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Rock River kayakers reach Prophetstown; reception planned in Quad Cities Tuesday

May 25, 2014
Jon Gress, left, Garrett Feik, top, and Jake Boucher make a stop at the Nicholas Conservatory, Wednesday, May 21. (Photo by Jim Hagerty)

By Jim Hagerty
Staff Writer

It was one more day closer to home when Jake Boucher, Garrett Feik and Jon Gress rose Sunday morning, after a sleep at Prophetstown State Park (Illinois) Saturday, May 24.

Boucher and Feik are from Aledo, Ill., while Gress hails from Pekin, Ill. The team is in the last leg of the start-to-finish trek of the Rock River, a trip that began in Wisconsin’s Horicon Marsh May 13.

Along the way, they’ve met scores supporters, city officials and received keys to cities during the stretch through the 37 municipalities along the Rock River Trail. Tuesday, they will paddle to the end of the Rock—the Quad Cities, where it empties into the Mississippi.

“Only three more days until we finish our journey,” Garrett Feik said. “Right now we’re enjoying the good weather and company at Prophetstown State Park. Once again Dave and Scott joined us for today’s paddle. They even brought their wives, Lisa and Monica. We had a blast. Thank you guys for accompanying us and for the food. “We have now had two meals a day provided for us in the past six consecutive days. This goes to show the warm welcomes and support we have received. Thank you everyone.”

The paddlers will continue to Erie, Ill., Sunday, May 25, before being met Tuesday by a group of supporters at Sunset Marina in Rock Island, Ill.

The 320-mile trip is the first on record since Rockford photographer Nels Akerlund paddled the entire Rock in the early ’90s.

Boucher, Gress and Feik have taken the challenge to raise money for the Maranatha Baptist University athletic program. So far, they’ve raised about $1,000 but hope to bring in more as the trip concludes. 

Follow the trip at facebook.com/RockRiverStart2Finish. Updates are also listed at rockrivertimes.com and rockrivertrail.com.

Send donations to:

Maranatha Baptist University Sabercats
745 West Main St.
Watertown, WI 53094

Tuesday’s reception in the Quad Cities is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.