Kayak trip reaches Janesville, paddles into Rockford Wednesday, May 21

By Jim Hagerty
Staff Writer

Jake Boucher, Jon Gress and Garrett Feik were 117 miles into their 320-mile kayak trip of the entire Rock River Monday, May 19, as they approached Janesville, Wis., on their way to the Quad Cities.

The men battled a choppy Lake Koshkonong over the weekend, and should remain a half day ahead of schedule when they  paddle through Rockford Wednesday, May 21. Boucher, Feik and Gress are chronicling the trip on their Facebook page. 

“We started off the day bright and early hoping to get a head start on a calm Lake Koshkonong,” Feik posted. “This was not to be the case. The waves were still coming in as hard as last night (Saturday, May 17), which forced us to seek help traversing the lake. Marty Musgrove was a huge help driving us and our gear to the other end of Koshkonong. This kind act enabled us to continue our trip onward. We are now camped on another gracious farmers land south of Indianford. Tomorrow we hope to make our way through Janesville.Nehemiah 9:6: You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.”

In Janesville, the men will be met by videographer Glen Loyd, of the Janesville Gazette, before navigating dams in Janesville and Beloit, Wis. Local media and representatives of the Rock River Trail Initiative will meet them in Rockford Wednesday.

The trip marks the first since the Rock River Trail was named a national water trail in 2013. It is also the first on record in the last 20 years.

Rockford photographer Nels Akerlund paddled the river from start-to-finish in the early ’90s, recounting the experience in pictures in Our Rock River (Chelsea, 1995).

Boucher, Gress and Feik’s effort is a fundraiser for the Maranatha Baptist University athletic program. Boucher and Gress are Maranatha students, while Feik is enrolled at Western Illinois University.

Send donations to:

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

Online donations can be made HERE. The goal is to raise $10,000 to help pay for new uniforms for the athletic teams and paint the gymnasium.

Maranatha Baptist University senior Jon Gress on Lake Koshkonong Saturday, May 17. (Photo provided)