Happy Labor Day Weekend!

Labor Day weekend is here – the final long weekend of the year before kids head back to school and pumpkin spice season begins – oops, we mean autumn. The sun is shining and the water feels great, but before we get in our kayaks or fire up the grill, let’s take a moment to remember the history of Labor Day.

Labor Day has been an official National Holiday for over 100 years, but its roots trace back to New York in 1882. Although there is some dispute as to who founded Labor Day, recent research indicates that Matthew Maguire proposed the idea while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York.


The idea was clearly supported, and the first Labor Day was celebrated on September 5th of that year, when thousands of workers took unpaid time off to march in the first Labor Day parade. Two years later, Labor Day was officially created in New York City to be celebrated on the first Monday of September. Soon after, several other cities and states began adopting Labor Day. The holiday was created to appreciate and celebrate workingmen. From machinists to carpenters, these hard workers finally got a relaxing day off, which was especially uncommon during the Industrial Revolution of the late 1800s.

In 1894, Labor Day became a national holiday to be celebrated every first Monday of September! Since then, hardworking Americans have been enjoying parades, recognition, barbecues, and a fun day to spend with family and friends. Whether you are spending your Labor Day relaxing inside or paddling through the Appleton Locks, we wish you a safe and fun weekend!

A Culture of Safety

We are talking about safety again!

Yeah, yeah, it may be boring to talk about, but we care about YOU and want everyone to enjoy the waterways safely so they can chat about their adventures later over a bonfire and s’mores, giggles and more!

Today we are going to focus on life vests [technically known as PFDs – Personal Flotation Device]. These things will save your LIFE – We always recommend wearing it! It’s like wearing a seatbelt in a car or a helmet on a bike!

Buoyancy is the force required to keep a person’s head and chin afloat above water. In general, adults need an extra 7 to 12 pounds of buoyancy to stay afloat [we recommend getting a child specific PFD for your little ones]. How much buoyancy you may require in the water varies depending on body weight and fat, lung size, clothing and water conditions (rough or calm).

Each PFD sold for recreational use is required to include a guide entitled “Think Safe – Choose the Right PFD”.  These pamphlets are tailored to the kind of PFD to which they are attached.

Not all PFDs are created equal. There are different classes for varying purposes. Check below for a quick break-down of the different classes!

Class I – Big and Buoyant

These “off shore life jackets” are bigger and bulkier than other PFDs, but they will keep someone floating face up for the longest period of time. They are designed for safety in deep, open waters before rescue teams can arrive.

Class II – The Industry Standard

The most common type of PFD. These are the standard life jackets that can be bought in many stores and are designed for use near shore on calm waters.

Class III – Floatation Aid

These PFDs are designed for boating and paddling activities. They offer buoyancy without sacrificing too much comfort and ease of movement. Recommended for use in calm waters.

Class IV – Throwable Devices

Cushions and buoys can be used as a backup PFD. They are useful to provide assistance to someone already swimming.

Class V – Specialty Devices

These are used primarily in occupational settings. Some incorporate buoyancy into deck suits or hybrid vests. Their designated use varies.

It’s not just about owning the right PFD, it’s also about wearing it properly! Always make sure that you follow the fitting instructions with your PFD, including fastening buckles, straps, and zippers. If you’re not wearing your PFD, it won’t do you any good.

PFDs can obtain natural wear and tear, so make sure you follow maintenance instructions, inspect it regularly, and test your PFD in a controlled setting.

Have any other questions? Check out our FAQ page or feel free to contact us!

Stay safe on the water!

Book Report: Blue Mind

Book Title and Author: Blue Mind by Wallace J. Nichols

Main idea of story:  This book dives into the fascinating emotional, behavioral, psychological, and physical connections humans have with water! Explore the world of water like never before!

Main characters in the book: Author Wallace J. Nichols guides you through the waves of research which provides insight into the powerful effects water has on our mind, bodies, and souls! He also presents compelling stories from athletes, leading scientists, military veterans, and gifted artists!

Something unique and interesting about the story/book for readers to know: The Author discusses the idea of ‘your brain on water’ and how merely being by, on, or in water can reduce stress, increase happiness, and overall improve quality of life! His approach incorporates varying sciences amongst other perspectives for a thorough discussion!

