Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ultimate Hugh Heward Update #27

Mark reports 7:58pm
Wind is really pumping right now, estimating around 25mph and steady. Pushed off the water early at the mercy of Lake Michigan's thunderous surf.
Conflicting weather reports have left the mousketeers scratching their heads on their next move. The consensus was look out the tent in the morning and see what we're up against.
Coach Larry will attempt a rendezvous with the mousketeers somewhere near Van Buren Township. Mother Nature holds all the cards.
Jon is down by Grand Mere State Park. It is unfortunate for us arm chair paddlers that communication has not been established through out the event. Go Jon go!!

Mark SPOT 6:08pm

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Ultimate Hugh Heward Update #26

Mark reports 7:43am
Calm water this morning after a day of headwinds and no real chance of using the sails. There was talk of reeling Jon in as Toby has WaterTribe Fever. But in the end, they decided to stick to the original plan savoring every moment.
Breaking news:
Larry Hoff will be re-joining the group sometime tomorrow. He spoke with the gang yesterday and will make the venture down from Superior, WI. Larry has not done a big open water crossing before and with the water temperature at 38F, mother nature giving the boys a "what for and how bout" the whole trip, it just makes sense do it as a group.
No tsunami expected but the Seiche of 1954 has crossed my mind. Plenty of damage in "Chi-town" with multiple drownings in 1954. But they are catted up and in Sea Winds, no worries.

Mousketeers and the Royals

The boys are making a little history while taking in a bit of history as they pass Castle Park skirting the shoreline of Lake Michigan.
I believe it is a library now owned by the community. This is speculation as information on the web is somewhat ambiguous.
But we know one thing for sure, the boys are paddling on...
Great information on - Jim Woodruff's Blog

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mark SPOT - the big pond!!

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Mark SPOT 7:21am

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Ultimate Hugh Heward Update #25

Mark Reports 7:31am

Mousketeers on the move. They'll make the Big Pond today sometime around noon. The plan is to scoot as far south as they can with the favorable weather.

The Big Pond has it's challenges. Mark reports no un-necessary risks, travelling safe and efficient. Water temperature is reported at 38 degrees.

As they make there way down the Grand River, Mark reports the water is really moving. With all the rain the past week, flood warnings are out for the area they are paddling through today.

The adventure continues...

Bob Bradford Photos

Dan Smith Photos

Bill Weston Photos Portland

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mark SPOT 6:45pm

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Ultimate Hugh Heward Update #24

Mark reports 8:46pm

Energy renewed as a couple from Holland and their daughter arrive on the shore with banana bread. The discussion moves to WaterTribe and it appears they are building a boat to compete in 2010. The name of the family escapes me, but the banana bread will be remembered.

Toby finds GOLD!!! Well almost; he found a ten dollar bill on the ground and treated the gang to coffee as they were portaging... ah life is good on the river.

Big discussion on whether to push on to the big pond (Lake Michigan) today. It was decided that a 52 mile day was enough ( the longest paddling day thus far)

Rumor has it that Larry Hoff may re-join the mousketeers for the Lake Michigan passage. Huge water 6 foot seas. Better to go as a group then doing it alone and be lost at sea. There is safety in numbers.

Jon is on the shore as well waiting it out and Charlie who had high expectations of leaving tomorrow has dropped do to his paddling buddy's bailing out.

The plan is a good night sleep after an outstanding day on the river... the sun is about to set and boys have called it a day.

On the water by 7:00am 4-29-09 - looks to be good weather. Paddle on.

Ultimate Hugh Heward Update #23

Mark reports 7:45am
It rained all night. Rain still coming down as they break down camp this morning.
River is up 8" and flooded out their camp cook area. -At least the boats were pulled up high enough and they didn't have to play a game of "Marco Polo find the Sea Wind"

Mark reports that they will camp one more night on the Grand River before making it to the Lake.
Lake Michigan reports indicate that it is kicking out there. Big water pounding the shoreline, they welcome another night on the river till things calm down a bit.
The good news is there is blue sky in Wisconsin which is headed there way.

Toby Photos part two

3 Mousketeers Chicago or Bust

Photo provided by Bill Weston
It looks like the boys are going out for a day paddle, the luxury of paddling a Sea Wind. Everything can get stored below decks leaving clean unobstructed lines of sight. The Mousketeers say good bye to Portland.

