Saturday, October 17, 2015

Ultra -Mitt (I give you, ManitouCruiser)

Manitou Cruiser Sporting Everglades Challenge Shark Teeth

I really want to thank everyone for following along on my trip these past few weeks. Thanks for all the prayers, well wishes and positive vibes. I could definitely feel the Love and without it I doubt I would have had the awesome adventure I did.
My original plan was to paddle and sail the entire Lower Peninsula of Michigan starting in Toledo and finishing in Michigan City, a trip of over 700 miles. I had never paddled the entire Lake Huron coast line before so I decided to start on that side and do a counter clockwise trip with The Mackinaw Bridge being roughly the halfway point. I knew that a trip of this size, at this time of year was going to be a challenge, but little did I know how much of a challenge!!!
The total miles I travelled by paddle, sail and portage was around 522, give or take a few. A few times while I was on the road my GPS batteries died and I would not catch it for a while so my numbers are not exact. Out of that 522 I had about 85 road miles which is about 85 more than I was expecting!! I definitely feel ready for the 40 mile portage in the upcoming WaterTribe Ultimate Florida Challenge!! I was only able to catch the wind on a few different days, one being the 30 hour 90 mile run I had jumping both the Saginaw Bay and Thunder Bay. I still had to paddle most of this time as the wind was only moving me at about 1.5 MPH. The other time I had the wind in my favor was heading down Lake Charlevoix to East Jordan. This run had me up around 6 MPH with my fastest recorded time of the trip of 11.4 MPH!! This was a bitter sweet ride though because it was taking me inland away from Lake Michigan and away from my intended route.

At this point in the trip I knew the big weather and waves had won out and with the limited time I had I would have to return in the future to again experience the coast of Lake Michigan. I have paddled the Lake Michigan coastline a few times before so on a positive note this weather was giving me the opportunity to experience a chain of lakes I had never been to!!

Again, I want to Thank everyone that helped me along the way with everything from simple kind words of encouragement to places to sleep to free meals and even offers for "rides to wherever it is your going". In all the road miles I traveled  and all of the thousands and thousands of cars, trucks and sometimes huge farm combines  that passed by me I never once felt threatened or in danger. Most drivers would give me plenty of space and if they couldn't do that because of oncoming traffic they would slow way down for me. This trip has again given me a good feeling about the kindness and love that strangers can and do show to folks like me out on the adventure of a lifetime.

Last but not least I want to "Thank the Team" I had behind me the entire time. Brian Weber for keeping my information(and mis-information) rolling on the blog and the constant encouragement. Mark and Lauren for technical advise and information at any time of day or night on my constant route modifications and the ever worsening weather. A huge "Thank You" to Amanda, Laila and the rest of my family for understanding my passion for paddling and my need for the peace that the wilderness brings me.  
Thank You- Thank You -Thank You!!!!     


Friday, October 16, 2015

Ultra - Mitt ( when the fog lifts...)

When the fog lifts and dust settles, I hope Manitou can put into his own words what this trip up over and through Michigan was all about; till then I leave you with this:

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”
― Ernest Hemingway

Stay salty,

The Capt'n

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Ultra - Mitt - It's the Ernest Hemming "way"

There is a sense of euphoria as you paddle the morning silk; a time when everything is right with the world; a brand new day and anything is possible; especially when you day doesn't include rik-shawing your way across the state; rik-shaw be damned!

 As Manitou was coming into Bellaire, Jason Kruger (Verlen's grandson) was waiting at the boat ramp; he welcomed Manitou and got him set up for the night, which included a visit to their family owned and operated Papa K's Pizzeria.  Nothing tastes so good as a slice of Americana (pizza) and Short's Brewery Ale before a long sleep.  * - you heard it here first; best Gluten free pizza he has ever had!

Ernest Hemingway paddles out

Ernest Hemingway spent a bunch of time up in Northern Michigan when he was a boy, and the passion never left him. It has been said he found his muse in Northern Michigan.  A short 15 minute movie can be found here. click here .  A lot can be discovered from the seat of a canoe, the beauty of Northern Michigan lakes system needs to be on everyone's bucket list. In Mark's words "it's a local treasure"

New digs for Manitou, taking a break from stealth camping; ah a long sleep is in order.
Manitou pulls in for an oil change and lube; adventures like this are hard on the body and you need to pay attention to what the body is telling you - here is a look at the arsenal of essential oils that are making the trip. Personally I go with a little different approach, Oreos and Rum, but to each there own. Seriously one has to consider the possibilities of the effects of Rum these oils.

