This past weekend I traveled to the southeast part of the state to participate in a pair of SDCKA events. Saturday was the annual President's cruise and Sunday was a Skunk Creek cleanup. I met up with friends at President Jarett Bies's (that has a nice ring to it) home, northeast of Vermilion. Friends present were Matt Story, Willard Story, Cory Diedrich, Roger Debates, Kati Albers, Mark Henderson, and, obviously, Jarett and his wife, Laura.
We spent time catching up with each other sitting around a campfire late into the night before heading to bed. We also loaded gear and boats onto Cory's trailer. A few of us camped behind the house and a couple crashed in the spare bedrooms. When we got up in the morning, the temp was around 40 degrees. After some coffee, we headed to Myron Grove (the take-out) to drop off Matt;s truck (with Roger's trailer).
We then proceeded to Gavin's Point Dam. Most of the group for the day would be meeting at Riverside Park in Yankton, but our crew (Matt, Willard, Roger, Kati, and I) wanted a few extra miles. Cory dropped us off and Kati met us at the boat ramp near the entrance to the White Crane campground. There was not room for everyone in Cory's truck. Cory then headed back to Yankton to meet up with Jarett and Mark to shuttle trailers/trucks to Myron Grove.
|Preparing to launch from Gavin's Point Dam (Photo courtesy of Roger Debates).|
It proved to be a fast 4.7 miles down to Riverside Park. Also, fyi, Roger was paddling Jarett's Current Designs Sirroco. He is in the market for a longer boat than his Carolina and is eyeing a P&H Delphi.
|Riverside Park in Yankton
(Photo courtesy of Roger Debates).|
|45+ paddlers prepare to depart Riverside Park in Yankton.|
We made it to Riverside Park before Mark, Jarett, and Cory were back from shuttling. Lisa Yager (NPS) and Tim Cowman (Missouri River Institute) were running the show when we arrived. There were about 40+ boats waiting around, mostly from DJ's rental service.
|Matt Story (foreground) and Mark Henderson (background)|
|L to R: Kati Albers, Cory Diedrich, and Willard Story.|
The rest of the cruise was uneventful. Maybe a little long and tiring for those paddling rec boats, but more of a BS session for our crew. It is actually a nice change of pace from the recent cruises I have done with Matt and Roger. I had some nice discussions with all of my friends during the trip.
|Up close and personal with Cory Diedrich :-)|
We ended up covering a total of 21.6 miles during the cruise; 16.9 miles from Yankton to Myron Grove. It was a great cruise for less experienced paddlers to give them an idea what the kayak challenge was like. This was the first section of the race (start to check point 1).
|Mark Henderson and his shiny new (to him) boat.|
|Our fearless leader, Jarett Bies.|
Roger and I spent Saturday night at Matt's place; the scout camp next to Newton Hills State Park. On Sunday, Roger and I headed into Sioux Falls to hit up Scheels. I also met up with my sister for coffee. We then met up with Matt, Cory, Steven Dahlmeier, Dave and Mary Fink, Ryan Snuggerud, Jay Heath, and others to cleanup a section of Skunk Creek. We spent about 3 hours pulling trash out between Legacy Park and Dunham Park.
|Roger Debates (Photo courtesy of Steven Dahlmeirer).|
|L to R: Ryan Snuggerud, Cory Diedrich, Patrick Wellner
(Photo courtesy of Steven Dahlmeirer).|
|Foreground (L to R): Cory Diedrich and Matt Story. (Photo courtesy of Steven Dahlmeirer).|
Afterwards, Matt, Ryan, and I hit up Buffalo Wild Wings for a late lunch or early supper before I hit the road back to Pierre.
Overall, it was a great weekend spent with great friends.