The Gritty

The Gritty - 33 miles of sun, sand, and sorrow.
Saturday May 20, 2016


The Kaw, as she is known by the locals, is a work in progress… even by river standards. Bare sandbars you could camp on a few years ago, are now forests of cottonwoods. Cornfields that used to line cut banks are now part of the river, and deep channels that you used to count on for easy passage have swapped places with gravel riffles that grab your boat and make you doubt your memory.

But all that makes it such a great little river. While the Missouri River has been artificially preserved by wing dikes and riprap, the Kaw maintains most of her independence and likes to redecorate from time to time. So, you never get bored enjoying the Kansas River. There are no reruns.

The Kansas River “Gritty” is a canoe and kayak race meant to showcase this under used recreational beauty. Starting in Lawrence at the 8th street access and winding across the eastern valley to Edwardsville, this race is 33 miles of non-stop tests for your boat, your shoulders and your navigation skills.

Expect to see all sorts of boats lined up… battle scarred aluminum canoes next to sleek, carbon fiber needles that look more like aircraft than rivercraft. But the Kaw is the great equalizer. Someone in a more modest boat, who knows the latest version of the river, could put up a pretty good fight against a $3000 boat that has trouble finding the channel.

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