Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sharoom - Update # 11

Mark Reports 8:40am EST
A short message from Mark that he and Jack had finished before 1:00am this morning; A heck of a run, a tough challenge, doubtful that he would be doing it again. (now that's tough)
All I can say is a great effort!!
The Capt'n

Sharoom - Update # 10

Capt'n Reports

Not sure what's going on with the SPOT, I don't think SPOT is accurately reporting their present location; date and times don't match up; so this is where I take creative liberties for the viewing public.

It appears there was a kitty caught up a tree, a fishing hook in a little boy's finger and an old woman the needed walking across the street; The boy scouts Mark and Jack took care a bid - ness, receiving the keys to two small towns, and receiving two community meritorious awards have now cashed it all in and are on a whirl-wind talk show circuit.

Well that's how I heard it from Toby.

Mark SPOT -click here
Jack SPOT - click here

Sharoom - Update # 9

Toby Reports

Sends a big "shout out" and a "howdy-do" to all participants; A dip of the paddle for safe and enjoyable paddle.

Sharoom - Update # 8

Tim Reports - 9:30pEST

Just rambling along Tim Keen and Shari Schmidt are in Mark's cruiser running sweep; nothing but positive vibes enjoying the trip; looking forward to finishing tomorrow; presently 10 miles out of Manistee.

Sharoom - Update # 7

Mark Reports 915p EST
Jack caught back up to Mark; the chills set in and both pulled over to make a warming fire just past 18 mile bridge; All toasty the plan is to push through the night finishing just before dawn.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sharoom - Update # 6

500pm EST

Mark called to do a SPOT check to see where everybody is on the river; it appears Jack held back waiting for Craig as he was struggling a bit (had no push pole); Mayhem + Chaos = A Kruger Canoe Adventure!

Sharoom - Update # 5

3:50pm EST
Craig Belmonte called and left a message that after making the corner in hot pursuit of Mark and Jack, he got a how about and what for going up stream -quoting " I really could have used a push-pole, I went swimming more then paddled" Craig has decided to pull out.
Now I got a garbled message from some folks on the Manistee Ramble (Tim Keen (?) and company I think) though they are not on the roster to verify names; stated they are having the time of their lives and just left Tippy Dam.

Sharoom - Update # 4

Mark Reports 8:00am est
Three hours of sleep Jack and Mark feeling pretty good; The fun meter high as Craig Belmonte sporting a Chesapeake 17LT holds his own and hangs with the boys as they just crest 57 miles.

Sharoom - Update #3

Mark reports late last night (1040pm) that they had made it to High bridge after dealing with lots of fisherman at the Tippy Dam. Mark further states that temperatures have been holding so it has bee quite pleasant paddling.
Mark SPOT - Click Here
Jack SPOT - Click Here

Friday, September 30, 2011

Sharoom - Update # 2

Here are a few shots from the Hoydenpyl Dam Portage. Nothing like taking your canoe out for a walk! Keep er moving!!

Sharoom - Update #1

Jim Keen dropped me a quick message; the boys are at the Mushroom Sports Bar carbo loading before the big push to the river. Hope they don't get too comfortable and order another pitcher! It's a great establishment for just this sort of thing.
Could be a soggy start but the rest of the weekend looks to be stellar for paddling.
The Capt'n

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Iron Mushroom Challenge 2011

Start 3pm on September 30

La Mans style start from the Mushroom Sports Bar will offer a unique starting procedure as paddlers need to portage gear and craft to river's edge.
Here is a link to Google maps where you can manipulate the view and see the course; Hodenpyl, Red Bridge and Tippy Dam mark the way - Click here

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Iron Mushroom Challenge

In the Kingdom Fungi "The Iron Mushroom" Rules, we give you -
The Roster - Click Here
Tracking with SPOT
Jack - Click Here
Mark - Click Here

Monday, September 12, 2011


We had great weather with just a few hours of heavy fog for the first running of the AuSable 115 Expedition Style Challenge. Five hardy adventurers took on the Challenge, all paddling Kruger Designed canoes. Headlights were in full use, power bars close at hand and rain gear at the ready. It was all a great success!!! Look for this event to be an annual undertaking!!

Official Results:
Bob Bradford 22 hours 53 minutes
Jack Murgittroyd 25 hours 15 minutes
Mark Przedwojewski 25 hours 15 minutes
Gary Hirsch 26 hours to 5Channels Dam
Tim Keen 26 hours to 5Channels Dam

Monday, September 5, 2011

Another one down.... the river

A quick peak at SPOT and we see some of the boys have made it down the Au Sable, I think; Bob Bradford called yesterday posting a finish time of 23 hours and some change, un-supported; the rest of the Klondikes have not reported in.... at all. Naughty naughty...
The scoldings and name calling will continue, till we get some answers.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Throw back to the 40's

Well the boys are at it again; this time over Labor Day weekend. A throw back to the 1940's when men were men and well women were not included; the ole rules said "Men Only"... oh how far we've come on the Au Sable River. This event... solo unsupported. (women welcome)

Mark's SPOT -click here

Bob's SPOT - click here

Jack's SPOT - click here

Gary's SPOT - click here

AuSable River Expedition Style Paddle

120 miles-unsupported-down the historic AuSable River
September 3rd - 4th - 5th , 2011 (Labor Day Weekend)
Start – Grayling at the Old AuSable Fly Shop at 4pm, September 3rd
Finish – Oscoda at the AuSable Inn by 8am, September 5th
All paddle craft welcome, solo, tandem or many
Rules of the paddle
Self supported at all time. Without feeders, land teams or pit crews
Portages at 6 dams along the river on established portage routes
All paddlers are responsible for their own safety at all times
Have fun and enjoy the Northern Michigan Wilderness

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Big Show - Comes to an end!!

A pictorial of the last couple of days of the Tip O Mitt Small Boat Adventure!!

Now that's entertainment!!

As the awards and dinner progressed, the last two Full Mitt participants finished!! Now that's entertainment; cheers hoot and hollering!! You couldn't have orchestrated this any better!!

This is a great finish to a great event!!! That is a long way in one of those skinny boats they call kayaks!! Jon Holmes (red and yellow kayak) and Dan Wyns (red kayak) - Wowzer!