Mark SPOT 7:19 pm

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Ultimate Hugh Heward Update #22

Mark reports 6:00pm

Four portages, high winds and rain set the stage for this section of the Grand River; just west of Saranac the 3 mousketeers call it a day. Mother nature served up more of the same - high winds and rain.
A tough day of paddling as the crowds have thinned. The synergy of Intrepid 4 and the Hugh Heward 50 in its 10th year running has come to an end. The boys are on their own.
See Jim Woodruff''s blog for more information on Larry Jon and Charlie.

Mark SPOT 8:15am

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Ultimate Hugh Heward Update #21

Mark reports 7:31am

Plan is to push from shore at 8:00am - The day is filled with portages around hydro-dams and a fierce headwind - Gusts to 45 miles an hour expected out of the West.
The boys feel a bit lost without Big Tuna's humor and knowledge. Toby states, "We're like three blind mice out here"
It appears the conditions have scared off any day paddlers - So the 3 mousketeers are on their own.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Toby's Photos part one

Ultimate Hugh Heward Update #20

Mark Reports 5:14pm

After a rest / logistics day; The plan is for an 8:00 am EST start Monday the 27th at the Verlen Kruger Memorial Site on the Grand River.

The big news is the Intrepid 4 loose a member tomorrow, Charlie will be taking another day off and paddling to the coast with a couple other paddlers. His original float plan did not include the Lake Michigan passage.

So we say good bye to the "Big Tuna" and wish him well, we say paddle safe to the three that dare.

See Jim Woodruf's post: for the Hugh Heward 50 festivities.

Ultimate Hugh Heward Update #19

Brian Reports 6:26 am
From the comforts of the Portland American Heritage Inn

The Intrepid 4 have a day of rest (today), or should I say a day of replenishing, phone calls and visits with loved ones. Not to mention a time for story telling, not just this trip, but the ones past and ones being dreamt about. You get Larry, Toby, Dan, Charlie and Mark in a room all at one time, things happen.

I spotted Jon in his kayak blaze through Dimondale on Friday, I was river left, he was river right. He stopped for a short period, but I never got to speak with him. He is forging ahead. Though the word on the river is weather permitting, he is going straight across Lake Michigan and NOT folllowing the shoreline. It's still pouring rain and the wind is kicking, so it's a mystery what his final plan will be. He has a SPOT and you can track his progress from this blog.

The timing of the Ultimate Hugh Heward and the Hugh Heward 50 was perfect. Lots of time to relive the adventure thus far; from snow and ice to torrential down pours, they are seeing it all.

The Hugh Heward 50 stuck right dab in the middle of the Ultimate gave me and a 108 other participants a chance to experience what the boys are going through, though on a much smaller scale.

Here are some highlights:

  • The letter "H" in Michigan - stands for Hospitality.
  • Vehicle shuttlers and all the volunteers - The Hugh Heward Organizers, Outstanding effort!!
  • Spending some time with Jim Woodruff and family; They put on a spread at his home on the Grand River with cold drinks, fresh fruit for all paddlers making their way to Portland.
  • Every town every village every person standing on river bank or bridge was a fan. Lots of energy around the event.
  • The Village Inn restaurant in Dimondale - Mike the owner stayed open late and opened early for all the participants

The arrival to Dimondale, MI

Friday, April 24, 2009

Ultimate Hugh Heward Update #18

Mark Reports 4-23-09 8:30 pm

There was a break away by Mark as he set up a rendezvous with Michelle for dinner. It time out perfectly as the group of three, Toby Dan and Charlie arrive as Mark re-entered the water to go make camp.

They camped about 15 miles out from Dimondale.

Mark Reports 4-24-09 7:30am

The Intrepid 4 are back on the water and plan to parley with Chuck Ambroy for lunch in route. Estimated time of arrival Dimondale, 2:00pm.

Capt'n Reports 4-24-09 8:50 am

We arrived in Dimondale 8:15am - Scouted the put-in and camp amenities. Then immediately headed over to the Mike's Village restaurant for an outstanding breakfast and an opportunity to jump on his computer and update everyone. Thanks Mike!!

