On a recent kayaking excursion, we thought we’d paddle the clear water (by KS standards) of Lake Wilson and paddle the coves where limestone bluffs are found. We stayed at the famous Midland Hotel in Wilson where some of Paper Moon was filmed.
Unfortunately, the wind the day we were there was howling and much too high to enjoy open water kayaking. The proprietors of the hotel were kind enough to shuttle us and our boats to a stretch of the Smoky Hill River that they had recently run by canoe. In that part of Kansas, the river only crosses private property so without their help, we’d have never found a place to put in or take out.
The Smoky Hill was running pretty good for a Kansas river and sand bars and overhanging trees were pervasive so this made navigating the river more than just a float trip. Coupled with the “swift” water, it made the paddling excursion very enjoyable even though it was a bit short. The river snakes through so much protection in this area that the high winds typical to this area were not a problem. We really enjoyed running the river in our Wilderness Systems Tsunamis that we bought from Lynn at the Peculiar store.
The Wilson Hotel is a very quaint place to stay although the town of Wilson, like many small KS towns, is struggling to stay alive. Tom and Heddy, the gracious hosts of the hotel really saved this trip for us. At the time we stayed there, the hotel had just changed hands and the restaurant wasn’t yet open, however I’ve recently read that it is now up and running.
Paddler: Streve and Reea L. Kayak: Wilderness Systems Tsunamis Optional Equipment: Rear Rudder Trip Location: Smokey Hill River near Wilson, Kansas.
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