Let the awards begin

Mark enjoyed the plank seating in Gabby sooo much, Team Project Lakewell comes up with a prototype seat for the Sea Wind and Cruiser. Mark receives the Plank seat award!!

oh my...

The finish party begins!!
Scott "The Grillman" Smith works the "Smith Barbecue Magic" and gets things a cook'n! Great job to ALL the volunteers that made the dinner an outstanding success!!
Now this is good living!! Thanks Volunteers!!

Gabby - On the Manistee

Captain Mike and select crew take a handful of admirers out for a spin on the Manistee; a real social paddle a dozen or so of boaters joined us for a 3 hour paddle.
A great experience, a lazy day on the river.

Photo by: Bob Bradford

A rare photo opportunity finds the Hunter S. Thompson of adventure reporting hard at work; known in these parts as a cross between Twain and Hemingway; people close to him know him as the Capt'n of the O dark 30, a real William Shakespaddle.
Call him what you like, just don't call him late to the pending pig roast!

Land ho

Team Project Lakewell finds safe harbor at the Insta Launch Campground, the finish line of the Tip of the Mitt. Mass exodus out of Gabby as team members fall to their knees to kiss the ground. Cries of joy as the cheers "were home, were home" soon drowned out by the clanking of cocktail glasses and bottles of barley pops.
Three cheers for the Captain and crew of Gabby!!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Gary and Uncle Al - Racing???

Ah the secret of their success - more pics - click here

Day 4 - Find Lynn

Find Lynn in the photo
Like the book "Find Waldo" we were coordinating a rendezvous location to pick up Lynn for the last leg of the trip; after a couple of calls it was determined we would pick up Lynn and Beverly at the boat ramp just entering the Manistee -wOo hOo...
You could sense the excitement for the finish, but there was this under lying feeling that it is coming to an end; I would say everybody left Gabby wanting more, and that my friends is a good thing.
We had Friday to look forward to and that was a free day; more story telling cocktails and possibly another outing with Gabby on the Manistee.
to be continued...

Day 4 - Clickity Clack

Like kids at opening day at the pool, the excitement builds; Mark's water-wings securely fastened we start lining Gabby down the Platte River back to the blue water of Lake Michigan.
Mark and the crew splish splashed their way south in soggy conditions; crazy as there was no horizon or shoreline to be seen through fog, one becomes a little disorientated bobbing around in the mixed swell.
We were all out of sink with our paddles, clickty clack; hmmm what was the variable in this equation... hmmm MARK!!!
Seriously, it was nice having Mark aboard for the day, a new set of stories to be told and great updates on the TOM participants coming across on the Au Sable / Manistee Rivers. This my friends is one heck of an event.
paddle paddle... to be continued

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Uncle Al (W3854)

Hi, Gang:

I have completed the first two pages of TOM coverage on one of my Wayfarer web sites - click here. Hope to add several more pages before I leave tomorrow for this weekend's regatta in North Bay. Special thanks to Jack and Joan for all their help throughout the adventure!!

Uncle Al (W3854)

Day 4 - Shiver me timbers a stow away

Photo: Bob Bradford
Lynn (Project Lakewell Director) had to get off Gabby in Leland for family commitments, her son and I share the same birthday it's a mystery but this stuff happens. You mean it's not all about me?
In a vail of fog we found a young lad huddled under sail and dry bag, shivering and whining like a lost pup. Where ever did he come from?
The crew of Gabby moved in, "Step Closer Lad" - a little closer, don't be frightened, the giant of a man that stands before you is just "Toby", but every high seas voyage needs one."
The lad inched his way forward frightened; we pondered a bit, Yes! We needed a cabin boy for the last leg of our journey."Cabin Boy, welcome aboard! Hey don't pet the Toby."
When the fog lifted a bit, the sun cast silver beams of light, we recognized our new cabin boy to be non-other than Mark ManitouCruiser, Race Director!!

Photo: Bob Bradford
The cool dampness of the Dragon's Breath made for interesting photo opportunities; out of the mist light houses appeared. Almost felt as if we were off the Isle of Scot. To be continued

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Day 3 - Ship of Fools

The weather was dicey most of the day, we were blown off the water at one point with dropping clouds lightening and torrential rain; No worries though, today was the day of the fool - it was my birthday.
The day is a bit of a blur with all the rain; but we did make time to play in the mud, the crossing of Platte Bay, the fluttering green flag that looked like a signal mirror 2 miles out, the ominous Doppler ball that haunted me for 12 hours and that greeting we all dread coming off the water - when the ranger says, "Welcome, (not) you can't stay here"
Fortunately our intrepid land crew has found the Platte River Campground with all the amenities; we even scored a group site that reminded me of a theater in the round with platforms to pitch tents and an awesome fire pit.
But the highlight for me was the crew found the time to get a birthday cake, card and presents! The topper was a great bottle of wine, Label reading "Ship of Fools" - too funny...
to be continued...

CWA Whiffle Website

"Now that's some good H2o"

Gary Hirsch, Uncle Al and W1321 Wayferers

In an unseasonably cool week in northern Michigan, gentleman adventurers, Gary Hirsch and Uncle Al, got the perfect variety of weather conditions June 18 through 24 that enabled them to show off the magnificent capabilities of Gary's Wayfarer Solje as they completed the nearly 300 miles (green course outlined below) of the 2011 Tip of the Mitt Adventure. more...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Now a word from our Captain

