Monday, May 25, 2009

Bushwhacker Wrap-up

The Awards Ceremony was started by a hot dog & brat cookout and finished by some of the paddlers recanting some of their 'war stories'....some were amusing and some were inspiring. It was a fun evening...until the mosquitoes ran us out, and was highlighted by the fact that the 2009 Bushwhacker made for the Verlen Kruger Memorial Fund was an awesome $2,541 after expenses!! A very special thank you to Todd Cesar for planning and making this event possible, and everyone involved that helped raise donations for the monument.

We also want to thank the folks at the Lumberjack Park for hosting the race and for their hospitality! Their facilities are awesome, and the meals they put on were great! We hope to be back next year!

We also want to thank the Chippewa Nature Center (at the junction of the Pine & Chippewa Rivers)in Midland, for allowing us to put a check point in their park...and allowing us to camp there for the night! You can check out their web site...they have a lot going on there!

Slide Show - kathy #2

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Trickle Down

Dan Smith finished the Bushwhacker with a big smile at 1:33 pm on 5/20. he said "It was a hard challenge up the Chip, but very satisfied"

Todd and Jake Cesar pulled in at 2:06 pm, and Jake commented "I would rather paddle up the Chip than climb Heart Attack Hill!"

Brian Keel sends a big shout out to Uncle Dan!! "Anything is possible!!" Finishes the Bushwacker in style on 5/20 -7:50pm
We have the trickle down river effect as more complete the Bushwacker; Jack Murgittroid cranks it up for a 5/20 -8:00pm finish. Gives a tip of the hat and a dip of the paddle to Roxanne Smith for the use of her Sea Wind during the event. Barely off the water, "Looking forward to next year!!"

Don't forget to come to the awards ceremony tonight at 6 pm at Lumberjack Park in Riverdale!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The end is near!

Dan Smith, Jake and Todd Cesar finished the 7 mile portage last night at 12:03am They got back on the river this morning for the final leg of the race.

Jack and Brian checked in at Check Point #3 at 9:15 am. Jacks' comment was natures beautiful! and Brians' comment was it's all downhill now. They'll make it back to Lumberjack park later today!

Bushwhacker 2009 Slideshow

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Come cheer the return of the last paddlers!

Update on Mike Andersons injured eye: he has a ripped cornea and continuing was out of the question. The race officials decided to allow Jake Cesar - Todds' son to finish the race in Mikes place. They put back in at Mission Road where Mike left the race.

Everyone has made it through Mt. Pleasant. Dan made it to Check Point #3 at 7:13 , and Todd & Jake arrived at 7:14 this evening. They plan on camping at the end of the portage tonight and finishing the race tomorrow, they should get back to Lumberjack Park tomorrow early to mid afternoon.

Brian & Jack hopefully will get in sometime tomorrow evening. It would be great if you could get to Lumberjack Park tomorrow to welcome the guys back!

Another note: no one took the proposed portage through Mt. Pleasant...they all toughed it out and paddled it....way to go guys!!

A REMINDER TO ALL: The awards ceremony for the 2009 Bushwhacker will be at Lumberjack Park Thursday May 21 @ 6:00 pm. All are welcome and encouraged to come!

Morning Sun Newspaper Coverage

Mike and Bob Bradford - 1st place men's tandem
photo - Morning Sun

Hat's off to Morning Sun Managing editor Linda Gitteman for covering the BusckWhacker and having a forum for discussion.

Check out this article and go down to responses to feel some of the emotion around the event.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Mark Finishes the 150

After a couple of missed calls from Mike Smith and one from Mark, finally got word that Mark had pulled in this evening around 9:15pm. (exact time unknown) cell phone coverage was iffy. I did hear something about cherry wheat beer, so everyone was in good "spirits".

Hat's off and a dip of the paddle, sounds like it was a real bushwhacker!

Bradfords pulled in @ the Lumberjack @ 6:49 am

The Bradfords were the first to arrive back at the Lumberjack Park at 6:49 am this morning. Bob says it sure pays to have a young buck in the canoe! He's awesome! (about son Mike). Bob said he promised Mike 4 hours of sleep a night, but they made due with only 2 hours each night. Last night they camped in a skunk cabbage patch- which wasn't real pleasant! Bob said the trick was to not pack enough warm clothes and warm sleeping bag - so they got cold and had to get paddling to warm up. They got up at 12:30 am, at the end of the portage to get back on the Pine. They said it was foggy so it was slow going until dawn started breaking. Great going guys!!

