Most people call off a paddle when you have 100% chance of thunderstorms, but not us. Frank, Ben, Darrin, and I decided to not trust the Friday night forecast and go for a few miles before dark. As we paddled, we could hear the light rumble of thunder following us eastward and after only 13 miles, we set up camp in hopes to weather out the storm and get back out on the river. It was still calm, dry, and relatively quiet, but the dark clouds were definitely heading our way. We set up our tents, starting making dinner but without warning a giant wind wall came at us like a freight train. Darrin’s tent went tumbling down the island, Ben’s tent collapsed almost immediately, and strangely enough, Frank and I’s tent managed to stay standing. We yelled to each other to make sure everyone was all right and then hunkered down for what turned out to be an all night storm.
The morning came and only our tent remained standing. The four of us were wet, covered in sand, and Ben’s stuff was strewn across the island. It was a good lesson in trusting forecasts. We packed up our stuff and got back on the river. We had 22 miles to make up in order to get to Lawrence and meet up with our friends that were joining us in the afternoon. After a bad night of sleep, we still managed to make it to Lawrence by 11 am.
Two more friends met up with us for the next segment, from Lawrence to De Soto. After a long car shuttle, we didn’t get on to the river until about 2:00. The new arrivals were not intending to camp. Frank, Ben, Darrin and I still had another night on the Kaw River sand bars. It was sunny, but relatively cool out. Once we got around the Lawrence Dam, it was a relaxing and easy paddle to our campsite. We stopped about 8 miles short of De Soto and camped on a rather nice sand bar. The day-trippers continued on.
The camping conditions were perfect on Saturday night. We had clear skies to view the stars, cooler temps, no rain and nearly no wind. Frank built a giant fire and we chatted until we were too tired and went to bed. It was an easy night’s rest, especially after the epic storm from the night before.
With only 8 miles left on the river before De Soto, we decided to sleep in a little before slowly taking down camp. The sun was already high and the temps were rising, so we got on the river before it got too hot. The paddling was easy, but the navigation around sand bars was difficult, getting our boat stuck a few times along the way. At around 11:00 am we made it to the boat ramp and decided to leave the rest of the river until next week. So, next week we continue on, De Soto to Kansas City!