One thing I’ve learned during my recent explorations with Prairie Fire is that Kansas has unusually consistent good weather – much more so than anywhere else I’ve lived. Having no intention of letting that good weather go to waste, I decided to keep the Prairie Fire trips rolling. Despite our recent difficulties on the Republican River, and my public proclamation that there would be no more paddling trips this year, I planned a another paddling trip. Luckily when we arrived at Munkers Creek, there was plenty of water. The four of us launched our kayaks at the boat ramp down an unnamed road off of 177. The surface of the river was blanketed by a collage of green, yellow, and red leaves that parted as we paddled through. The herons and cormorants were out and about. And although it was windy, the steep rocky banks blocked most of it and kept the waters pretty calm. We went north about 1.5 miles before the water abruptly dried up. We turned back and paddled south toward Council Grove Lake for about a half mile until the strong winds and choppy waters thwarted us. Finally, we headed up a tributary called Short Creek for about a mile. We had to maneuver around some log jams until we got to a point that was entirely impassable so we returned to the cars. We paddled 5.75 miles total. For a late lunch, we went to the Hays House in Council Grove, the oldest restaurant west of the Mississippi River.
The best way to plan a trip on Munkers Creek is to pick up a copy of Paddling Kansas by Dave Murphy. There’s a copy at the Manhattan Library. It’s also sold at many local book stores which I encourage you to buy from rather than amazon.