Wednesday, September 30, 2009
I got another message this evening (Wed Sept 30) that he had put in and had finished paddling down the Wisconsin. He arrived at the Mississippi about 2:15 PM then spent time trying to find the right channel to get to his car. Confusion at the end but success overall.
He will render a final report and send some pictures in a few days. He sends his regards to the Ultimate Kruger Challengers.
So he has done it (and by himself). All the way from headwaters at Lac Vieux Desert at the edge of Michigan's UP to the Father of Waters. As I predicted he turned left at the Mississippi but he did not head for New Orleans. A gutty performance from a man who has earned my ultimate respect. In my prime I don't think I could have kept up with him.
He and his performance reminds me of that old joke about the guy who was proud of always doing things the hard way. One time his son asked how he was conceived. The father replied proudly "Standing up in a hammock!"
I am following closely Brian's Weber's reports in Mark P's "Kruger Canoe Adventures". www.krugercanoes.blogspot.com
Team Bradford made it to Grayling last night, having passed the Tres Amigos early on. There are pictures on the blog of their new racer. It is one mean looking skinny black Crozier canoe named "Bushwhacker". They are now doing the 7 mile portage up M72.
The Tres Amigos (Mark P., Dan Smith and Jack Murgatroid) have not yet reached Mio Pond where they face a nasty walk after they portage the dam since the DNR and/or Consumers Energy decided to pull down the pond level 8 feet for dam repairs. That is apparently affecting the AuSable's current also. Yesterday's brutal headwinds and rain made for a tough day but I understand they had a good fire last night and slept good.
Be sure to look at the new Spotter displays. Mark's Seawind and the Bradford's "Bushwacker" are both sending signals which allow you to chose backgrounds of maps, satellite images or "terrain", the latter being very good for tracking waterways.
Chuck Amboy is hustling the newpaper Grayling Avalanche for coverage. He has issued a "press release". We are going big time!
Monday, September 28, 2009
The Challenge, a project of the Verlen Kruger Memorial Association, is to paddle and portage all the way across the Lower Peninsula from Lake Huron to Lake Michigan starting at the mouth of the AuSable River at Oscoda. The Challengers will go upstream on the AuSable to Grayling, then make a 7 mile portage-on-wheels via Highway M72 to the Manistee River where they will put back in and paddle the rest of the way to Lake Michigan, a total of 271 miles.
The "Tres Amigos" - Mark Przedwojewski, Dan Smith, and Jack Murgatroid - started up the AuSable yesterday afternoon about 4:30 with the intention of finding a high and dry campground before the storms hit. A message from Mark at 7:15 PM said they had pulled off and set up camp.
They are paddling Kruger Seawinds. Mark P. has a new Spotter on his. You can follow their progress on Mark's Kruger Canoe Adventures blog, of which Brian Weber of Wisconsin is the Blogmaster.
Bob Bradford and son Mike in their tandem racing canoe planned to start this morning. A message from Bob last night said they saw "three bums" heading up the river. I'm trying to find out more about the Bradfords' canoe. They also have an active Spotter.
I think there is a 100 miler in-one-day on the Manistee on October 1 involved with all this. I'll let you know when I get it straight.
No word from Coach yet after his Branson trip.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Monday he paddled to Muscoda. I don't have details. Camped out Monday night. Woke up at 4 AM. Raining outside. Also raining inside since he did a lousy job of re-water proofing his old fly. He got soaked. I'm thinking of taking up a collection to buy him a decent tent and fly and a Verlen Kruger-type comfortable mattress.
Here is how he described some more of his miserable day Tuesday: "I did not have a confirmed ride back to Prairie du Sac, so I hid all my gear in some brush and went to a local gas station to see if anyone stopping for gas would give me a lift. The first person took me about 10 miles. Then at another gas station I got a ride for about 20 miles and at a third I got a ride back to my car. I quickly hurried back to Muscoda, packed up my stuff and headed for my sister's all the time thinking how I was going to finish this trip." Then he tells a garbled tale of missed phone calls and wrong dates but he finally got home and went to Branson, Missouri, as scheduled.
On the way home from Branson he intends to put back in the river and finish the trip to the Mississippi. I'm afraid he will turn left and head for New Orleans.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Coach, shown here with his gear during the 2009 Hugh Heward Challenge. Nancy Anderson looks on.
Lac Vieux Desert, the head lake of the Wisconsin River, is a relatively large and shallow lake which lies astraddle the UP/Wisconsin State Line southeast of Watersmeet. It's drainage area is one of only two places in Michigan in the Mississippi watershed. (The other is in the Lower Peninsula in Berrien County at the Indiana border.) Thus if you put some used beer in the woods up there it will eventually flow into the Mississippi, down the big river past St. Louis and New Orleans and end up in the Gulf of Mexico....a long trip.
The Wisconsin is that state's longest river at 430 miles, some 160 miles longer than the Grand, Michigan's longest river. Quoting from Wikipedia: "It flows south across the glacial plain of central Wisconsin, passing Wasau and Stevens point. In southern Wisconsin it encounters the terminal moraine formed during the last ice age, where it forms the Dells of the Wisconsin River. North of Madison at Portage, the river turns to the west, flowing through Wisconsin's hilly Western Upland and joining the Mississippi approximately 3 miles south of Prairie du Chien. Although the river was originally navigable up to the city of Portage 200 miles from its mouth, it is now considered non-navigable beyond the lock and dam at Prairie du Sac."
The Wisconsin exits Lac Vieux Desert at its southwest corner the promptly turns northwest almost reaching the Michigan border before it turns south again approximately paralleling US 45.
Coach anticipates some problems with low water at the beginning. We'll see whether he does the upper river by canoe or bicycle.