Sorry my post is late. Please let this video make up for it.
The excitement began Friday after work. Jon was already at my house and Kevin showed up shortly after. Jon began to load the Bronco and Kevin and I headed to end of the Kaw. Kevin and I dropped off the van and headed home. Jon and KK had the bronco covered in canoes and filled with gear.
We were really excited and the hour waiting for Derrick took forever but he showed up and we left. Rush hour traffic out of KC succeed but eventually we made it to Lawrence. The drive through town was fun as everyone stopped to look at the topless bronco covered with canoes and full of men. We had some construction slow us down and terrible service at Burger King but we eventually made it to the river.
The sun was setting as we launched and after about 15 minutes of paddling we hooked the canoes together and drifted while having a drink and watching the sun set.
We drifted for 45 minutes or so as it got darker and darker and the prospects for finding a nice campsite looked slim. The banks looked rocky and steep. Then we saw a huge light colored area across the river and paddled over. It turned out to be a massive sand bank.
It was kind of soft and very flat so we set up camp. We gathered wood and built a large fire. We set up tents and paddled around setting up a few catfish lines. We stayed up late drinking and talking about the potential for mermaids and shows on the Food Network.
We slept in a bit in the morning and then built up the fire, ate some snacks and juggled the soccer ball a while.
Eventually we broke camp and paddled on. We checked our lines and found 2 decent sized fish.
Jon and Derrick towed them behind their canoe and as we came to a fork we took the left bend and had a slow windy stretch before we realized we went around a large island and we took a way long cut with no current. Jon and Derrick were having a lot of drag from the fish and we decided to pull up to the next sand bar and clean and eat the fish.
We hurried but it took a long time to build a fire, clean the fish, burn the fire down, grill the fish and eat them. Jon covered the fish in taco seasoning and lemon and they tasted so good grilled over the fire.
After eating we paddled a long time and took a few breaks and it took us forever to get to our first bridge and the marker for 11 miles in. We realized we were 1/5th the way and had used up all of Friday and a good part of Saturday. It felt like we were paddling hard but at this rate we would never make it. We were in Eudora and had 11 more miles to Desoto and our close to 1/2 way point. We pushed it hard but the going was slow and sad. We had no current to speak of, the wind in our face, dark rain looking clouds and a very curvy river with not much excitement to look at. We made it to Desoto around 2:30 but were not feeling great about the trip at this point.
Kevin, Jon and KK headed into town while Derrick and I guarded the canoes. The guys found the grocery store to be closed and the town to suck. They eventually got some random food and more beer and ice at a gas station and came back about an hour later. We packed up the coolers and hit the river again. A number of things really changed the day around at this point in our minds. #1 we had cold beer and were thirsty also the sun came out, we were dieing to get out of that town and we still had a long way to go.
We were worn out but the beer boost got us going. We made great time cruising paddling faster and faster down the river. We hit it hard for an hour or two before stopping to cool off, go to the bathroom and rest.
We went swimming and pumped ourselves up then hit the river continuing the speedy pace. We saw some dredging boats and houses and eventually could hear a concert at Sandstone. All this kept morale high we were really excited when we saw the next bridge and knew we had made it another 11 miles and were in Bonner Springs. The banks had been like in the picture above and we were prepared to sleep on rocks but when we saw a nice sand bank after the bridge we pulled over. It was not dark yet but getting close. We quickly gathered a lot of firewood then Jon and I went to set 7 limb lines and 1 trot line while the other guys got the fire going, started preparing dinner and got the tents up.
Jon and I felt good about our fishing situation and returned to help with dinner
We cut up most of the potatoes, 1/2 and onion and 5 cheddar brauts and tossed them in the pan with some beer and butter.
Things started smelling really good and then we ate and it was fantastic. Were pretty hungry and easily chowed through the whole thing. We were not full but no longer starving. After eating we had a few drinks and discussed how sore and stiff we would get and talked about DNA and genetics and natural selection for a while before heading to bed a little after 10pm.
We slept in till 7 then tried to get an early start on the day. Jon and I headed to the catfish lines and the first had a lot of empty hooks and a turtle. We cut him free and got rid of the line then checked our limbs. The first one was moving and the line was heavy. I heaved and it popped out of the water and landed in out boat. The hooked ripped through his mouth as I was moving him and he was loose and angry in our boat. Jon and I fought him in a loud brutal battle before getting him tied up and safely lashed to the boat. We found a line snapped and another tangled and eventually another fish. This one was not as big as the first but bigger then anything we had caught the day before. We tied him up too and brought them to camp.
Of course afterwords it was picture time.
Both Fish, note the bridge in the background too.
Me with the ~15lbs beast
KK showing the big head and belly.
We got some coals ready and cleaned the big guys. Then tossed them on the grill spreading out the last of the taco seasoning as best as we could. We also put the rest of the potatoes and onions in a pot and then 10 eggs and a few slices of cheese. This was easily the biggest meal of the trip.
After forcing all of this great food into our stomachs we headed out again. We were feeling pretty good and did great all day. The big meal gave strength to our worn out arms, backs and shoulders.
6 miles in we passed a bridge and 2 miles more we came to a dam. We carried our canoes along the edge and it was rocky but much easier then we had expected. We had a brief area of rapids then the river went back to its slow no current pace. We kept after it going hard and passed more and more bridges getting closer and closer together.
We stopped for a small lunch and finished off almost the rest of our food. The sunny day had gotten cloudy but we were were close enough we just paddled on getting closer and closer to the Missouri river.
We passed a bend and then then downtown was visible. We were ready for a break but pushed on until we could see the fast current of the Missouri and other people out paddling around.
Then we pulled up to the boat ramp, dragged the canoes up and took a success picture.
The rest of the day was a tired blur of strapping to the van, unloading, showering, eating, relaxing and getting to bed plenty early.
The trip proved to be a lot tougher then planned but we had toughed it out and made it and we had a lot of fun on the way.