Gonna sort some gear and shuttle some vehicles and wait for the Intrepid 4 to arrive!!


  • Michigan comes by the title of "Water Wonderland"
  • Bordered by 4 Great Lakes - 3,251 miles of shoreline.
  • Michigan has 11.037 inland lakes, and 36,000 miles of rivers and streams
  • There is no point in Michigan then is more then 6 miles from a river or lake.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Mark SPOT 8:46am

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Ultimate Hugh Heward Update #17

Mark reports 8:25am

The Intrepid 4 are enjoying the down hill paddling after an exhausting 6 days of uphill paddling, long treks, rain sleet snow and an elevation gain in the hundreds of feet. Not to forget the high winds in their face and 30 degree temperatures.
They plan on making some miles today, no goal stated, but Dimondale is not out of reach for this crew.
The "KCA Blog" will be going native after tonight. Boo and I will be in route to Dimondale to meet up with everyone and participate in the legendary Hugh Heward 50 on Saturday. Future reports will be from the field. Enough of this arm chair paddling.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mark SPOT 7:00pm

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Ultimate Hugh Heward Update #16

Mark Reports 6:35pm

Intrepid 4 in good spirits - 1 mile out from the 7 mile plus portage - Plan to walk till just before dark make a meal - Walk till they get to the put in - somewhere around 11:00pm - Get a good nights sleep - Tomorrow's plan: put on some river miles.

Highlights from today:

  • More snow - Toby says he seen enough -he's paddled in snow. Looking forward to the 75 degree*+ day on Saturday.
  • They're still laughing at the "Toby Tracker" -coined phrase. now a registered trade mark. :-)
  • They heard that Jon has some severe tendentious going on. Tracker shows him on the move.
  • Patty Pape presents: Photos from Hell Creek

"Don't forget it is EARTH DAY!!! Going GREEN means paddling the "highways" across the state like Hugh Heward did. Today the paddlers are crossing the "Great Divide" of Michigan....the stretch of land running through southern Michigan that separates falling rain from going to either Lake Erie or Lake Michigan." - Patty

Snagged from Mr.Woodruff's blog

Jon Holmes went thru a couple hours ahead of them but did not stop. Missed a good time. He got a break on Portage Creek because someone has been cutting out the snags. Check out this slide show of his passage through Hell: - Courtesy of Patty Pape

Just my luck I'd miss free beer and pizza---

Mark SPOT 9:39am

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Ultimate Hugh Heward Update #15

Mark reports 9:20am

Some go to hell in a hand basket--- others like the Intrepid 4 go by canoe.

As they say good bye to all the well wishers and a big thank you to the community of Hell, MI the boys are off.

The plan is to make it through the portage, where they will finally start paddling down hill. Check out if your interested in what Hell, MI is all about.

Everyone is in good "spirits"! The adventure continues!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ultimate Hugh Heward Update #14

Hell's Chapel
Mark Reports 7:32pm
from the sleepy hamlet of Hell, MI

The Intrepid 4 have made their way to Hell, Michigan and are all tucked into The Dam Site Inn for a touch of the barley pop and pizza. It's my understanding that Jim Woodruff is there and buying!

Today's adventures brought a first for Toby Nipper. He got to paddle in snow!! Actually it was freezing rain / sleet
"I need a motorcycle helmet with a visor" Toby shouted to the group. More laughter...
My previous post was to inject some humor and color to the commentary but fact is stranger then fiction. Here we go; The truth be told -


  • Jon is on the move making the 7 or so mile portage this evening - did I mention the temperature will be in the low 30's with snow forecasted.


  • The Intrepid 4 are well into the cocktail hour eating pizza and talking story. There was a ceremonial tip of the paddle and a moment of silence for Jon's fortitude, but then somebody bought another round of drinks and they forgot all about him.

  • Toby and Charlie are sleeping in what is known as Hell's Chapel. The locals really play up the whole "Hell" moniker... and have Satin's den all made up for weddings and stuff. - Seriously you can't make this stuff up...
  • Tomorrow for adventure and 15 minutes of fame the boys are being treated to breakfast from the owner of the Screams Ice Cream & Halloween store. They'll beable to say hello to local "Survivor: Micronesia - Fans vs. Favorites" star Erik Reichenbach, the "ice-cream scooper from Hell," now that's what I am talking about.