Favorite part of the story/book and why: The entire book is enthralling, but one favorite can be found on page 218-219. Here Wallace introduces the idea of ‘flow’. A beautifully articulated idea which we don’t consciously think about, but simply go with the flow.

Was this book entertaining, educational, amusing, etc?: Overall this book is very educational, but the approach is such that you are entertained throughout, with moments of wonder, shock, and understanding!

Would you recommend this book?: If you are passionate about water and want to learn more about yourself then absolutely, YES, read this book and enjoy!

Blue Mind by Wallace J. Nichols is a National Bestseller! You don’t have to take our word for it though! Check out what others had to say about the read below!


“Blue Mind has the power to reveal how your health and happiness are tied to oceans and waterways, no matter where on Earth you live.”

-Dr. Sylvia Earle, founder of Mission Blue and Explorer in Residence at National Geographic

“A fascinating study of the emotional, behavioral, psychological, and physical connections that keep humans so enchanted with water.”

-Nicola Joyce, Washington Post

“Using a combination of anecdotes and hard data, Nichols makes a persuasive case for water’s healing power.”

-Amanda FitzSimons, Elle



Just as Wallace J. Nichols signed off at the end of his book we will bid the same – We wish you Water!

Freedom to Portage!

The locks on the Fox River are very popular to paddle through and enjoy (check out our Appleton and Little Chute Locks excursions, which are the most popular routes), but today we are talking about navigating around them!

No one likes to get “locked” in place and kayaking is all about freedom of flow! Our local locks are not operational all the time and many of them are not functional yet! No worries kayaking friends – we can always portage!

What is portaging? Portaging is the act of carrying a boat or its cargo over land to get from one navigable waterway to another.

Why might you portage? The most common reason to portage is due to an obstruction in a waterway, such as a tree, dam, or lock.

Some of the locks on the Fox River have marked portage paths, but if you come to an obstruction without a referenced portage path, on the Fox River or other body of water, your right to portage remains the same.

Portaging is a physical activity. With a lighter vessel, this can be done by oneself, but it’s always easier and more fun to share the load with a helping hand to cross the path! The act of portaging is as old as kayaks and canoes themselves [1000s of years old first done by the arctic inhabitants now known as the Inuits]. To hop across islands or cross a barrier to continue a journey is something special that can offer the feeling of traversing you to a simpler time. If you haven’t incorporated it into your kayaking adventure yet we recommend trying it!

For more information about portaging or if you have general questions feel free to reach out to us! There are many other organizations supporting paddler’s adventures out on the water as well!

Guest Blog – Surrealist Photography by Emily Showers

We welcome guest blog appearances from all walks of life. We are happy to feature artists, adventurers, writers, and anyone with a story to tell!

This week we are excited to give the spot light to Emily Showers! A local photographer with an eye for surrealism and an interesting perspective on photography. We hope you enjoy the work she created while joining us for our 4th of July festivities!




I enjoy shooting infrared photography because it is a way humans can perceive part of a world they cannot see. Viewing a rendition of an invisible world unearths subconscious thoughts and broadens minds. Our own limits close us off from a universal understanding. Art is a portal to expand our perception and power of observation.

Photographers, including me, like speed, but slowing down reveals transformation, whether it is clouds, boats or people. I superimposed fast images with long exposure infrared images in the gifs. It reveals an infinite number of events can exist in the same plane. Existence is not static. Instead it tumbles and morphs such as a lake’s surface.

Some of my favorite subjects in school were physics, genetics, mathematics, philosophy and art. I attempt to incorporate scientific principles into my work; such as the process of change. People often find those subjects daunting, but I feel as if all humans have an intuitive understanding of them; art helps open the mind to them. Infinite knowledge comes to those who are willing to open themselves up.


