Rock River kayakers chilly, yet on schedule: Day 2

By Jim Hagerty
Staff Writer

The three university students headed for the Quad Cities by kayak down the Rock River began the third of their 18-day trip slightly later than planned Thursday, May 15. However, Jon Gress, Jake Boucher and Garrett Feik didn’t allow morning rain and unseasonably brisk temperatures to delay the trip long enough to disrupt their itinerary.

“It wasn’t really a hard rain, but we decided to wait until it broke,” Boucher, a Maranatha Baptist University sophomore, said from the water Thursday morning. “It was pretty chilly, but it wasn’t that bad.”

After a comfortable sleep at Harnischfeger Park, in Lebanon, Wis., Feik, Gress and Boucher are now on the more-than-20-mile leg to Ixonia, Wis., in Jefferson County.  From there, the Rock River turns east toward Watertown, Wis. According to the trip itinerary, the men should paddle into Rockford on Day 9, bringing them downtown near the Rockford Public Library Wednesday, May 21. Their trip, which began in the Horicon Marsh, near Waupun, Wis., spans the entire 320 miles of the Rock River. The Rock is now part of the National Water Trail System. Feik, Gress and Boucher are the first paddlers to attempt the trip since the designation.

The trip is a fundraiser for the Maranatha Baptist University (formerly Maranatha Baptist Bible College) athletic program. The goal is to raise $10,000 to help paint the gym, purchase new uniforms and cloth the new mascot. Maranatha’s athletic teams are formerly known as the Crusaders and changed their name to the Sabercats as part of a re-branding campaign.

Follow the journey down the Rock River Trail at,rockrivertimes.comand

Send donations to:

Jake Boucher celebrates the break in weather Thursday, May 15. (Photo provided)

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

Online donations can be made at