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River raving

We met up with Dr. Greg & his daughter Kayla in Parkville today and rode the river back to Kansas City.

Greg had recently acquired a sweet vintage aluminum canoe and was itching to get it out on the river, and I’d been stoked about spending some more time on the Mighty Mo after the Trashboat Regatta (yep, I’m hooked!) Joel had gone out with a couple of friends the week before and arranged to borrow Mike’s extra kayak for the following week.

Joel took this, and all following photos.

I don’t know if you can make out the expression on my face, but it’s a grin of almost face-cramping proportions. I was really, really having a good time. I dig this whole kayaking thing a whole lot. I was having a lot of fun just paddling back and forth between Greg’s canoe and Joel’s kayak, practicing turning around, slowing up, etc. I am looking forward to getting better at maneuvering it, and just plain getting out on the water more regularly. Sometime after we get our job situations more stable, I think we’re going to be looking to buy a couple of secondhand kayaks!

We came upon the most peculiar crenelated belvedere of some kind. My guess is that at some point in time it was connected with riverboat/barge shipping or other navigation, but who knows? It’s obviously been in disuse for quite a while; all the window glass is broken out and there’s a small tree growing out of the roof.

Downtown skyline in a haze of humidity – it was a very hot and muggy day, but down on the river, it felt pretty good.

Kayla & Greg cruising along. Whenever they got well in the channel, that canoe slipped along pretty darn smoothly. It seemed to handle the wake from a sand-barge with fair grace, as well.

Landing the canoe at Kaw Point. It felt a little disturbing to deliberately run aground up the boat-ramp, but apparently that’s the way you do it. When Joel took this picture, I was clumsily stirring my way upstream toward the ramp. I kept getting myself crossed up in the current and spinning wide, lazy loop-di-loos. I think I made three complete circles before I got the hang of it and was able to land!

It was a damn fine day to be out on the river. The river is still surprisingly high, so we didn’t have to worry too much about sand-bars. There were a couple of suspicious looking sinks/whirlpools, a bit of whitewatery looking stuff indicating sunken hazards, and the disturbing wake left by a river-boat pushing a barge loaded with sand dredged up from the channel. We were keeping our eyes open for trouble, though, and managed to steer clear of mishap. I must admit that the choppiness of the wake had me fairly severely nervous, and I felt kind of sick to my stomach before we got out of it. I did as Joel said and kept my kayak pointed into the waves and just rolled with them.

We saw a lot of wildlife, mostly avian, while we were out. Easily 20 blue herons, probably a dozen hawks, and several generations of geese. I got to see a gaggle of late-season goslings disporting themselves alongside the bank. They were leaving the water as I passed, hopping nimbly up the sandy riverbanks and waddling away into the weeds. They were still at that grey-and-yellow fuzzy stage that is so gawkily adorable. Greg and Kayla spotted a large emission of heron poop, but I feel fortunate that I missed that spectacle. Greg reported that the better portion of a whole fish carcass was represented. Can you say “eeeewwww!”? I know I can!

I told Joel that I think I may consider paddling about on the river to be one of those supremely theraputic things, like mountain biking or lighting off smoke bombs. I don’t know if I have ever waxed poetic about my love of smoke bombs here before, but I do seriously dig lighting them off. I know they’re pansy fireworks, fit only for children and the feebleminded, but I find something about them deeply calming and satisfying. I have, when beset by a lingering melancholy, found great improvement in my state of mind after burning off a baggie of smoke bombs. Due to my impecunious state this year, I didn’t re-stock my supply, but when I was cleaning my workroom today, I discovered two more baggies of smoke bombs left over from last year. I’m saving them for a really urgent need.

That being explained, I expect few people will enjoy the following video as much as I did, but here is a 5 minute video of some kids burning off smoke-bombs.
[youtube = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FvkwaqSAmA]

2 Responses to “River raving”

  1. TomInLawrence says:

    That’s an old water intake tower. While most of ’em have been demolished, there are still a few around.

  2. meetzorp says:

    Wow! Thank you for the information. I think I’d have been left wondering for the rest of my natural days otherwise. That’s a bit of knowledge that appears to be on its way to disappearing.

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