Captain Mike
A "Tip of the Hat", to the crew on day 2.
The day begins early with a light breeze from the North as calm seas are an encouraging sign for team Project Lakewell as we board the Voyager Canoe paddles at the ready. Two Bay crossing to navigate 10 to 12 miles across. Little Traverse Bay and Grand Traverse Bay, mighty as they are we set coarse, take a bearing heading and cast off into the clear blue water.
The crew following the pace set by marathon racer Bob Bradford. Fresh from a good nights rest we stroke with cadence and confidence. Of course the occasional clanging of paddles is heard as we sharpen our skills working desperately to keep pace with Bob, the Bobber Bradford.
Where their is wind the waves will soon follow as we enjoy 1' to 2' foot seas. Gabby thru the coarse of the day eventually gathers speed. The wind at our back we reach over 7 mph. Waves now building and surging rising to 3 and 4 footers. The crew paddling with all their might and determination continues a southern heading.
My wingman/sailor Brian urgently dons his leather gloves as the spinnaker is full blown and demands his utmost attention. If the Captain looses control at the helm Brian will quickly dowse the sail to save the 26' Voyager Canoe from floundering in heavy seas. We broach the waves a couple times and on command this stellar crew brakes to the right to bring her under control. We mount a charge into a four foot trough creating the sensation of a submarine about to ascend into the depths. Gabby holds her own and pops up like a cork, the bow spewing water and creating its own waves as we continue our blistering pace and white knuckle ride. The crews enthusiasm and laughter is followed by a roller coaster ride never to be forgotten.
To the onlooker we would appear to be some sort of weird looking over sized surfboard gathering speed roaring over the surf and crashing thru the waves with such eloquence even the best surfer would be jealous.
A hard earned 46 mile day behind us we set in the confines and safety of the State Park on the Lelauna Peninsula. Sharing stories of the days adventures, adrenaline rushes and good fortune thanks to the well seasoned crew. We listen attentively, the waves battering the shoreline less than one hundred yards from camp. The wind howling hard enough to blow a Rooster into a beer is good!
Our crew planing tomorrows southern sojourn following the beautiful towering Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes as we paddle/sail and enjoy the beauty of one of the grandest of all great Lakes. Lake MI.
Captain Mike

And word from our event director

We had a very successful Tip of the Mitt Adventure event this year. On behalf of the Verlen Kruger Memorial Board, I would like to thank everyone that took part and played a roll in it's beautiful unfolding!


Many took part in full and half adventures out in Lake's Huron and Michigan as well as on the Ausable and Manistee rivers. The routes were tough and grueling at times, yet pleasant and enjoyable and very memorable for all . The routes pass through some of the Great Lakes regions most historical and pristine areas and offers a great challenge to all who seek it.


Thank you all for your continued support and your unquenchable thirst for the joy that is always hidden within the adventure!


Supporters of Tip of the Mitt 2011

Joan & Jack Cramer

Emily & Ben Algera

The Verlen Kruger Memorial Board

Team Kruger

Kruger Canoes

Team Project Lakewell

United States Canoe Association

Barton Farms

Superior Canoes

The Przedwojewski Family

The WaterTribe Family

Insta Launch Campground and Marina

The Towns, Marinas and People of; Oscoda, Alpena, Mackinaw, Leland, Mio, Grayling, Mesick and Manistee as well as all the other helpful people that took care of our adventurers along the way.

Fast Signs of Traverse City


Thank you all, we look forward to working with you again next year for the Tip of the Mitt Adventure 2012! ~ Mark

Day 2 - Bays of no return

Photo by: Bob Bradford
As we bid good day to the hospitality of our support crew and John at the Nature Center, Darin who is doing the event paddles up after stealth camping just down from Gabby.
A hoot and a holler, words of encouragement shared; the day called for 2 big bay crossings and with the weather forecast calling for wind and waves the crew was anxious to get underway.
Darin hung with us momentarily, but once the sails went up we wuz gone.
Photo by: Bob Bradford
Things you don't expect out on the water is Bob putting his paddle down; being up in the bow and before things really started to get hairy - Bob snaps of a picture as the seas start to build.
We were committed, following seas and the far point of the bay in the distance, we are at the point of no return, no going back, laughter and hoots can be heard by the crew of Gabby as we surf /sail our way south.
A shore break made for some good laughs as it was hard to take care of "housekeeping" with 7 other crew members in such close quarters, we pulled over and everyone scurried to the bush only to find out we had made landfall at a Leelanau State Park with a bunch of people milling around - surprise surprise.
.Photo by: Lynn Johnson
The hours clicked by, and evening was upon us, winds howling and waves 3 to 4 foot; the decision was made to pull off the water for the night.
We pulled off at Leland and met our support crew. Harbor master offered us HOT HOT HOT showers, just don't use the ones on the left; it would have been nice if he had mentioned that. :-/
It was nice to get off the water, but the search for a place to stay in the quaint village of Leland proved futile. A trek back north 21 miles to the Leelanau State Park (wern't we just here for lunch and a potty break, dang!) was our home for the night; big cracks of thunder and crashing waves kept us company this evening.
It looked like we would be off the water tomorrow with the reports calling for more of the same. To be continued...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Day 1 - Monday - let the journey begin

Photo by: Lynn Johnson
Incredible amount of energy around the launch of Gabby; all the planning and preparation complete, we push from shore on one of those once in a life time adventures.
The crew gels quickly, spirits high; Bob sets the pace and the rest of us follow, sorta. Lots of paddles clanking that first day as we sort it all out. A north easterly wind builds, setting us up for a nice sail down the coast.
Making good time, our first goal was to clear the tour boats and Mackinaw Bridge which went without incident, next up round wilderness point and head south down the coast, destination Manistee.
We looked desperately for the cut, missed it and had to keep a keen eye as we made our way through a labyrinth of rock gardens to blue water.
A quick break on the lee of wilderness point and we were cruising again. The time went fast as stories of adventure unfolded; conversations were intimate as the wind on the water made it hard for everyone to hear. I sat for the most part behind Bob, Toby to the side and Michael behind me - good times.
The Camaraderie, the bonding of the crew - Fabulous week . . . indescribable . . . if you don't have a plethora of paddlers in your list of friends . . . you're missing the boat! - Beverly Williams Wilson
.Beverly and John (our host for the night)
As we made our way South conditions building, a call went out to our land crew; the search was on for a place to meet up and make camp.
A diligent support crew is very important to an adventure like this; they scored big as they found us unbelievable accommodations at the Thorne Swift Nature Preserve.
Don (support crew) worked the magic and turning on the charm finds out that John Riggs manager of Thorne Swift was part of Project Lakewell a few years back and knew Captain Mike and Project Lakewell Director Lynn; we had ourselves a reunion of sorts, not to mention running water and flush toilets. It felt a little like we were on a swank European bike tour with all the good eats and fancy accommodations - to be continued...

Sunday, June 26, 2011

More Wingman

From the launching of Gabby, take special note of Wingman's graceful entry into the boat...

