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...