You ever have one of those moments where you say, "Now I've seen it all"? I had one of those moments last evening when I took my dog for a walk over at Mutual Riverfront Park in the old First Ward. When I first arrived I was immediately taken aback as I saw a number of cars with kayaks and/or kayak racks on top parked along the road. We hopped out of the car and walked over to the edge of the park where I saw a loading and unloading contraption floating on the water that was being used by said kayakers.
By the time I arrived, the remaining kayakers were busy pulling themselves out of the water. The process entailed aligning the craft up with a set of rollers. Then a kayaker would use his or her arms to push the boat further onto the rollers until the craft rested securely on top of the contraption. From there the individual could climb out of the boat and then proceed to lift it up and carry it off to dry land. I asked a couple of the kayakers what they thought and they both said, "Amazingly easy!" Not only does this unique launching and landing process make it a snap to get in and out of the river, the cool factor takes the cake for anyone looking to do something a bit out of the ordinary.
Besides the new double-sided launching and landing contraption and the floating debris barrier, the park is now open to all visitors to walk around and explore. The rain gardens are planted and there are two beautiful chess tables set up for visitors to play on (bring your own pieces). The historic markers have been adhered to the Medina sandstone and there are plenty of spare stone slabs dotting the perimeter of the park on which one can sit and watch the action on the Buffalo River. Very impressive all around.