HARDIN, Illinois — Flooding along the Illinois River in Hardin has wiped out the main route to Calhoun High School, causing some students to trade in their car keys for kayak paddles.
"We are trying to make the best out of a bad situation," said student Holly Baalman.
Baalman says her normal flood-free commute is a little over ten minutes, but the new back road detour takes her about 45 minutes.
Fellow student Sydney Baalman thinks kayaking is actually safer than driving the hilly detour: "There's a bunch of hills, some real windy roads. It's kind of dangerous. It's probably actually safer to kayak. It's shorter to kayak and not as long.
Kayaking does shorten the current commute, but the girls will tell you -- it has its downfalls. Holly Baalman's book bag ended up in the river, they had to drag their kayaks through a small dry patch and they had to make it back to town in time for softball. "On the way down we definitely relaxed and took our time," teammate Sophie Lorton explains, "but on the way back to catch the bus for the softball game, we were rowing pretty quick!"
The girls didn't have their life jackets on, but they did have them on board for the trip. "We just didn't have them on because it's not that deep and we can all swim," Holly Baalman said.
Regardless of how students are getting to Calhoun High School, all of them are helping out their town. Two school days were canceled so students could spend time sandbagging.
Graduation is in a few weeks, and they're expecting the main road to still be flooded.