Home stretch for Rock River paddlers
By Jim Hagerty
A landmark kayak trip of the Rock River will be completed Tuesday, May 27, as three college students from Illinois are scheduled to arrive in Rock Island, Ill., 15 days after embarking on the journey in Wisconsin.
“Plenty of people out enjoying the Rock River on this gorgeous holiday weekend,” kayaker Garrett Feik, of Aledo, Ill., posted to Facebook. “We’re now in Rock Island County, so we know the end is near. It’s going to be bittersweet. We’re ready to see family and friends but the experience has been so impactful on us we almost don’t want it to end. God has blessed us on this adventure. Hope to see everyone Tuesday!”
Feik, along with Maranatha Baptist University students, Jon Gress and Jake Boucher, will have paddled the entire Rock River when they reach the mouth of the Mississippi Tuesday. The trip is a fundraiser for Maranatha’s sports program. Boucher, also of Aledo, and Gress, of Pekin, Ill., are students at Maranatha. Feik is enrolled at Western Illinois University.
They were guided in-part by Frank Schier, founder of the Rock River Trail, trail councilmen, citizens, and government officials along the Rock. Supporters provided food, shelter, rides around dams and fellowship. Feik, Boucher and Gress were also given keys to Rock Falls, Ill., last week.
The trip is the first start-to-finish paddle of the Rock River since the Rock River Trail was added to the National Water Trail System in 2013. Schier founded the trail in 2010.
The public is invited to welcome the paddlers home at 5:30 p.m., at Sunset Marina, in Rock Island.
Send donations to:
Maranatha Baptist University Sabercats
745 West Main St.
Watertown, WI 53094
Online donations can be made at mbbc.edu/kayak/.