The curse of the working man

This work thing is getting in the way... again.

Mark did not call this morning. I assume the weather was not cooperating and his cell phone would be at risk of getting wet.

I sent a text message around 8:00am est and he replied they were on the move.

The 5:17pm SPOT MESSAGE puts the Intrepid 4 in a field with a large grille burning some steaks, you can almost see them raising their beers to the satellite. OK I'm being somewhat creative to make this post interesting. But....

Mark did call around 1:00pm est; I was busy doing this work thing and missed his call.

Stay tuned... for updates!!

Mark SPOT 5:17pm

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Ultimate Hugh Heward Update #13

Mark reports 6:42pm

The river is raging - the soggy bottom boys have been hoofing it, making their way to the comforts of Unadilla Boatworks.

Big shout out to Ron Sell owner operator who has offered a hot shower and a dry place to sleep. He restores boats and builds wooden kayaks and canoes...imagine that? I wonder what they will have to talk about?

"The river is rising with all the rain, there are sections that I wouldn't run down river let alone trying to paddle up river" - Mark P.

Mark reports the fun meter is running high despite the weather and river conditions, which as I write is getting worse with the temperature dropping. It appears the Intrepid 4 can't stop laughing; personally I think its dehydration and hypothermia setting in.

They have nicknamed this section the "Highway to Hell" as their goal is to make it to Hell Michigan by tomorrow night. Blisters are abundant.


There are two leading theories cited by residents for the origin of Hell's name:

The first holds that a pair of German travelers stepped out of a stagecoach one sunny afternoon in the 1830s, and one said to the other, "So schön und hell!" - translated as, "So beautiful and bright!" Their comments were overheard by some locals and the name stuck.

The second holds that after Michigan gained statehood, George Reeves was asked what he thought the town he helped settle should be called, and replied, "I don't care, you can name it Hell for all I care." The name became official on October 13, 1841.

Larry Hoff

Larry is alive and well. He has a great accounting of his first three days on the Ultimate Hugh Heward. Click here to be inspired.

Ultimate Hugh Heward Update #12

Mark reports 7:12am

Pouring rain and fast moving water seems to be the theme of the UHH challenge thus far. The Intrepid 4 are planning on making Dexter, 17 river miles away.

Lots of downed trees, snags. log jams and other nastys; They saw another canoe wrapped all bent and tattered in a log jam yesterday.

They are a head of schedule despite the conditions. I personally call that good planning.

It appears that the section around Ann Arbor ("Treetown" as us locals like to call it) is running extremely fast. This supports Larry's decision to portage this section by bike.

Dan Smith made some calls and it looks like they have found a guide that knows this area and is willing to share his knowledge and get them through this section safely. Now when Dan and Mark, Toby and Charlie get a guide, you know this is tough going.

They are on the move and back in the water.

Mark SPOT 4-19-09 9:33pm,-83.6453&ie=UTF8&om=1&ll=42.265257,-83.644474&spn=0.004049,0.007038&t=h&z=17&layer=t

For some reason this particular map could not be embedded into the blog, If you zoom in you can see the portage trail river left. That is one big dam.

I missed Mark's call last night, but by comparing tracks and Toby's OK message I can see they stopped around 7:30pm and Mark's OK message still has them in the same location at 9:33pm. I would assume they spent the night there.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ultimate Hugh Heward Update #11

Mark reports 6:47pm

Larry has taken out at Dexter and is riding his bike and putting back in at the Grand River. Mark reports Larry is in great spirits and enjoying his adventure across Michigan.

As reported earlier, the river narrowed quite a bit as seen on Toby's SPOT Tracker. The Intrepid 4 as we are now calling them are portaging on Huron River Road and plan to hump gear and soul to the Superior Dam. Charlie having done this section before had good insight and the group agreed... "We're walking"

Getting the hang of it

Well it has only taken me the better part of 2 days to track down Jon's SPOT and updated current and past locations. John is in an Eddyline Kayak

Looks like we got a race going on.

I have put both Toby's and Jon's SPOT Tracking links to the top left of the page for easy access. -

Jon's Tracker - Click Here

Toby's Tracker - Click Here

Comment Appreciation!!