Mark P. got back on the Pine at 5:20 pm and is expected back at the Lumberjack Park sometime between 10:30 pm and midnight tonight.

Mike Anderson took a trip to the hospital to get his eye checked out, it got poked by a stick. He has a patch on it and the doctor recommends he not continue, but we'll see if it really does stop him. Mike Smith picked up Todd at 6:35 pm and gave him a ride to Lumberjack Park. They'll decide later if they'll continue.

John F. pulled out of the race today because of an arm injury.

We also wanted to add that the race officials decided to allow a 3 mile portage in Mt. Pleasant because of the high water, the current is very strong through there. Mark P. paddled through there and said it was a killer!


Mark SPOT 3:18pm

Puts him right on West Pleasant Valley Road. I thought he forgot about us out here is cyber space.

Not sure of the what where and why, but we finally got a SPOT message.

Yesterday was a blurr

Mark reports 6:11am

Running out of water, dehydrated and beaten down, Mark pays the price for not stopping and filtering water."Man what was I thinking."

"Yesterday was a blurr", Mark reports. Pulls over at Island Park to do a little house keeping and grub some food. Nothing like a gallon of water and a Domino's pizza to make things right in the world.

Back on the water this morning feeling OK. Mark hopes to stay ahead of of last year's time. Should make the portage late tonight and will try to finish by 8:00pm tomorrow.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bushwhacker Update

Cruise Paddlers:
The only women team paddling the Bushwhacker Cruise arrived in Alma at 1:50 PM. You go girls!!!

The Bushwhacker Challenge has claimed it's second paddler. George dropped out several miles up the Chippewa River, his back giving him problems.

1:00 pm, Bradfords were west of Mount Pleasant @ Island Park and approuching Check Point #3. They had earlier stopped and got a 2 hour nap.

2:45 pm, Todd & Mike called to report that they were almost to Meridian Rd. They said the current is Very Strong, and that they're hanging in there! They are paddling about an hour and taking a 5 minute break.

We haven't heard from Mark yet today, but his goal was to make it to Check Point #3 and camp tonight.

The Bradfords made Check Point #3 at 6:50 pm. WOW are the making good time! Their goal is to beat last years time and they're well on the way to doing that!

Check Point #2

Check out the race article in the Morning Sun News:
Check out Bushwhacker pictures:

Cruise paddlers Roxane & Lois left Cesars Crossing at 10 am

You can check Marks' Spot Tracker - It shows when he manually transmits

Check Point #2:
Bradfords: 5/16, 7:40 pm - comments: Great!
Mark: 5/16, 11:15 pm - comments: Tons of wildlife- Mid-Michigan Safari!!!
Mike & Todd: 5/16, 11:16 pm - comments: Havin fun now, (left 5/17, 7:25 am)
John: 5/17, 8:35 am - comments: COLD
Bruce: 5/17, 8:36 am - comments: tendons are saying stop! (left the river as this point)
Dan: 5/17, 10:38 am - comments: nice morning paddle
George: 5/17, 10:40 am - Geoge missed the check point - watched him round the corner into the Chippewa River
Jack: 5/17, 11:37 am - comments: Now I Remember!!
Brian: 5/17, 12:31 pm

When the going gets tough

and it does on the Bushwhacker 150, I mean really tough. Some encouraging words from the RiverMaster;

"Skill is less important than spirit when faced with hardship and challenge, in the end your spirit will make up for any perceived lack in skill you might think you have." - Verlen Kruger

Mark Reports 7:42am

Mark pulls an all nighter - states he is going to lay down for an hour or so. He's some what delirious blabbing on and on about pink elephants and giving me his PIN to his debit card. :-)

His SPOT appears to be working from his end, but as we know on our end is NOT tracking him on the river.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Black Magic - on the move

Mike Reports 8:20pm

Black Magic is on the move and clears CP2. Mike Smith estimates Mark will be in shortly. The rumor on the river is they are going to push late into the night.

Temperature dropped significantly as the sunset. Bundle up Chit-lands it's going to be a long cold night.

Good Bye Ole Friend

Nite Navigator
Latitude :43.3734
Longitude :-84.835
Time : Saturday, May 16, 2009 8:21:49 AM

Here she lay on the bottom of the Pine River. Night Navigator (Bob) and Son (Mike) lost their SPOT over board in their quest of conquering the Bushwhacker 150.