Click for video

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Rigging and such

Here's a pic of the fore deck and mast partner on Gabby; we flew 3 different sails depending on conditions. A tarp spinnaker which was the bomb; an old school PAS style sail found deep deep in the Wing-man's sail loft and an outstanding main sail, the Balogh Canoe Classic 36.
Captain's nav table had all the fixings, here's a shot of the set up; SPOT, GPS, RADIO and throw bag. Safety first as we went through procedures for capsize and an man over board.
The stories flowed in the bow as the "Bobber" told tale of cold water immersion. Nothing like actual stories to educate the crew on survival.

In true form

Captain Mike takes to high ground and scans the horizon as we take a break after rounding Wilderness Point; Wing-man moves in to capture this historic moment.
Wing-man: "Captain Mike sir, may I have a word with you about living conditions aboard Gabby?"
Captain Mike: "ARRR,"
Another in depth interview from KCA.
Actually the weather was ominous; the Captain doing what he should do, evaluating conditions
Being in an open canoe with 7 crew has its responsibilities; Nice job Captain Mike, I'd paddle / sail with you anywhere.

Wingman goes down

Project Lakewell Director Lynn "Medicine Woman" Johnson - gives a how bout and what fore, for drilling holes into Gabby. Going before the mast Wing-man was cleared of all charges as no holes were drilled. Nothing like a good flogging to bring the crew together.
(I quickly became Toby's Wing-man as we sat next to each other bench #2 in Gabby.)

Bob Bradford - "The Bobber"

This is about the only time the "Bobber" put his paddle down; all seated and ready to go Bob snaps a quick pic. I know what your thinking, 168 miles sitting next to Toby... my thoughts exactly!! Let the adventure begin.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Long live Project Lakewell

Hell bent for glory Team Project Lakewell completes the 1/2 mitt Mackinaw to Manistee 168 miles in 4 days, Captain Mike Smith (arrr), Bob and Janet Bradford, Mike Doty, Marissa (Boo) Weber, Toby (whitecaps) Nipper, Lynn Johnson, Brian (Capt'n O Dark30) Weber tearing up the Big Pond of Lake Michigan.
"Paddles up" to the Crew of Gabagouache and three cheers for Captain Mike for pulling us all together: Hip hip hurray, Hip hip hurray, Hip hip hurray!
An epic trip with big water, high adventure and plenty of laughs.
We had the seasoned land crew of Beverly, Mike and Don - Which turned our trip into the Bed and Breakfast Adventure. Wow, you've never seen such a spread of good food, good cheer and support.
More to follow in the days to come!!

Final Report from the Eclipse

Black Son & the Crazy Russian called at 7:50 am with a report of another cold night with fickle winds...meaning very little wind so the ended up rowing nearly 7 hours until the winds picked up around 3 am. They did pass Gary & Uncle Al during the night, they had their sleeping tents up and all was quite, but they did notice the empty wine bottles, Grey Poupon mustard and cheese wrappers littering the deck as the passed by :-). Grant wasn't sure when they got past them but figured it was in fog sometime. Grant said the winds are presently at around 15 mph and they are about 15 miles from Manistee. Should finish sometime between 10:30 - 11:30 am. They said they've had an awesome trip :-).

Kathy L.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thursday PM

Grant aboard the Eclipse said they made 43 miles yesterday. They got a late start this morning after a good breakfast. Last night Gary, Uncle Al and Grant got motel rooms...with showers :-). Vlad bunked on the marina office couch. The morning started with very little wind and lots of cold fog. The tacked with W-SW winds most of the day and only had made about 15 miles by 7 pm. They had rowed for nearly 4 hrs. Shortly after 7 the winds became more favourable and the sails are up. They said they are eating a stay warm. They plan to sail through the night if the winds stay favorable. They want to get in before tomorrow evening as winds are supposed to shift then.

Kim Cofinstine who was paddling the inside route called this afternoon to report he pulled out at the Sharon Road bridge and has a motel room in Kalkaska nursing a bad case of the flu. He sounded disappointed to have to quit, but also sounded like he sure didn't feel well.

Eva called and said Jack made it to Mesick and was spending the night with friends. She said he was looking forward to a warm bed. A night to recharge batteries, his own and his lights and cell phone. He plans on leaving at 6 am and figures he has a 12 hour paddle to the end.

Kathy L.

Pictures and more pictures!

I caught up with Mark P yesterday in Grayling and he handed me 5 CDs of pictures. These cover the inside route from the start in Oscoda to the portage in Grayling. Enjoy!

Mark's photos:

Dan S. photos:

Ben A.

Thursday AM

Eva left a message last night that Jack was going to press on into the night. He says he's still very tired, but Eva says his spirits are still high and is doing well. Spot tracker this morning shows he camped just past US131 last night.

Kathy L.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Sailors

Grant & Vlad and Gary & Al are all in at Leland. Joan & I just left them after sharing a meal & terrific stories of their day. Both crews were visited by the Coast Guard earlier today. The Coasties were looking for a vessel that radioed in a distress call. When the Coast Guard arrived to check if Grant & Vlad called for help they just missed Vlad skinny dipping for a bathroom break and realized these guys were in their element and were in no need of assistance. They moved on to Gary & Al. When they were approaching Gary & Al, Gary spotted them 1st and suggested they cut happy hour short and greeted the Coasties with a camera and asked them to pose on the craft for photos. Apparently all is well with our merry band of sailors.

We just now received calls from Jon Holmes & Dan Wyns, both reported a successful crossing of Little Grand Traverse Bay and has tucked in for the night.

Darren Gladstone just texted that he was just past Leland and in for the night.

Jack & Joan

Message from the Eclipse

Grant called at 10:30 am and said his day started dry but cold and the Crazy Russian was warm but wet. They departed at 5:30 am with a wild ride and 'some drama'. They met Gary and Uncle Al on Grand Traverse Bay and took time to exchange photos of each other with their boats.
Grant wishes to thank his lovely wife for the 61st. birthday present (June 17) of allowing him this week to make this journey, to whom when he calls her, reports slow winds, no rain and no thunder :-)
Special thanks to Hank in Aura, MI for the weather reports, and to Bruce for help with Gretchen-Fetchen.

Kathy L.

Also if anyone gets the opportunity today, wish Brian Weber a happy birthday!

Grant & Vlad aboard Eclipse

Grant just called at 8:20 AM to report they just crossed Little Grand Traverse Bay and were off Charlievoix, headed to Leland. The crossing was challenging. Last night on the beach was cold & wet. Their spirits were high, looking forward to arriving in Leland around 6PM tonight.

