Plan a holiday outing to a state park, and
it can be a highlight of the year, especially when friends and family gather for a campout.
But it takes a certain amount of fortitude, since Kansas weather is always a factor.
Weather doesn’t stop A.J. Pearson of Wichita, who sees camping as a great outing for his
kids: “Well, we decided to do something different with our family every year, me and
a buddy of mine. So we bring our kids out here every year and camp. Between cousins
and everybody else, we’ve probably got about 13 or so people, 15 or so people, and we’ve
got a bunch more people coming out for the actual 4th tomorrow, so it will be pretty
good.” This year, with temperatures in the 100s,
a sudden Sunday storm brought relief from the heat – but with it, a disruption to
their camp. High winds blew down much of their setup, but once it was over, they rebuilt
and hoped for a good holiday finish. “Last year when we came out here, it rained
– we got here at like 12 – and it started raining at 7 that afternoon, until we left
Sunday, and we got here that Friday. And so we figured we would stick it out again and
hopefully it would pay off. And it payed off, the sun’s shining, and we’re here partying
again.” The storm gave little warning, and many campers
and boaters were caught off guard. “We saw the storm coming, I saw the water
changing so we started tightening everything up and getting all the equipment together.
And so, a couple of tents fell over, some of them lasted. Coleman – you’ve got to
pay me for this one! – but the Coleman tents stayed up. So, we’re glad we stayed, we’re
glad we stayed.” Good weather held for the next day, making
this outdoors experience all it could be for the Pearsons and others camping at Cheney.
And the Pearsons plan to come back. “Next year, we’ll get it a little bigger
hopefully, we’re going to continue to come out here, so you’ll see us at Cheney next
year, and the year after, and the year after.” That’s the spirit – and the reason – for
Kansas State Parks. Enjoy them often this summer. Eight weekends are left before school
starts, and many state parks have coming special events such as free entrance days,
youth fishing tournaments, sandcastle contests, star parties, and more. Learn about them on
the KDWPT website . . . I’m Mike Blair for Kansas Wildlife, Parks,