“Reflection Crash” Infrared gif superimposed over black and white photograph


“Neon Psychosis” Long exposure light painting superimposed over color photograph


“Round Trip Travel” Color photography gif


“Trembling Figures” Infrared gif superimposed over black and white photograph


“Infinite Synapse” Infrared gif


“Labyrinth’s Vector” Color photograph


“Rolling Kayak” Infrared gif superimposed on black and white still


“Tinker” Light painting superimposed on black and white gif


“How Many Thoughts Were Thought While This Was Produced?” Infrared gif superimposed over black and white still.


“Neon Quiver” Long exposure light painting superimposed over color photograph.


“Mechanical Spector” Long exposure light painting superimposed over color photograph.


Preserving Our Local History – River Time

We are honored to have the opportunity to preserve a small piece of local history! Below you will find a YouTube link to the freshly uploaded video we converted from VHS.

‘River Time’ is a short 30-minute video documenting the history of the Fox River and the surrounding area. Made by local volunteers and community leaders in the 90s, the clothing fashion may look a bit funny now, but the facts are very interesting and informative!

We would like to say thank you to Karen Laws, the Producer and Director who gave us permission to bring this video into the 21st Century! Thank you to Tom Frantz at University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley for assisting with the digital conversion.  Also a big thank you to the rest of the River Time team for providing inspiration for what Fox River Kayaking Company does today!


So dim the lights, grab some popcorn and enjoy the show!

Happy Birthday U.S.A! Here’s to Freedom!!

Summer is officially in full swing and the long 4th of July weekend is here! Let the baseball games, grilling, and kayaking festivities commence!

Before we get into full party mode, let’s remember what we are celebrating!


On July 4th, 1776, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia, united under a common idea of freedom. A fragile notion unlike any prior governments, our representatives and founding fathers came to a unified agreement and Declared our Independence! Since then, we have been celebrating July 4th as our nation’s birthday!

Hopefully our Lady Liberty won’t mind if we do some math on her age? 2017 – 1776 = 241 years! We are turning 241 this year, and although that seems old, we are a very young country.


We are excited to enjoy the long 4th of July with you! We have our George Washington eating a hot dog t-shirt, red/white/blue sunglasses, fireworks and we are waving our American flags proudly!

Want to hang out with us? Come see us at CommunityFest cruising in our shuttle across the island. At our first parade on Memorial Day, we were excited to join but didn’t have any flags to displayed at that time. The organizers weren’t too happy about this, but we redeemed ourselves on Flag Day, and we are even more ready for the 4th of July! 🙂


Heads-Up: If you still want to join our 4th of July Fireworks Paddle you still can if you have your own gear! Although our fleet is completely booked, if you have your own gear, you simply need to call us to arrange your booking to join! The floating view from the park shore line will truly be something special!



Finally — and we can’t say it enough — PLEASE BE SAFE THIS WEEKEND! Whether on water or land, look out for each other, slow down, and be smart! We are all trying to have a good time, but the smiles don’t spread when someone gets hurt!

Happy Birthday Lady Liberty – like a fine wine, you only get better with age!

Welcoming Waters Open for All

We had a great time putting together our latest official video and wanted to follow-up with a few more details!


First and foremost – a big thank you to our friend Gina Lytle! We are continuously learning and her insight supported our efforts to move forward to serve our community best! We always love the excuse to kayak and hang out together, and we look forward to more good times in the future, Gina!


We are happy to facilitate and guide adventures for our entire community! In our modern times, kayaking is more accessible than ever! With several resources in our local area, we can welcome people of all mobility levels to the water.


Our shuttle bus is accessible for people of all abilities. With a convenient wheelchair lift, we can easily and comfortably accommodate adventurers in wheelchairs! Have a private excursion idea – let us know and we will do our best to make it a reality!

There are many accessible launches and accessible bathroom facilities at launch sites throughout the Fox River Valley. Several years ago with grant money and a vision, these launch sites began being built for our community. People with mobility issues as well as the able bodied now enjoy a very user friendly way to access the waterways. These launches help take the “tricky” factor out of the whole process. Whether a person has the need for it or not, there is now an easy, simple entrance to the water for everyone.


Check out the video ‘Open for All’ below:

See you on the water!

Our Favorite Post-Kayaking Meals!

A sunny day on the water definitely works up an appetite. We recommend bringing a snack on the water so that you don’t get too “hangry” on an excursion, but sometimes a diet composed entirely of granola bars just doesn’t suffice.

