Reflections on Chasing the 173-Mile-Long Channel

Reflections on Chasing the 173-Mile-Long Channel

Photo by Lisa Grossman

When we arrived at beautiful Kaw Point Park in Kansas City, there were so many emotions. I was thankful that we all made it, thankful that everyone was healthy, thankful that my own body completed the tasks, and thankful for 9 days of memories that will see me through the coldest days of winter.

I was also very grateful and overjoyed to see so many people at Kaw Point Park. This beautiful park only became a park thanks to the efforts of a non-profit (Friends of Kaw Point Park), started by our very own Mike Calwell, and a board of dedicated river lovers. Mike would have loved our arrival at Kaw Point.

We were greeted by many of our long time members, staff and board members, but the one that made my heart so happy was to see former Kansas Riverkeeper, Laura Calwell, there to greet us. She worked long and hard for the Kansas River for so many years. She has continued to support our work and continued, to this day, to be a mentor to me in our work for the Kansas River.

Photo by David Sain
Eagle tracks, dragging a carp. One of our daily investigations on the sandbar!

If I was to be totally honest here, I was not ready to get off the river. I enjoyed the peacefulness of no news and the absolute bonding of friendships that occurred on our journey. I did not want to leave the sandbar fire talks, the investigation each evening of animal tracks, the laughter, the sharing of joy and frustration, sleeping in my little tent with everything I need tucked inside, paddling along the banks of the Kaw and observing wildlife peacefully living in their home, and the absolute freedom of paddling a river and going wherever you want. No, I did not want to leave…but I did miss my husband, family and my labrador retrievers. My husband and I joke that it’s really about the dogs! But I’m truthfully ready to go back and get lost in the peacefulness of the Kaw once again.

I enjoyed every minute of the KAW 173….and I hope that you did too. Thank you for following along. Our hope is that you saw the beauty and that you saw that the river is more you ever imagined. We hope you saw that there are still wild spaces in Kansas and most of you drive over it every day. We hope that you will plan your own adventure on the Kansas River – and we hope you give us a call or send an email – and let us know how we can help you connect to the Kansas River. Our tag line is…protect, advocate, discover…and that’s what we hope you do too.

Thanks for following along…join me sometime to “Chase the Channel”…until then, I’ll be on the river.

For the river,

Dawn Buehler

Kansas Riverkeeper & Executive Director

The MERC Co+Op Change Program Recipient

The MERC Co+Op Change Program Recipient


Friends….we have been selected as The MERC Co+Op Change for our Community Recipient for August 2020!  Please join us to shop at The MERC Co+Op located at 901 Iowa St, Lawrence, KS 66044 during the month of August (and all year long!) and round up to donate to Friends of the Kaw!

During the month of August, we will highlight the “Kansas River and Food Connection” with a 3 part series.  Learn about “Agriculture along the Kansas River”, “Drinking Water and the Kansas River” and “”Ways to Protect the Kansas River”.  Stop by our table and learn more about these connections to our river.  We will be at The MERC, outside at a table, during the month of August :

Every Wednesday from 4:00 to 6:00 PM
Every Saturday from 9:00 to 11:00 AM! 

Come learn about the Kansas River, our work to protect it, and how you can get involved.  

We are so grateful for this opportunity…so please join us to thank the fine folks at The Merc when you drop in, for their efforts to help us protect the Kansas River!  Learn more about The MERC Change for our Community Program here:  https://www.themerc.coop/change

See you there!  

KAW 173 – Day 9

KAW 173 - Day 9 River Mile 19 and kayaked 19 miles to River Mile 0 on the Kansas River Water Trail. I woke early and couldn’t sleep. I think the anticipation of the day ahead kept my mind from settling down. We had stayed on a beautiful, … [Continue reading]

KAW 173 – Day 8

KAW 173 - Day 8 River Mile 43 and kayaked 24 miles to River Mile 19 on the Kansas River Water Trail. When dawn broke this morning, we all agreed we really had the best night of sleep of the entire trip. The temperatures last night were a … [Continue reading]