We now have a geo cache event if anyone wants to plug in the coordinates and go look for it.

Mark Reports a tail wind coasting at 3mph under blue sky's and mild temps. -

Nightsong - (Janet Bradford) - reports "I've crossed the Pine River a couple of times and haven't seen anyone. Where is everybody?"

Check Point #1

(Cruiser check-in @ Alma)
Jason K.- 3:04pm
Scott S.- 3:58pm

(150 check-in @ St. Louis dam)
Bradfords- 2:44pm-comments: We lost our Spot someplace
Mark P.-4:36pm-comments- Awesome weather, next stop Nature Center
John F.-4:42pm-comments- Sick of seeing Marks' ass
Bruce- 4:43pm-comments- I like tail winds
Todd & Bone- 4:54pm-comments- Paddle on
George- 5:30pm- I'd like to see it (in reference to Johns' comment)
Dan- 5:33pm- paddle, paddle, paddle
Jack- 6:30pm- Great time
Brian- 6:44pm-Great day

Sumner - Centennial Park Check-in

150 Paddlers: Bradfords- 10:22am, Bruce K.- 10:39am, Mark P.-10:40am, John F.- 10:47am, George S.- 10:50am, Anderson & Cesar- 10:50am, Dan S.- 11:17am, Jack M.- 11:24am, Brian K.- 11:38am

Cruise Paddlers: Jason K.- 10:55am, Scott S.- 11:10am, Caszatt & Lopez- 11:55am, Smith & Blakely-1:12pm

Sprint Paddlers: Colthorp & Phillips- 10:55am, Holbereks- 11:23am, Helman & Loomis- 11:34am, Vallen- 11:45am, J.Cesar 11:47am, Lyon- 1148am, Behrend & Clingman- 11:51am, Graham & Gluney- 11:51am, Myrices- 12:10pm, Leyrer- 12:31pm, J. Cesar & R. Roberson- 12:32pm, Terwilliger & Fairchild- 12:50pm, Anderson & Behrend- 1:10pm, T. Cesar & L. Robinson- DNF

The Bushwhacker Paddlers

150 Paddlers: Bob & Mike Bradford, Mike Anderson & Todd Cesar, Mark Przedwojewski, Dan Smith, Bruce Kurzhals, Jack Murgittroid, Brian Keel, John Flegg, George Stackman

Cruise Paddlers: Brian Caszatt & Manny Lopez, Roxanne Smith & Lois Blakely, Scott Smith, Jason Kruger

Sprint Paddlers: Cora Brehrend & Mike Clingman, Adam & John Hoberek, Nate Helman & Zac Loomis, Pete Behrend & Mike Klingman, Aron Anderson & Corey Behrend , Jerry Cesar & Rich Roberson, Tracy Cesar & Laurre Roberson, Joseph Terwilliger & Duane Fairchild, Samual Graham & Travis Gluney, Tara & Frank Myrice, Mike Leyrer, Morgan Vallen, Jacob Cesar, Phillip Lyon

Let the SHOW begin!!

Mike Smith Event Director Reports 9:20am

Well the numbers are in! Nine Bush-paddlers in the 150, Six Bush-paddlers in the Cruise and twenty-four in the Sprint. Not a bad showing for a high wind 50 degree morning on the Pine River!

The race was delayed by 5 or so minutes when one of the entrants dumped it at the put-in and his paddle left with out him. Mark to the rescue!! So after the pre-race show the event began with out further incident!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Start the Presses!!

Nice article on the Bushwhacker at the Morning Sun Newspaper - click here

Keeping it moving

We're just days away from another KCA event, supporting the Verlen Kruger Memorial. This is one tough challenge, reminds me of the time back in '64 I... digress... Anyway,
We'll once again update you the best we can as information filters through. It's a push pull drag and paddle event, tough as nails and then some.
The word is out to set your SPOT messenger to tracking and forward the link to the KCA blog if you are on an adventure like the Bushwhacker or UHH Challenge.
Another KCA extra:
See the Tobynator and a handful of his cronies on "Toby Tracker" take on another spectacular Michigan river; The Au Sable.
The Adventure is on...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

UHH Challenge Finnally

See Mr Woodruff's recap of the UHH Challenge Party at:

More photos for your pleasure by Karen Stock:

Pop the cork on that "herding cats" wine - The Capt'n

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Get Whacked!! May 16th, 2009

Bushwhacker Sprint
The sprint will start at Lumberjack Park along with the Cruise and the 150 at 8:30 am.
Sprinters will travel down the Pine River about 10 miles to Sumner Park. There will be a few downfalls and a stretch of fast water so be prepared for a little "Bushwhacking".
Canoes for the Sprint can be rented from Chippewa River Outfitters for $25, please call 888-775-6077 to reserve yours today. Chippewa River Outfitters will donate $10 of each rental to the VKM fund!
Bushwhacker Cruise
The Cruise is set up for those that do not wish to do the full 150 mile event, but want to spend a little more time on the water than what the Sprint offers.
The Cruise starts at 8:30 am along with the Sprint and the 150. Cruisers will travel down river on the Pine to the town of Alma. This is about 25 miles and will include a bunch of "Bushwhacking" to get past a fairly congested spot just past the town of Sumner.
Cruisers may wish to take two days to complete this route, we will have camping available for Cruisers and their land teams at Cesar's Crossing, 7195 West Polk Rd. Alma, MI. 48801. Take out is at the public park in downtown Alma.
Bushwhacker 150
The 150 will start at 8:30am heading down stream on the Pine River, through the towns of Alma and St. Louis and on down to the confluence at the Chippewa River.
At the Chippewa Nature Center we turn and head up-stream on the Chippewa River, up through the town of Mt. Pleasant and on up to the take out for the portage at Gilmore Rd. Bridge.
The 7 mile portage starts with a steep climb out of the Chippewa River valley and up onto a nice country road route that will take us back over to the Pine River at the Pleasant Valley Rd Bridge.
Once back in the Pine River it's just a short downstream bushwhacking paddle to the finish at Lumberjack Park.
Checkpoints- #1 St. Louis Dam. #2 Chippewa Nature Center. Checkpoint #3 near Bucks Run golf course. #4 Gilmore Road Bridge, start of the portage.
More information:
Check out: for more information.
If you are using SPOT and would like to share your Buskwhacker adventure with the world, please send your link to: brian zero zero one seven AT yahoo DOT com -
If you have photos to share, please put them in an online photo gallery and send us the link - This will be the quickest way to get your photos out for viewing.
Raw photos are fine, but there may be a delay in posting as we will needed to load them up to the Picasa - free photo sharing.



Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Paddling the Chicago Canyon

The Boys take a stroll down the Chicago River's Canyon section. The Chicago River is 156 miles long, and flows through Chicago, including the downtown Canyon area.
Though not especially long, the river is notable for the 19th century civil engineering feats that directed its flow south, away from Lake Michigan.

The weather was great and they even opened the locks so there were no portages down the streets of Chicago.

The Chicago River is quite a site during St. Patrick's Day - The celebration includes a river of green dye. The story behind the river of green is told here. Forty three years the Chicago River turns green ...

Ultimate Hugh Heward Update #35

Mark reports 11:41pm 5-4-09

Back home safe and sound! What an adventure!

Mark reports 5:30pm 5-4-09

The Intrepids are off the water and headed back to Michigan. Perfect timing as they are 5:30pm on I-94E in the middle of Chicago rush hour.

I am waiting for one more contact from Mark a final statement of what was an incredible journey. Hopefully the boys will forward me more photos of the second 1/2 of their adventure!

A dip of the paddle and a big thank you to the Hugh Heward Staff and volunteers and a special thank you to Jim Woodruff and family for sharing his expertise and their friendship.

Paddle paddle,

- The Capt'n of the O dark 30

Monday, May 4, 2009

Ultimate Hugh Heward Update #34

Mark Reports 6:46am

The intrepids are on the move for their final day on the water. Mark reports leaning up against a million dollar yacht as he waits for the others to gather. What a night, the boys won big at the casino buffet!!
The day will consist of a 15 mile push to Chicago and a few hours on the Chicago River to paddle the Canyon of skyscrapers. Mike Smith is in route with the Kruger van and trailer to Chicago
Mark will forward more information on the days activities this evening as they make their way back to Michigan.

Mark SPOT 5:19am

View Larger Map

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Ultimate Hugh Heward Update #33

Mark Reports 6:16pm

The Hammond Port Authority has welcomed the intrepid ones into Indiana. Voted number one by boaters for friendliness, service and accessibility the Hammond Yacht Club and Horseshoe Casino are rolling out the welcome wagon.