Thank you all for your encouragement - I will forward your comments to Mark so he can pass them along!

paddle paddle...

Mark SPOT 2:38pm

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Ultimate Hugh Heward Update #10

Toby's Tracks have the intrepid 4 off of Ford Lake and making their way up the Huron River.

From the looks of things they may be stopped at Riverside Park. The shelter of the river's banks should offer some comfort from the wind and rain as they forge forward. But they will be hard pressed fighting the current as the river narrows dramatically in this next section.

Mr. Woodruff's blog offers good color to the event... He had me at "kind a like herding cats" More of the writings of Jim Woodruff can be found at: The Topologist's Blog

Slideshow from the start of the UHH 2009
Big thank you to Karen Stock (Jim Woodruff's daughter) for sharing her pictures.

Making tracks

Toby Tracker - Click Here

Ultimate Hugh Heward Update #9

Mark reports 7:32am

They came across a recreational kayak pinned against a downed tree. Charlie stopped and talked to the locals about it and there was a rescue performed yesterday, it appears everyone is OK. A man and a woman. The dumped it and was clinging to the shore up from the kayak.

They are moving almost a mile an hour faster then yesterday with the decrease in current. By the time they hit Ann Arbor MI the will have increased elevation by 269 feet from the mouth of the Huron River. They are paddling almost to the source (1001 ft above sea level) before they start picking their way through the creeks.

Ann Arbor News Reports: Saturday April 18 - 7:23pm
Ann Arbor firefighters rescue two kayakers from Huron River
by John Mulcahy The Ann Arbor News
Ann Arbor firefighters rescued a man and a woman from a railroad bridge pylon in the Huron River after their kayaks overturned Saturday, fire Battalion Chief Robert Vogel said.
Two other people whose kayaks overturned were able to get themselves out of the water, Vogel said.
The firefighters first were called to the University of Michigan's Mitchell Field on Fuller Road at about 2:30 p.m., where they found four empty kayaks and broken paddles, but no people, Vogel said.
The firefighters then began searching upstream until they found the two people on a concrete railroad bridge pylon near Nichols Drive, Vogel said.
Firefighters had to go onto the railroad bridge, lower a ladder and help the people up the ladder, Vogel said.
The kayakers were treated by personnel from Huron Valley Ambulance, Vogel said. He was not sure if they were taken to a hospital.
Ann Arbor Recreation Department workers found the other two kayakers Vogel said. The kayaks had been rented from the Ann Arbor Recreation Department, he said.

Mark SPOT 5:56am

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Ultimate Hugh Heward Update #8

Mark Reports -7:11am

A long restless sleepless night as they were right in the flight path of Metro Airport. As luck would have it the train kept going by as well; memories of the MR340.

Water levels have drop about 8" overnight, not really sure how that is going to effect their travels today, fingers crossed that the current will lessen.

The intrepid 4 are still paddling together; nobody slipped off in the night trying to make a break for it.

They are on the move! Toby Tracker - Click here

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Ultimate Hugh Heward Update #7

Mark reports 9:20pm

Stealth camped for the night after a very tiring day of paddling. They are at the Willow Metro Park far off the beaten path. Toby's track #50 shows they are tucked into some trees.

Mark stated with the current running deep and fast they made 20 miles and they felt darn good about it too.

Larry Hoff who is out in front had packed a folding bicycle. Mark reports that with the swift current and slow forward progress, Larry is off the river and towing his Sea Wind by bicycle. If I understood Mark correctly Larry will be near or in Ann Arbor tonight.

I do not have any news to report on Jon Holmes of Lowell MI - He is in a kayak and was a head of the Intrepid 4 - If anyone knows his where abouts or has his SPOT information, please forward - Thanks!

Factoids - Willow Metro Park -Pics of the park - one pic shows whitewater!! -click here

  • Beautiful 18-hole golf course
  • Skate park
  • A 17-acre pond
  • Hike-bike trail
  • Disc golf course
  • Children's play area
  • Groomed cross country ski trails
  • Four tired paddlers hunkered down in the brush

Mark SPOT 3:48pm

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Mark SPOT 12:11pm

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Making Tracks

Tracking Toby - Click Here

11:10am est 4-18-09 nice set of tracks showing the first portage, as you can see carts are a good idea. Go to satellite view and zoom in.

