Outdoor adventures – for anyone…for everyone

by Erin Schmidt

On the top of my list of favorite outdoor adventures are full moon trips on the Kaw River. Our first trip was during the summer of 2020 – right in the middle of the pandemic. Seemed like a great way to spent time with friends – some old, some we just met that night – outdoors, in a covid safe way. We loaded up our canoe, paddled as we watched the sun set and the moon rise. We stopped on a sandbar for a campfire, drinks and visiting under the light of the moon. It was a very memorable and magical evening.

For Christmas this year, we received this painting of a canoe in the moonlight from my brother, Casey. He painted this scene before we ever had the idea of a full moon float. Casey has Down Syndrome and one of the great programs offered to people with disabilities is his community is a painting program. An artist mentors the painters and the end results are spectacular. On his own, Casey would not be able to paint such masterpieces, but it is amazing what we can do with a little help from friends.

I feel 38N and its members are similar – serving as mentors, introducing others to Kansas outdoor adventures that are self-supported, self-sustained. Their mission is not only about outdoor adventures and storytelling – it’s also about spreading the word, growing the outdoor enthusiast community. I’m so grateful for the help from our 38N friends in renewing our excitement for being outdoors and introducing us to adventures under the full moon.

Backtrack for a minute to that canoe we loaded up for our first full moon outing. Some folks have all the outdoor gear – but that isn’t us. Our neighbors in Kansas City gifted us their old canoe when we moved to this area. We made our maiden voyage on the Kaw in that vessel, and it’s been out on other full moon trips with friends. We have another friend who has 2 kayaks that she rarely uses, and we offered to store them in a covered building for her, and she generously lets us use them – so they have accompanied us on several other moonlit outings. We have vessels for 4 passengers and try to make sure all 4 seats are filled when the moon is full. We are grateful to these friends for helping equip us for these magical evenings.

The University of Kansas has an equipment rental program called Outdoor Pursuits that has very affordable rates. Canoes, kayaks and paddleboards rent for $7-9/day and $21-27/week. They also rent tents/sleeping bags, backpacks, hammocks, climbing shoes, cooking supplies and more. This could be an affordable option for folks to join in on outdoor adventures. Other communities in Kansas may have similar gear rental programs to help encourage folks to get out and enjoy nature.

Are you ready to get out and explore the great outdoors? Check with your outdoor-loving friends who might be able to serve as a mentor and/or join in on your adventure. If equipment is holding you back, ask around, check out equipment lending in your community.

See you out there…