John Craun was camped near Grant and Valdi last night and departed around the same time Grant and Valdi left for their crossing of Little Grand Traverse Bay however, John followed the shore line and did not make the big crossing.

Inside Route

Mark called and said that Dan & Brandon were going to spend the night at Burton's Landing and that Jack was going to press on. Eva called at 2:30 am and said Jack was doing the the rain, and at night to try to avoid major traffic. I see by his spot tracker that he made it to the campground on the Manistee River.

Eva let me know that Jack was back on the water at 9 am. He said the water is fast, so should make good time, but said he is tired. Eva said he is in good spirits, but misses Dan for a that why he ended up on the North Branch???

Kathy L.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Mike said they made 46 miles today, they were hoping for 65 miles but the wind chased them off the lake about 4 pm. They started out with good east winds and sailed most of the day at 7-8 mph. Mike said they're calling for 4-6 ft. waves tomorrow, so Gabby's crew will probably looking at a day of rest.

Kathy L.

More Tuesday PM

Grant & Vlad made it as far as 7 Mile Point just north of Little Traverse Bay and John was just north of them. Jack said the weather is just plain nasty.

Kathy L.


Black Sun just called, him and the Crazy Russian are at the north end of Traverse Bay and are hanging tight for the night. Said there are wild 20-25 mph winds swirling about.
Looking at the weather radar, there are a lot of wild storms going on all over the state...lets pray everyone stays safe out there!

Kathy L.

Tuesday PM

Jon H called at 3:30pm to report he was on dry land in Wilderness SP. He is waiting out the thunderstorms and rough conditions before continuing.

Ben A.

Inside Route

Mark called at noon and said other than Jack taking a slight detour up the North Branch, that they are doing great. The three have been stopping and camping together for the nights. Plans are to get to Grayling tonight, they have a ways to go but all are paddling strong.

Kathy L.

More Tuesday AM

The Eclipse just checked in, said they got an early morning start in the rain with calm waters. They passed under the bridge at around 5:15 am and are headed for Cross Village and Little Traverse Bay.

Kathy L.

Tuesday AM

I forgot to mention that Darren G called last night from Petoskey. He was doing great and was considering paddling a bit more before camping for the night.

Grant and Vlad left early this morning taking advantage of the calmer conditions.

John Craun also left from Mackinaw City early this morning.

Gary and Uncle Al left from Mackinaw this morning at about 8 am. They put up their spinnaker and were gone quickly.

Ben A.

Monday PM Gabagouache Update

Mike Smith called and said they had a good 1st day, they traveled 45 miles and are spending the night with a one of Gabby's paddlers from the Grand River Expedition 1990, John Riggs. Mike said they did some sailing, some paddling and had to buck some 2-3 foot waves. All are very tired and will sleep good. They hope to get close to Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes on Tuesday.

Kathy L.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday PM update

Grant and Vlad attempted to leave CP2 but aborted their attempt. They decided that the shallow water, rocks, and wind direction made it too risky, so they are staying here for the night.

Gary and Uncle Al landed just north of the checkpoint at around 8:30pm. They are also planning to stay for the night.

Dan W called at around 6:30pm from Cheboygan State Park. He planned to continue towards Mackinaw, but was not sure whether he would stop before he got here or not. SPOT shows him continuing to make progress north...

Team Project Lakewell traveled well past their goal for the day. SPOT shows them just north of Harbor Springs.

Pics of Darren G and Gabagouache launch:

Monday pm

Jack reported that Royd dropped out this morning and was going for his vehicle and was going to join the shore crew.
Grant & Vlad where going to stop in Mackinaw City, make some repairs and then continue on.
Dan was still heading north.

Gary & Al called at 7:30 pm and said they have been at check point 2 since 11:00 am resting and napping waiting for the winds and waves to calm so they can continue on.

Kathy L.

Monday AM - part 2

Grant and Vlad landed in Mackinaw City around noon. They had a meal, and are headed to town to get a few things, mainly heat packs... It really is summer... at least that's what the calendar says... They plan to continue when the get back from town.

Also, here are of pics from Jack C of the inside route paddlers:

Monday AM

Darren Gladstone launched his kayak from Mackinaw City this morning around 7am, shortly before the Gabagouach crew. The big canoe left at around 7:30. Pics coming soon!

Got a call from Grant and Vlad that they are about 16nm from Mackinaw City and plan to land here. They are wet and cold and need to stop and warm up.

Ben A.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Shakedown cruise pics

Link to album:

Sunday PM

Jack Cramer called in to let us know that Rord is back in Alpena after weather sent him back there after an attempt to cross Thunder Bay. He is there awaiting calmer waters.
At 4 pm Grant & Vladamir were at Rocker City and Gary & Uncle Al were just north of there. Jack hopes to send us some pictures tomorrow.
At 6:30 pm Dan W. was north of Presque Isle and plans to press on into the night. Dan also said that John H. is ahead of him, but John hasn't checked in with us yet.
Jack also reported the Coast Guard called for a progress report which Jack gave him.

Kathy L.

Team Project Lakewell

We put Gabagouche through the paces, getting a feel for her under sail; we set three different sails as the wind and waves built through out the morning. Took us most of our time on the water to get up wind as we paddled hard into 3 foot rollers; took us about 10 minutes to sail back flying all canvas, what a ride.
Ben got some great photos of us out on the water; check out the photos on his FaceBook.
We are now waiting for the big guns to arrive, Toby (the terror) Nipper and Bob and Janet Bradford.
Life is good at the Tip of the Mitt


Sorry for the delay..I'm at the race track, (MIS) and the phone circuits are crazy busy and having a hard time staying online. I'll be home tomorrow and will be able to do a better job keeping timely updates.
At around 11 am Jack M. was at the fast water above Loud Pond and half way to Alcona Dam, thought he would arrive in about 2 to 3 hrs.
Last night John H. was at South Point at 8 pm and at 11 pm made it to Thunder Bay.
At 7:30 am this morning Grant & Vladamir made it to check point 1.
7:30 am Dan W. made it through check point 1.
9 am Rord W. was through North Point with very windy conditions. His GPS quit working but was pressing on.
Gary & Uncle Al anchored south of the Platte River last night.
1:30 pm Grant & Vladamir were at the old Textile Light and sailing swiftly.
Not sure when the call came in from the Eclipse, said they rowed from Harrisville to half way across Thunder Bay last night until 3 am when the winds picked back up so they continued under sail. They stopped at Rock Port and sad it looked like their competitor got past them. They Plan on stopping for the night in Rogers City.

