July 19th, 2009


kanopolis weekend

Last night we drove off to camp at Kanopolis state park. I'd been there years ago to do a 10K run but hadn't ever camped. I enjoy camping though, and have several other friends who are interested in scoping out locations for weekend escapes. Nothing complicated, just spots 1-2 hours from Wichita where we can set up tents, cook over a fire, lay on a beach, swim, walk around.

So we did a one night camp which I realized is fairly pointless. You end up packing just as much crap and spending the same amount of time preparing as you would if you were camping two or three nights.

We arrived Saturday morning and drove around entirely too much, because the maps aren't great and we weren't totally sure where to camp. We finally found the Langley area, where we knew we could camp without sleeping next to horse trailers, and then followed a road to the Caving Banks Campground which seemed nice enough. It was RIGHT on the beach... and I mean right there, we snuck down this little 20 ft trail and there was the swimming area, roped off and safe from boats, lots of sand. Our site was also reasonably flat, and a very short walk from showers and bathrooms. It's called a "primitive campsite" because there's not a place to plug in your trailer. Of course we all found it amusing that even when you camp in a "primitive" spot you still have mowed grass, a metal fire ring and grill, your own picnic table, access to flush toilets and hot showers. I've camped in much more primitive spots... but I guess since we go the tent route, we're roughing it.

We made a fire and cooked some hot dogs. Weather was perfect... it was in the mid-80s all weekend, unseasonably cool for Kansas, last week it'd been 100 the whole time. The lack of shade at our campsite was annoying but the view of the water was nice. There were six of us. My sister and her husband, two of our friends from Wichita, Marc and me.

After lunch we went swimming and laid out on the beach. We came back, changed clothes and some of us walked around to explore a bit. That's when we learned we should have found the Mulberry Campground... it was also within walking distance, but had SHADE TREES which would have been really nice because now we were all sunburned and by the morning we'd be worse. It was also dead quiet out there, but still within walking distance to everything. Sure, it was probably 1/4 mile to the beach, but since we did one walk to go swim and lots of walking/juggling to find shade, next time we'll be going there.

There were kabobs for dinner and then we sat around the campfire drinking and talking for a long time. We watched the sunset over the lake, and there was some kind of church service going on a ways from where we were but it was basically quiet. Oh, and we could see boaters on the lake, and tried to call out when a tube rider was about to catch air and end his ride tragically.

Our vehicle passes expired at noon the next day so we pretty much got up and packed in the morning, after my brother-in-law made us all a nice breakfast and I drank all the camp coffee I could possibly want. We drove a tiny ways to mushroom rock state park, to see some nifty rock formations and take some pictures. And then drove home.

It was a nice weekend. Of course I still like float trips but it's getting tougher to convince my crews to drive a long ways to a nice river. Camping is dirt cheap, close to home and very relaxing... I never get to catch up on reading on a float trip, and when you're in a canoe you spend a lot of time talking to the other person in your canoe instead of everyone. Now that I know more about kanopolis I'll have more fun next time we're there.