We love to cook and eat! We have organized a few of our favorite post-kayaking meals for you to enjoy. With dishes for the meat and potatoes eater to the veggie fanatic, this list has something for everyone! We have linked some of our favorite recipes from various blogs, but there are definitely other delicious recipes out there!

  1. Fajitas

Who doesn’t love Mexican food? Fajitas are packed with veggies, rice, beans, meat, you name it! Guaranteed to fill you up after a day on the water!



  1. Pizza

Anytime, anywhere. Need we say more?



  1. Jambalaya

We’re bringing the South up North with this tasty rice dish!



  1. Spaghetti

Nothing beats a classic and you can’t go wrong with pasta and sauce!



  1. Burritos

More Mexican food! Because it’s awesome.



  1. Burgers

The National Anthem should go “and the rockets red glare, the burgers grilling everywhere” because this is America and we can’t ever forget about burgers.



  1. Chicken Caesar Wrap

A perfect balance of hearty protein and light veggies!



  1. Pesto Ravioli

For a warm, but refreshing delicacy, enjoy some cheesy ravioli slathered with fresh pesto.



  1. Italian Sub

You will surely be satisfied with a sandwich packed with all the fixin’s!



  1. Chips/Veggies and Dip

Something simple might be all you’re craving and this is a party favorite that everyone can share!


We are frequently asked for food or restaurant recommendations and these are just a few of the best! If you are searching for a local restaurant that serves these dishes, feel free to contact us – we are happy to share some of our favorite spots!


More frequently asked questions can be found on our FAQs page below:



Let us know what you think of our choices, and feel free to give us more recommendations! We are always on the hunt for yummy food!


Behind the Scenes: Logo Development

Our team here at Fox River Kayaking Company consists of hard workers, passionate about what we do, and in love with the Fox River Valley community we support. One project we worked on for months in the very beginning was our logo.

The following is a behind the scenes look at how our logo came to be!

Looking back, it was an amazing experience, but let us tell you, there were moments when we thought “ugh, nothing is working, maybe we should upload some clipart and call it a day”. Of course, we did not go this route. Instead, we stepped away from the project, turned on a movie, and forgot about our frustrations until another positive working moment arrived.

From the inception, there were so many opportunities and directions to take that we were hard pressed to decide which angle to develop. Shapes, words, pictures, or colors; the options were endless and that was not good for people whose creativity is always stuck on hyperdrive.

Luckily Chewbacca refocused the Millennium falcon flight trajectory and this is when the elements of graphic design came forward.

We agreed that a sense of simplicity was best! So our approach was with a mind of minimalism.

Our passion is the Fox River, so it only made sense to depict the Fox!

Our approach was rudimentary at first. We reviewed various fox images, watched documentaries on Netflix, checked out books from the library, and searched for different perspectives across the Web. Then we took to pen and paper! We approached the project with a simple geometric approach with different perspectives – jumping, full body, face, etc. We were always making sure the drafts were symmetrical and balanced; for some reason, it wasn’t feeling right.

It should be stated now that the entire design process was done in house. We did reach out to our friend Cody, a professional photographer based in Door County with an amazing knack to exemplify the beauty around him! He supported us in translating the rough draft into a refined digital composite! If you are looking for a friendly, professional photographer for any event or project, Cody @TandemPhotographer should be top on your list! Website – http://www.tandemphotographyofdoorcounty.com/

Continuing to work through many drafts, the design just wasn’t complete! We needed a banner that we could stand behind, that represented our energy and passion! Months passed and still nothing, until one night…

Lots of crumpled paper balls piling up, we took a detoured inspirational drive, referencing other foxes we originally weren’t focused on, scrapping the idea of symmetry, and adding our own flare and BAM!

Your Fox River Kayaking Company Fox appeared!

Its asymmetry and rough design give it an approachable edginess; a timeless and unique style!


Interested in learning more about Fox River Kayaking Company? Check out our About Page!


Interested in buying a T-shirt? Check out our Gear Page and stop in our shop to pick one up for yourself and another one for a surprise present!