Kathy L.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Updates for Saturday evening

Jack C. called in at 4:50pm for Gary H. & Al who were just south of Flat River, and at 5:30 pm Roy W. was at Harrisville.

At 5:20pm the sailboat Eclipse with Grant & the Crazy Russian has passed the Harrisville Marina. They said they were a bit over 25 miles from the launch and about 24 miles from Alpena. They were pressing on with steady NE winds they had all day.

Mark called about 8:00 pm and said he'll try to call me in the morning to give me the names of all who are paddling & sailing in this event. Should help me know who I'm getting updates from, so I don't make too many mistakes :-). Mark also said that Dan, Jack and Brandon were doing awesome, that at 4:30 this afternoon they were already 26 miles upriver and going strong. I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable event!

Posted By Kathy L.

The boys on the outside

are making there way up to Thunder Bay; Big question is do they stop before the crossing or keeper moving; only time will tell.
Up here in Mackinaw Team Project Lakewell is working the magic; after trying a variety of sails we settled on the Balogh Classic Canoe Sail on a custom mast, an old school PAS 15 sq foot sail and the tarp spinnaker from Cooke custom sewing. We got options babe e.
High winds kept us off the water today but we did dry sail it on the trailer; looking good.
Ben Emily (CP coordinators) and their cherubs made it to the campground, life is good on the tip of the Mitt.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Rare, up close... in depth interview with Manitou Cruiser

Kruger Canoe World Headquarters (where ever Mark has paddle camp is set)

KCA: What are your thoughts about the up coming Tip of the Mitt small boat challenge?
Manitou: Dude, did you bring over any Wisconsin Beer?

KCA: So as the event unfolds, what are your predictions for the finish?
Manitou: Dude, how many pieces of chicken did you have?

KCA: We understand that Kruger Canoe world headquarters is under renovation?
Manitou: Dude, don't sit there.

This has been an up close in depth interview with Kruger Canoe owner Mark "ManitouCruiser" (man of little words, man of action) leading up to the Tip of the Mitt.
First launch 6-18-11 Saturday; watch for more thrilling up dates and interviews.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Iron Mushroom / Manistee Ramble

The "Iron Mushroom" Cometh

Mesick to Irons

September 30 to October 3 2011

Expedition Style- self supported at all times

participants are assumed masters of their ship

with safe piloting skills and efficient wilderness traveling technique

Start at the Mushroom Bar and Grill in downtown Mesick @ 3pm on September 30

portage 1 mile on M-115 to the Manistee River

put in and head down stream

over and down 2 hydro dams

To Manistee Lake

South to the Little Manistee River

up river to Johnson Bridge

portage north on Brooks Rd. 3 miles to Irons

Finish at Jackie's Place by 3pm October 3

$30 suggested donation to the Verlen Kruger Memorial

the Manistee Ramble

Mesick to Manistee

September 30 to October 1, 2011

Expedition Style- self supported at all times

participants are assumed masters of their ship

with safe piloting skills and efficient wilderness traveling technique

Start at the Mushroom Bar in downtown Mesick @ 3pm on September 30

portage 1 mile on M-115 to the Manistee River

put in and head down stream

over and down 2 hydro dams

To the town of Manistee

Finish at Instalaunch Campground by 3pm October 1

$15 suggested donation to the Verlen Kruger Memorial

You can't leave these kids alone for a minute; they get into so much ----FUN!

Looks like we got some fun in the sun and then sum for Autumn. More info to come at the Verlen Kruger Paddling Events

Monday, May 30, 2011

This is my story - by "BIG MAC"

I would like to share my experience on the almighty Backwhacker. This course is roughly 30 miles of added upstream paddling verse the Bushwhacker. It is 84 miles upstream and 59 miles downstream with a 7 mile portage. First of all, what a great start with friends and families to witness. Four teams going upstream and four teams going down stream. No big pile ups as years before. How exciting to pass teams this early in the race.

Jacob Cesar, like a bullet, was long gone. Mark P. and Todd C. and myself hung together for about 2 miles. Then Mark and I decided to pick up the pace to catch young Cesar. The first bridge he was already up by 6 minutes and still going strong. What an adventure! Somewhere after about 15 portages, we finally caught up to Jacob. The three of us paddled as a team 18 miles to Pleasant Valley Road. Thank God Kathy L. was just pulling up in her truck or we may have gone passed that bridge. Things look a little different going the other way. We pulled our boats onto the road and set our wheels for the 7 mile portage. As I was putting on my shoes, I discover 8 leaches on my feet. Young Cesar burned them off and we set off on our portage. I was cramping so much that we had to take a lot of breaks. Mark and Jacob were very patient with me during this difficult time. Kathy L. met us at the top of heart attack hill with water and high spirits. Kathy L. does so much for us, and we all love her so much for caring. We rolled our boats down the hill and set up camp. The Chippewa River was running real fast when we set in at 6:00 am Sunday morning. My seat and foot pegs were out of place and was having trouble adjusting them while going down stream. I got snagged on a couple of rocks and rolled my boat. Jacob and Mark witness this and came to my rescue. Mark asked if I was hurt and I replied "Only my pride". Off we went towards Midland . Jacob ran the rapids through Mt. Pleasant,while Mark and I wheeled around that dangerous area.

Mark was real sick and dropped out at the Nature Center in Midland. That was a totaled of 84 miles. I felt very sad that Mark could not continue but, understood his decision. Jacob and I paddled up the Pine River about 4 miles and made camp. Huge storms rolled through that evening and the Pine River rose about 12 inches over night. Jacob did not hear any thunder that evening. He slept through the whole thing. We set in the Pine River Monday morning at 6:00 am and paddled 25 miles up stream. We took a much needed break during the day, in which teams Dan S. and Charlie P., Mike L. and Jim K., and Brandon L. and Friend showed up on their way to Midland. We visited for about 10 minutes and it was great to see them.