Stay Salty Lubed

The Capt'n

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Ultra - Mitt - Big Rock / Elk Rapids

 They grow'em Big at Big Rock Point
A little history to wet your safety whistle
Manitou in the morning debrief states he is pretty committed to the chain of lakes with the end of this intrepid journey Elk Rapids. Time is a barrier, so sitting around and waiting for the weather to freshen up is not an option.
This is what we know:  560 miles thus far with 88 of them by foot [long hauling gear and craft]; there is margin for error - I am poor at math and Manitou may have left his GPS off for a bit.
Big shout out to Amanda, Mark and Lauren, Linda, Dan and Steve and all the River Angels out there that are making this trip a success, every leg of the trip has shown what Michigan is made of.
Settle in and watch it unfold - also on channel 2 we got the BBC going on with WaterTribe; they're up against Mother nature as well as the winds blow long and hard.
Stay Salty,
The Capt'n

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Ultra Mitt - inland waterway

Double reefed and flying a handkerchief, ridiculously fast run to East Jordan; white knuckle ride, with a whole lot of mast bend.

East Jordan puts out the welcome mat; closing in fast my friends.
East Jordan is a beautiful Northern Michigan town, located on Lake Charlevoix, previously known as Pine Lake. East Jordan was founded in the 1870’s, and it was originally part of a town named, South Arm. It is a small town with about 2,500 residents.
In its recent years, East Jordan has become a popular place to visit in the summer months. One popular attraction is the Jordan River, which is among the cleanest rivers in Michigan, spans 33 miles, and was the first river to be designated as a National Wild and Scenic River. East Jordan also hosts the Freedom Festival every summer, which brings a lot of people from East Jordan and outside of East Jordan downtown to enjoy carnival rides, games and concerts. The lakes, small town atmosphere, parks, and warm summer days make the city a popular place for tourists – or “Fudgies,” as locals would call them.

Stay Salty!!

Ultra - Mitt blow hard

It's still blowing stink out there, but Manitou likes what he sees; small waves and a Northwesterly coming soon

Ok lets find a place to drop in without getting soaked in the process; wet beach starts are great when it's on a hot summer's day, but in October when it's onshore and blowing [see flag in pic] best ease into it like silk pajamas.

 6.6 mph right now as the wind swings around; double reef in... "Thanks Verlen Kruger and Mark Balough" - Manitou
You know you're moving when your kicking up a wake you can boogie board on; drop in a ski rope and I see opportunity.

Ultra - Mitt wheeled warrior

Jezz you got to keep you eye on the SPOT or you'll miss the game!! Made some great time on that silky smooth wheel-way.

Ultra - Mitt - more on the Crooked River

OK, I don't know what happened; I must have fallen asleep in the wheel house and forgot to post these pics from the Crooked River section.  Quoting good friend Dan Smith on many adventure; "it don't get no better than this."

Pesky locks and dams pop up out of nowhere; the lock was closed so it was a pull around to the other side.

Ultra - MItt - don't quote me but...

Here's a quote I had to share; "No, I'm not a Sea Wind stalker - just a great admirer of the WaterTribe. Met Manitou on the wheelway this evening. What a delight. He's doing well and cheerful.  I have a hunch he's always cheerful." LD

In the business we call 'em River Angels - Linda just dropped off fresh apples and bananas; she's been following the WaterTribe and us for awhile and was totally inspired!  Guess who's getting a boat and getting into paddling!!

 Bike path to Charlevoix - GOLDEN! - in more ways than one; that is one scenic trail and wheel-way worthy!! 
A Beautiful field of Sumac doing it's fiery red autumn dance

So as the wind and weather Gods play havoc with the big pond, Manitou heads to Lake Charlevoix to east Jordan; from there it is a 5 mile hike over to Ellsworth where he can jump into the chain of Lakes that will eventually get him down to Elk Rapids -- we need a nodded to the wind and weather Gods for 10 - 15 out of the East!  Or...

Being 8.7 miles out of Charlevoix, the weather starts to look promising for a launch on Lake Michigan possibly Wednesday.  So it's camp now, get some huge sleep the next couple of days and be ready for a big push on the big pond. Let's hope for some 2' waves and a moderate breeze out of the Northwest.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Ultra Mitt (the crooked river)

Manitou reports great color on the Crooked River; Maples shown bright in the early light.  Time allotted for this adventure is coming into its last week; questions of what to do where to go from here are plentiful.  Conditions on the big pond have not improved so there is some cyphering going on - when to put in and where?  You're always within 10 miles of some water way in Michigan, but is it navigable and headed in the right direction - questions to be answered soon.

If you're looking for more small boat adventure turn to WaterTribe as the have another windswept event going on - Black Beard Challenge. Knockdowns, broke gear and adventure, what more could you ask for - click here

Stay Salty,

The Capt'n