New Year's Day. A day for considering your new year, perhaps contemplating resolutions, and for some, an opportunity to participate in traditions. Several years ago, two Tripoli residents and outdoor enthusiasts, Darrin Siefken and Kip Ladage, chose to dip their kayaks into the Wapsipinicon River east of town on New Year's Day. They enjoyed the experience so much that they chose to continue this over the years and invited friends to join them, including me. Thus, creating an unusual and exciting tradition of which new converts are brought in each year.
Eight years ago Darrin opened a business in Waverly, Crawdaddy Outdoors. In the years since, the business has sponsored the float and the numbers have continued to grow. A few years ago, a high of forty participants engaged in this invigorating afternoon, which in some years is followed by kayaking down the local sled hill! Ice conditions determine the location for the float, which has been in various locations on the Wapsipinicon and the Cedar River.
This year, twenty-six people participated. We entered the Cedar River east of Plainfield at the access point associated with North Cedar Park, a Bremer County Conservation Board area. Safety is always a primary concern, but fun is definitely on the docket! Most people were on the water for thirty to sixty minutes, which included posing for a group photo. This year ,the group added seven new floaters. Will you be tempted to join the tradition next year?
Once the kayaks are loaded, the paddles are packed and the life jackets are removed, the group gathers around a vehicle to reminisce and share stories while drinking hot cider, hot cocoa, hot tea, or instant coffee. It is a tradition of which I am proud to participate, and eager to share. Hope you consider joining us on the adventure next New Year's Day!
(Photo of the author by Darrin Siefken)