Off they went towards midland, and Jake and I set our goal on Saint Louis. We were rested up a little took an hour break and ate some food. paddled into the nite and fell short of our goal. We camped near Clark road, got up Tuesday around three a.m. paddled into Saint Louis around six thirty.

Our spirits were up lifted and a couple of my employees meet us out on the river for a visit. I purchased a spot so they new exactly where we were. Jake and I paddled to Cesar crossing and took another two hour break. We set back in and came to Sumner park and Todd picked us up and took us home so we could finish Wednesday. My sister is up from North Carolina and wanted to watch us finish and go to the ceremony at eight p.m., so we planed a noon start to finish at that time, but thunder storms were rolling in , so we dropped weight (gear) and went at a fast pace.It ended up taking us five and a half hours to go that ten miles.The water was very fast in some places.I also asked Jake if he would like to sprint from Madison road to lumberjack bridge for all the bragging rights . Young Jake nailed me by a half of boat length , congratulations Jacob this was a lot of fun, you are the man. You won the bushwhacker and Backwhacker back to back! All my love and respect to all teams and people who started this great adventure. -Jack Murgittroyd.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Whacker Update 13

Paddle boys paddle -Wednesday 4:19pm
Jake and Jack in the final stretch, working that paddle magic to complete the grueling "Backwhacker"; This is one tough event! Nice effort boys a dip of the paddle to you.

Craig and Trevor Belmonte on the BushWhacker make the final push to finish minutes before their intended personal goal - wOo hOo.

Raging bonfire plenty of high fives, the cocktails and stories flowed, way to go ladies and gents; pictures and stories to follow when everyone gets their land legs.

Whacker Update 12

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 6:56 AM EST

Well, they got off the river at 8:00 pm last night and enjoyed a few stories before heading home to their own beds. They will finish today.

Todd Cesar picked them up at Sumner Park with food and drinks. Jack walked in the door around 9:30 looking for a hot bath and a warm bed. Will head back out to the river around noon to set back in and finish in Lumberjack Park around 7:00 tonight for the award ceremony.

So family and friends come on out and cheer everyone in and celebrate. Ceremony is at 8:00 pm and would love to see all you there.

Thanks for all the support and help. It is truly appreciated. Continue to support the guys on the river completing the Bushwhacker for it is no small feat that they do; As Verlen would say "Just keep moving." - EVA Reporting

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Whacker Update 11

One man's journey - The "jet" tells all; as riveting as the royal... "screw up" by Arnold.

Like hearding cats

To coin a phrase from Jim Woodruff; "It's been like herding cats" trying to follow the Bushwhacker, Backwhacker, 1/2 whacker, Sprint Whacker. My goodness, have I missed anything?

Thanks to all that called, messaged, emailed and beat the drum to share information.

Charlie and I have a real understanding on how the Green Monster canoe paddles now. It is a heavy canoe to move around in tight places and takes a lot of work getting it over all the dead fall. Saying that it is a very stable canoe and goes down the river at a very good speed. The thing we talked about most is how in the Hell did Verlen portage this heavy canoe all them miles. He had to have been obsessed and a little crazy. - Dan Smith

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Whacker Update 10

Eva reports
Looks like the rains last night really slow the guys down today. Jack called at 930 pm est they are at Harrier Farms which is about 7.5 miles north of St. Louis He is waiting for Jake to catch up, he has hurt his rotator cuff, so he has slowed down. They will decide if to camp there or go on.

Jack is pretty sure they won't make it Lumberjack Park by Tuesday. This is wide and open country and not much to portage, so the section beyond Alma will take longer. We hear that Todd is out and don't know how the guys going the other way are doing. I have had much trouble with this site and it is because of internet 9 you have to update somehow. I got help. Well more as I hear from Jack thanks and great job guys. EVA

Mark and Cathy report that Todd is out, not feeling well at all and had to cut his adventure short, pulled out at the Nature Center.

Brian Keel reports that his boys Michael and Brandon (11yrs and 13yrs old) paddled with heart. They finished up almost to Midland; Brian pushes on to finish the Bushwhacker 150.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Whacker Update 9

All's well.

Update: 6:00 am Mon
Jack just called and they are at about Godonville Road, where they set camp last night; Lots of rain. It will be harder on the Pine with all the new rain. Current is tough.

The boys hope to make it to Alma tonight. "Mark, bring back my TP!" I guess Mark left and went home he is sick with a runny nose, (hence the tp is gone Jack lent it to him to blow his nose) Let hope for a good paddle today. Jake is doing great. Wet from the rain but, great. Sign Eva

Mark is crashed out at the Nature Center; hunkering down as the storms pass through. Looking for a ride from Dan and company as the make their way to the Nature Center.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Whacker Update 8

Ben shares a pic of the Backwhacker / Bushwhacker start - let the joust begin!

Updates: Thanks everyone for calling in, I hope I got the information correct -

Todd adding a bit more mileage as he gets turned around on the portage; by 4:50PM he made it to the US 27 bridge and going to push it to dark.

Trevor and Craig making good time; 12:20PM they were working up the Chippy River.

Bruce called in and said he had a great trip; ended up doing the 1/2 Whacker, lots more down fall then he expected by Cesar Landing - Bonus!! Bruce got to see a week old fawn on rivers edge.

Got a message this evening from Mark; It appears he is dropping out do to be ill. He's been battling a cold and its got the best of him; still in great spirits, pulled out at the Nature Center. Jack and Jack pushed forward on the Pine for a couple more hours, then camping for the night.

Looks like Bob completed the 1/2 Whacker 11:07AM - Nice effort Bob.

Whacker Update 7

Todd Cesar started the portage about 7:50 this morning! Go Todd Go!!
Here is a link to some photos - Click here

Whacker Update 6

Dan S and Charlie P put in this morning for the 1/2 Whacker paddling the Green Monster - One of Verlen's epic canoes; Green Monster - click here

Charlie wrote a song about Verlen's adventures; here is a live version at the memorial dedication.

Whacker Update 5

Whacker Sprint Results (10 miles)

8:17am Start.

