. I was perhaps 50-80 miles below Indianapolis and that high water “followed” me. While it posed no real danger, I made sure to camp 8-10 feet above the river. As I approached Maysville, the forecast was for the White River to rise another 3-4 feet and flood the low farmlands. This didn’t present a danger, but it would have made it difficult for me to find suitable campsites and provisions. I decided to end my journey there.”

If you want to find out more about navigating the White River, author and riverlorian, Jerry Hay, has put together a White River Guidebook.

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