Kayaking Around Lake Jacomo


Photo by Photo by Max Anderson

From left: Max, Natalie, Michelle and Maddy pose for a photo on the lake. “I enjoy kayaking with my friends because it’s a fun way to stay active without having to run,” Anderson said.

Written by Madison Preston, Reporter

The zip and snap of a life jacket being buckled and the hollow click of a paddle being assembled are the sounds of the beginning of an adventure. Just beyond, waves crash against the ramp. Our feet slide on the algae as we make our way to the water. We launch our kayaks into Lake Jacomo. 

  Kayaking takes place in the hundreds of waterways across Missouri, including in our own backyard at Knob Noster State Park, just a 20 minute’s drive from the University of Central Missouri’s campus. 

  Lake Jacomo resides in a conservation area, Fleming Park, which spans through Lee’s Summit and Blue Springs, Missouri. Fleming Park covers 7,809 acres of Jackson County and offers a variety of activities — camping, hiking, fishing, water sports and an airplane field — for those in the surrounding area. Of those acres, 1,690 are water and 970 of those make up Lake Jacomo, according to Jackson County Parks and Recreation website.

  For four college students, it’s our escape. The “Yak Pak,” comprised of four friends, Max Anderson, a recent electrical engineering graduate; his girlfriend, Natalie Jenkins, an IT professional, Max’s sister, Michelle, a junior nursing student, and myself, can be found here often when the water is warm.

  Those 970 acres provide an escape from school, work and the stresses of life. We take comfort in the smell of the lake and the feeling of muddy feet against the warm plastic of our 10-foot-long vessels. 

  We paddle across the lake hoping to beat the oncoming pontoons and sail boats. Our destination is Sailboat Cove. The cove consists of large buoys that look more like giant fishing bobbers than buoys with sailboats of all sizes tethered to them. 

  When we reach the small cove, we shed our sandals, swing our legs on either side of our boat to dip our feet into the warm water and lay our heads back as we drift around the cove listening to the ambiance of boat motors and the dinging sound of ropes and clips against the masts of the sail boats in the background. 

  “I think I could just live on my kayak,” Michelle, a junior nursing student, said as the sun warms her skin and a blue heron lands on the bank. 

  Max, a recent graduate, said he’s ready to keep paddling down the lake, so we pull our feet back into our boats, trade our quiet cove for our paddles and continue on. 

  We stay close to the side of the lake as we travel south to stay out of the way of the bigger boats, but some are more courteous than others. One passes a little closer than we’d like and turn our boats to face the wake head on. 

  The water has the signature smell of a lake, a mixture of fish, dirt and the outdoors, as it splashes into our boats and on us. 

  “I’m glad the water has warmed up,” Max said as we continue to get pelted by the last of the aggressive waves. 

  We continue to make our way down the lake and we are joined by a stray fish jumping out of the water, which never fails to amaze. 

  We find a place to stop for a break. As we drop our paddles, we hear the radio belting of a nearby drifting pontoon. 

  Our desperation for dinner interrupts our journey as we agree that it’s time to head back and start our journey back to where we started the boat ramp.

  Our escape from reality ends just as quickly as it started. 

  “After sitting at a desk all day, there’s nothing better than paddling out into the middle of the lake and just enjoying the peace and quiet of being in nature,” Natalie said.