Tuesday, May 5, 2009

UHHC 2009-Final Thoughts, Summary and Thanks

Well it's over...no more herding cats....no more worrying about whether grown men are sleeping warm or are doing foolish things on the water...
In answer to a question from my niece Patty Geisler I said: I feel like the conductor of the Boston Pops at the 4th of July Concert who has been conducting the "1812 Overture" and "The Stars and Stripes Forever" while the fireworks are exploding all over the sky but the music is over and the last sparkles have fallen to the ground.....what now?
More about that later. But now my thanks:
First to Charlie Parmelee my hero and "Ulitimate" son, he made "Across Lower Michigan by Canoe 1790" happen. When he first saw my manuscript about Hugh Heward's adventures it consisted of about a half-bushel of Yellowdog paper scribbled on by dozens of #2 pencils. He said "I'll get that typed" and then conned Nancy Anderson into doing the word processing. I will thank Nancy later.
 Charlie is the physical Daddy of the Ultimate Hugh Heward Challenge. I dream up ideas then get other guys to sacrifice their bodies to prove whether or not I am right. In Charlie's case I had kinda been nicking at him for years to try some of the things that Verlen didn't get done in 1990 when he proved out my theories as to how Heward's party got from the Huron River watershed to the Grand. He poked about in the Portage River Swamp in high water and on ice trying to work out how to do what Neil Miller and Brian Prodin did on April 17of this year, namely to cross the portage and wade the swamp (he and Doug McDougall tried it in 2008 but gave it up as too dangerous). More on that later.
Early last year Charlie asked me what day Hugh Heward started up the Huron in 1790. I told him March 28. Then he announced that he was going to put his Sea Wind into the Huron on that same day in 2008 and duplicate Heward's crossing of the Lower Peninsula to Grand Haven. He started alone in the snow on that date and ended up short of Lake Michigan because of an oil spill many days later. I have recounted the story of his 2008 Odyssey by Emails which are preserved in my blog.www.thetopologist.blogspot.com
Charlie was one of the original Challengers this year starting at Detroit on April 17. His 2008 experiences going upstream on the Huron and Portage Creek and wheeling across the portage by county road were invaluable to the other Challengers as they acknowledged. He dropped out at Lyons in order to attend his daughter's graduation from Hope College. Daughter Karen has a sneaking suspicion that Charlie will be trying to fill the gap left between Grand Haven and Chicago some time later.
To Chuck Amboy, an elegant guy who owns a Sea Wind and paddled for a while with the Big Dogs on the Detroit River, Hell Creek and the Grand. Most importantly he hosts the luncheons for paddlers and hangers-on like me at the high-toned English Inn on the Grand between Eaton Rapids and Dimondale.
More tomorrow.

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