KAW 173 – Day 3

KAW 173 – Day 3

River Mile 141 and kayaked 18 miles to River mile 123 on the Kansas River Water Trail

We made it another day and we are grateful!

Taking a cue from my paddle teammate and friend, David, I’m voice recording my thoughts along the way today down the river.

We shoved off from the sandbar on a crisp morning. Blue sky, puffs of clouds, cool water, and a beautiful start to the day. We only have 6 miles to go to St George, so we are taking our time and enjoying the river. And as I write this blog this morning, I literally just saw a beaver dive into the Kaw. A few minutes later, a bald eagle atop a dead tree branch. So much wildlife on the Kaw.

After a slow ride, we arrived at St George early, and that’s fine with our team. A little time to sit in the shade, take a nap, or walk into St George. We love St George, a beautiful river town and so close to the boat ramp. A few of my teammates walked into town for both a walk and to look around and brought back coffee. Later, our teammate Kim brought pizza from Willies Hideout, our treat for the day!

We had a great group join our Public Paddle from St George to Wamego. We enjoyed visiting with all of them, each one has a cool story about their experience with the Kaw. We enjoyed a very refreshing sit in the water at a sandbar, that we have dubbed the “Kaw Spa”, an original 173 Team term for our sand baths while soaking away the day’s sun.

Arriving in Wamego, an equally beautiful river town, also walking distance to the downtown deli or the coffee shop! Nestled in a beautiful park setting, the Wamego Ramp is a nice stop along the trail. We departed our friends – some old and some new – and headed down the river. We made it another 6 miles and found a perfect backside island with shade to share stories of the day and rest off the heat and fatigue. We are hoping for another miss with thunderstorms, but we are camped in a protected area for the night.

Today we saw beaver, bald eagles, ducks, blue jay, two owls and many tracks on the sandbar. Mostly, this was a day to enjoy our friends. Thanks for following along, we’ve made it exactly 50 miles total today!

For the river,

Dawn, Your Kansas Riverkeeper

KAW 173 Journey – Day 2

River Mile 167 and kayak 26 miles to River Mile 141 of the Kansas River Water Trail

We made it from just downstream of Junction City all the way to halfway between Manhattan and St. George… and boy was it hot! We’ve experienced many Kansas summers on the Kaw and we’ve learned how to be prepared. Four of us have shade umbrellas on our kayaks and before you make fun of that, know this…they work! We also take many breaks along the way to sit in the shade and sit in the river because the cooling water can actually cool you off really quickly. And lastly, we are really diligent about hydrating. Many many thanks to Kim, our program manager, who is meeting us along the way with freshwater and on days like today, cold watermelon! Big thanks also to one of our guides’ wife in Manhattan who brought us cold drinks which was such a fabulous treat!

Today we had a public paddle and a community event in Manhattan! We are so grateful to all of those that came and celebrated the trail with us. We enjoyed visiting with the mayor of Manhattan, and many other public servants that works so tireless for the community. Just think of all the possibilities along the river trail in this community, from kayak storage lockers to bike rentals to get you downtown. We look forward to developing these opportunities with Manhattan!

Today was another stellar day of wildlife and we saw many bald eagles and herons again, a few beavers and so many birds that it’s hard to remember them all.

I’m going to sign off for tonight and enjoy dinner on the sandbar and what I’m sure will be a beautiful sunset. We are looking forward to 85 degrees tomorrow! See you in St George!

For the river,

Dawn, Kansas Riverkeeper

KAW 173 – Day 1

KAW 173 Journey – Day 1

River Mile 173 and kayaked 6 miles to River Mile 167 of the Kansas River Water Trail

On this beautiful summer afternoon, we launched from Junction City onto the Republican River and paddled our kayaks to where it meets the Smoky Hill River and the Kansas River begins. Seven of us are making this journey together to raise awareness about the Kansas River Water Trail amd we are excited to see all of you either at the public paddles or the community events!

Along the way, we enjoyed the beauty that only this river can offer in our beautiful state of Kansas. We enjoyed the calm, cool waters of the river when we stopped for a break at a sandbar. We cooled off and then continued on our journey. It felt wonderful to be in no hurry, and just simply let our boats flow with the river… and immerse ourselves in nature.

Along the way we saw a ton of wildlife today. it is not uncommon to see many Blue heron on the Kansas River, and today we saw seven. We also saw three bald eagles, a kingfisher, fish crow, 20 Canada geese, and even quietly rolled up on a beaver sitting on the banks!

As I sit here on this beautiful sandbar, and reflect on the day… I can hear a bobwhite quail. We also were surprised when our KSU professor entomologist paddler discovered a tiger beetle larva on the sandbar! Let’s just say it’s been a great day for wildlife!

We are all set up for the night, believe me when I tell you that there is nothing better than camping on a Kansas River sandbar… Good night all. See you tomorrow out on the river!

Chasing the Channel – Blog No. 3

Chasing the Channel – Blog No. 3

By now, you may have seen or heard all of our noise around the KAW 173 Journey. Yep, that’s us. We are about to get really loud! We hope that all of our friends can join us along the way – either at the Community Visits at the boat ramp or on the river with one of our Public Paddles (please wear life jackets on the river and masks on the ramp). You can learn more here: http://kansasriver.org/kaw173-jc-to-kc-on-the-water-trail/

I’ve certainly learned a thing or two over the years about planning a river trip, but this takes it to a whole new level. Planning for the folks to meet us and the public outreach is one thing, but the really challenging part has been to set the river schedule, set a pace, and make sure we have enough water to drink. We think we’ve got it all planned out, but I’m smart enough to know we don’t have it all figured out. What I do know is that we have great people that have rogered up to help us along the way – and for that I am very grateful.

Speaking of grateful – let me share a little with you about the team that I am kayaking with for 173 miles and 8 days. These 6 people have been long time volunteers for Friends of the Kaw as well as one of our long time Board members. These are people that know the river, know kayaking, camping and outdoor survival. I am honored to be on this journey with them and I know that they’ve got my back – and I’ve got theirs. We’ve paddled many miles together, camped many nights together on sandbars – and we are ready. We depart this Friday, July 17 from Junction City and will arrive at Kaw Point Park on Saturday, July 25 – if all goes as “planned”.

I’ve decided that for me – this is a journey of myself as much as it is for Friends of the Kaw. I plan to immerse myself in the calling of the river, listen to the wildlife as I meander through their home, and enjoy my friends and their gifts to the journey. I plan to be “present over perfect” – and live in the moment. We would love for you to join us – be present – and immerse yourself in the beauty of the river.

I will be writing a blog, such as this, every evening to share my experience. It will be as much a gift to myself to write about it, but I do hope that you find some value in the words on the page.

So join us – either in person, through the writing of our blog, or on one of our social media channels – let us help you connect to the Kansas River. We could use your good thoughts, good vibes, prayers, energy – whatever the earth and universe can share – we could use it! See you – literally “on the river”!

Dawn, your Kansas Riverkeeper