If anyone has any information on tracking Larry Hoff or John Holmes... please send to: brian zero zero one seven AT yahoo DOT com

Most appreciated!!

Mark SPOT - Camp site

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Ultimate Hugh Heward Update #6

Mark reports 7:00am eastern time:


There are 4 of us paddling together, Dan, Toby, Charlie and myself. We found a great place to camp about 4 miles up the Huron River, nice spot even had a fire pit.


The paddle up the Huron should prove interesting as there is significant current and lots of bridge pilings to negotiate. We plan on putting on some miles today and paddling well into the evening as a cold front is moving in and it may be slow going tomorrow.


The fun begins as we start the first of many portages, everyone has carts, so it should be very efficient as we work together to make forward progress.


It appears that Toby has been hanging around with Bob Bradford and it shows. Toby is a really strong paddler you'd never know he has only been paddling a short while.


Breaking News: This ain't no pleasure cruise.... Day paddlers say good bye...


There is a great pic of the start at:
Nice Pic Mr. Woodruff!!


I was just informed that Larry Hoff is participating in the UHH 2009. He is about 6 miles a head of the group of 4 and John Holmes in the kayak is not far behind Larry. You can get more information on the UHH at Larry's website and blog at:


Factoids: Huron River

  • There are more than 2,000 campsites within the watershed.

  • Well over 300 lakes drain into the Huron.

  • A total of 11 major dams exist on the main branch between the headwaters and Lake Erie; over 90 on the entire river system.

  • There are 24 major tributaries totaling about 370 miles in addition to the mainstream.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Ultimate Hugh Heward Update #5

Spoke with Mark briefly. It looks like for the time being they are all going to paddle together. They are pulled over waiting just off of Point Mouille Road to regroup before heading up the Huron River. The group got seperated in the choppy water.

Tracking Toby click here


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Ultimate Hugh Heward Update #4

A big thanks to Watertriber RunningMouth (Jon Coble) for forwarding the link to WhiteCaps (Toby) SPOT tracker. You can see it here:

Tracking Toby- click here

Please feel free to post encouraging comments to these posts! Event participants enjoy coming back after the event and reliving the experience!

Adventure On!!


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Hugh Heward Update #3

Mark reports: 9:15 am start

Great weather for the start of the UHH 2009! Four other paddlers join the Intrepid 5 for a head count of nine to do the first leg to the Huron River.

A slight chop on the water and lots of walleye fisherman enjoying the morning. Mark sounded pretty excited to be out paddling and having the day group along too.

As a reminder you can join the group at your leisure, paddling any section of the trip. Also the Hugh Heward 50 start next weekend on the 25th. Come join us for a paddle on the Grand River!

Mark - SPOT

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Hugh Heward Update #2

Belle Isle - Northside Beach - START
(click to enlarge)

The Challengers:

1. Mark Przedwojewski of Irons MI - Builder of Kruger Canoes
Paddling a SEA WIND
2. Dan Smith of Portland MI - Chairman Verlen Kruger Memorial Association
Paddling a SEA WIND
3. Charlie Parmelee of Leslie MI - Ultimate Hugh Heward Challenge 2008
Paddling a SEA WIND
4. Toby Nipper of Fort Meyers FLA - Knife maker and long-distance paddler
Paddling a SEA WIND
5. Jon Holmes of Lowell MI - Kayak instructor
6. Larry Hoff - Somewhere in the USA - Adventurer, website worth a looksee
Paddling a SEA WIND

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ultimate Hugh Heward - Update #1

Today is a travel day for most competitors as they make their way to the beach on Belle Isle on the Detroit River. Event start time 8:30am Friday, April 17th 2009
As information filters through the air waves and wires that are the Internet, I will post here on the Kruger Canoe Adventure Blog.
Historian Jim Woodruff will be posting UHH information on his blog as well. He has captured Charlie's 2008 Hugh Heward adventure, which will give you some insight to what our intrepid adventurer's will be experiencing.
If you have information on the event and would like to share, you can send your information to brian zero zero one seven (0017) AT yahoo DOT com
Adventure on!!