Finish times:

George S 10:19am
Mike S 10:20am
Jason K 10:41am
Tony P 10:45am
Carl C 10:54am
Randy M 11:04am
Chris M 11:04am
Steve B / Lynn L 11:06am
Troy G 11:44am
Sarah G 11:54am
Ryan G / Jake G 11:54am
Glen S / Cole T 12:18am

Nice effort Ladies and Gents!! ~ Kathy Lischkge Reporting

Whacker Update 4

Mark Jack and Jake SPOT 6:41AM

Splish Splash ~

Mark called at 6:49 AM, it would appear a rock garden took Jack by surprise and he went for a swim, nothing like an early morning dip in the pond to wake you up in the morning; Already in the 60's so they dumped water and kept pushing onward. They're a couple miles down the Chip already hoping to turn the corner and make the Pine. Mark Reporting

Out of the Mist~

The Jet (Ben) hit the Chippewa Nature Center at 11:46 PM. Nearly missed the canoe launch in the dark and drizzle, but found it and is now putting up his tent since he couldn't talk me into picking him up in the middle of the night. Hoping to stay dry and get some sleep once the coffee and Snickers wear off. Quote of the night "OK, I gotta go sleep now. Can you bring food and dry underwear with you tomorrow?" Emily Reporting.

Nothing like taking your canoe for a walk~

Mark dropped me a quick message at 9:40 PM that they completed the portage and are going to bed down for the night, looking for a big push tomorrow. Jake Jack and Mark are all traveling together, everyone in good spirits.

Kathy Lischkge has called but we keep missing each other due to bad cell coverage; she's out there checking on people as they make their way around the course.

Missed the time of the call~

Carl Cole called to say that Todd Cesar is around two miles from the portage and will grab some ZZZ's before portaging; sounds like he is doing well. Cesar legacy - click here

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Whacker Update 3

Mark shot me a message that he thinks he got his SPOT working; here's a snip-it as he makes his way up the Pine River, he is traveling with Jack and Jake.

Whacker Update 2

Just got a call from "Bennie the Jet" (what a name, he loves me!) He was at the Alma portage and having a great day. Lots of log jams, getting out of the boat to start but now moving along pretty well. He's loving the borrowed Sea Wind, says his skin on frame would have been shredded up by noon.

His updates tend toward "Nice river, great day, having fun" Feel free to embellish as necessary :)

Emily Algera - (Whacker Backer)


Nestled in a deep river valley and flowing predominantly through the Manistee National Forest, the Pine River answers the call for the Bush Whacker;

The navigable portion of the Pine is approximately 67 miles in length; At base flow, the mainstream of the Pine River averages two feet in depth. It has an average gradient of 12 feet per mile, sheesh that IS an uphill paddle!

Whacker Update 1

The boys hit the river around 8:15am; Mark, Todd, Jake, Jack and Douglas are on the Back Whacker (bushwhacker in reverse) - Pine River section - Jack "the current is tougher then it looks, son of ##%*&^ it's a !!%&%$ ##!!!$" Or something like that.
Dan Smith Reporting

and they're OFF!!

Two out of three SPOT's ain't bad; not sure why Manitou's SPOT isn't working? Hopeful that the boys will check in and update the Capt'n on their adventures, I've been known to take creative liberties to keep the story colorful.
Keeper moving....

Friday, May 20, 2011

Middle of the Mitten

Well we are a day out from the start of the Bushwhacker extravaganza; looks to be an exciting time out on the river, 17 hearty souls have signed the birch bark parchment for the adventure.
Just a reminder if you go screen right we have a few participants that have SPOT navigation; which makes it fun to see the event, view the route and estimate time of arrivals to certain locations for bridges and shoreline paddle bys.
If anyone gets pics and wants to share, send them to me as the event(s) unfold; to brian0017 AT yahoo DOT com

Monday, May 16, 2011

yo yo... SPOT users

Here is the Bushwhacker Roster as posted on the VKM site; Please send us your SPOT URL if you would like it here on the shared page.

Five days until you get your bush whacked!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Manistee Rivers Run

As a warm up for the up-coming Bushwhacker and a test run for a potential new event; Mark and Jack put in for an 80+ miler down the Big Manistee and up the Little Manistee Rivers - check SPOT - click here

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Hugh Heward 2011

What a great day for paddling; The Kruger Memorial would like to thank everyone that helped through out the years; It is most appreciated, this was a day to remember - Dan Smith

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Round Two of the Triple Crown

Hugh Heward - Bushwhacker - Tip of the Mitt

VKM Bushwhacker 2011
May 21st to the 25th

3 Events to choose from:
10 mile Bushwhacker Sprint
75 mile Halfwhacker
150 mile Bushwhacker/Backwhacker Challenges

Start for all events & Finish for the Bush/Backwhacker is located at:
Lumberjack Park
9160 N. Lumberjack Rd.
Riverdale, MI 48877

There will be a Captains meeting on Friday May 20th at 8pm for all participants. All events will begin with a shotgun start at 8am Saturday May 21st. Cut off time for the Bushwhacker and Backwhacker is 10pm Wednesday May 25th. There will be an awards presentation on Wednesday, May 25th at 8pm for Bushwhacker and Backwhacker finishers. more...

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Hugh Heward - Kick off!!

With the restoration complete the 21' tandem canoe that journeyed 7000 miles across the continent poses for a few glamor shots in front of the Verlen Kruger Memorial.

Today the Green Monster returns for another historic paddle, as does Ole #10 another Verlen restoration. Both will be participating in the Hugh Heward 2011.

Thanks Mike for sending us your spot information!

Ole # 10 - Mike Smith

Friday, April 29, 2011

Thr Green Monster 21' - 7000 miler

The Decals go on and the Cross Continent Canoe is complete; Now lets get her on the water and see what she can do! - Nice work Gentleman!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Never before Never Again...

Well here is the canoe AGAIN - The "Green Monster" LIVES!

The Movie Trailer - Purchase the movie on Amazon

Dared to go Beyond 30 Years of Reflection
by Norm Miller

In 2001 I interviewed Verlen Kruger and Clint Waddell about their historic record paddle journey by canoe. It was the 30th anniversary of this endeavor; which to me is one of the most incredible canoeing accomplishments ever.

The story below I compiled from that interview in hopes of getting it published in a canoeing magazine. I had been a friend of Verlen's since 1997 when one day I just decided to call him on the phone and talk adventure. This is just one of our many conversations. Sadly Verlen passed away in August of 2004 after a long bout with cancer. - more....