A friend of mine, AlsoPaul, held the first annual Chicken Loop Event last weekend (August 19-21). Chicken Loop is the premier (and, for now, only) kiteboarding event in North Dakota. One would think that wind sports would have more of a history in ND, but you have to start somewhere.
I stopped by for a bit on Saturday. It was more for moral support than anything since my largest kite is a 3 foot trainer. Unfortunately, the wind wasn’t too cooperative, but a few people did get some time on New Johns Lake. The inconsistent wind meant a lot of boarders would get launched just in time for the breeze to die and leave them stranded in the middle of the lake. Fortunately, several friendly boaters were available to lend a hand.
Incidentally, this was the first time I had been up to New Johns Lake during the summer in a number of years. Usually, I get there in the fall or winter during the hunting season when its more quiet (and cold). New Johns Lake is part of the Garrison Diversion Project, along with several nearby connecting lakes. Campsites are managed by the Bureau of Reclamation, and seem to be first come first served as far as reservations go. I think it might be a good camping weekend some time, though it appears an early arrival is necessary during the summer months.
Another fun fact: the lakes are on the North Country National Scenic Trail. Most of the thru-hiker reports I’ve read have gone through this area in the early spring (March) time period, which isn’t the best time to be walking through an open, treeless prairie where the wind is always blowing at 20 mph and it could rain and snow in the same 24 hour period. May and June are much better months to see this area, in my humble opinion.
There were several participants from across the state. The event was successful enough that the Second Annual Chicken Loop will be held in 2017. Good work, AlsoPaul!