Susan greeted them dockside with food and drink, along with the keys to the showers at the yacht club. The credit goes to Mike Smith for arranging the venue.


They did a small jump from Michigan City to put them within 15 or so miles from the Chicago River. The "new" plan is to paddle out early and be to Chicago by noon Monday 5-4-09.


The Horseshoe casino boast six restaurants and a heap of ways to lose your shirt or sea wind if you don't play your cards right. Lets hope they make it through this next adventure unscathed.


Did someone mention using sea wind hull numbers at the roulette table?
UHHC Progress Report - May 3 - Jim Woodruff has additional rivoting information on Jon's crossing.

Grand Rapids Press

"It doesn't get any better than this," said Sparta native Toby Nipper of Fort Myers, Fla., while paddling into Grand Rapids on Tuesday. Nipper is traveling with two other friends from Detroit to Chicago. Courtesy of the Grand Rapids Press - see their article here.

Ultimate Hugh Heward Update #32

Mark Reports 7:40am

Unbelievable sunsets and sunrises on the big pond. Confirmed by the group they can see the Chicago skyline.

Mark was on breakfast duty and made pancakes for the group. They are digging it out there, really enjoying these last couple of days.

The extended plan is to stay on the coast and not due the 40 mile jump to Chicago. The group has decided to spend 2 more nights out, arriving in Chicago on Tuesday morning as they want to spend some time paddling the "canyon" (skyscrapers on the Chicago River).

Mike Smith, is scoping google earth and sending info for potential camp sites over the next couple of days. They're hoping for quality real estate with a lake view.

The lake has laid down nicely with calm conditions, sun burning bright, they are on the move but...

The boys just don't want to the trip to end.

Ultimate Hugh Heward Update #31

The SEARS Tower - Not!

Mark reports -dazed and confused

A message yesterday from Mark left the followers of the UHH believing in mermaids and sea serpents and the Easter Bunny. Our hopes are dashed as it is not the Sears tower Mark sees, but a nuclear power plant in all it's glory. Mark, drink more water....

Mark asks, " You're not writing this down are you" - The Capt'n replies, " No no it's of no significant interest to anyone out there that you're dazed and confused"

The Magic of SPOT- It would appear that Jon, under favorable skies and blue water paddled across straight to Chicago from Michigan City which shortened the the distance significantly. A bold move on Lake Michigan in May. We wait in anticipation for an account of his adventure.

Mark SPOT 8:27pm

View Larger Map

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Ultimate Hugh Heward Update #30

Mark reports 9:41am

That he swears he can see the Sears Tower, I on the other hand believe he has drunk too much river water and grain alcohol.

Toby gives Larry a ribbing as Larry has no gear with him, froze his ars off last night with no sleep pad. Has one day dry bag with I think a hanky in it. Course Larry coach did travel the Pacific Coast Trail by bike with 12lbs a gear. Man he goes ultra light.

Toby and Larry are heads down and paddling hard out front in a 2' -4' chop. Mark and Dan are like. "What the..."

Ultimate Hugh Heward Update #29

Warren Dunes State Park

Mark Reports 5-1-09 6:43pm
Nice day of paddling. Larry "Coach" has joined the mousketeers for this portion of the Lake Michigan section. They paddled 32 miles on down to Warrens Dune State Park. Caught a little bit of rain and wind but nothing to write home about.
Warren Dunes State Park is a 1,952 acre state park, full of sand dunes and tourists in the summer; and 4 intrepid paddlers (I like saying Intrepid) They boast a million visitors a year.
Some of the park's dunes include Mt. Fuller, Pikes Peak, and Mt. Edwards, while the best known is Tower Hill, the highest point in the park, standing 240 feet above the lake.
Sand boarding is a popular sport here and easy access to the dunes make it a popular location to practice the sport.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Ultimate Hugh Heward Update #28

Mark reports 7:14am

The mousers took advantage of the weather and took a much needed break yesterday. Mark reports they were all pretty much spent from bashing the 4' + waves.

Today, they are looking at blue sky and 5 mile an hour winds out of the west, a compromise from the southerly and northerly conflicting reports they were getting yesterday.

So they are off, hoping to put in 30 or so miles on the big pond. They will keep a watchful eye out for Larry "Coach" Hoff as they make their way southward.