Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sawtooth Challenge day 6 and in the end

In this montage, Carl captures the essence of the trip; the stillness with a light fog on the river; the shuttle to and fro; big open spans as the river opens up moving our way south; the camaraderie and team work of would be adventurers.  This was a great trip, with awesome people on and off the river, truly blessed to have participated in this adventure.

Paul random elderly gent down by the river takes the last photo, his dog sneaks in for a photo op.

The Players left to right top row:

Bob - loves ice dancing long walks and musicals; Janet - this girl can sing, out with the hymns, and in with the Red Hot Chilli Peppers with her new hit single "Chiilly Chili"; Carl - International jewel thief retired, now fancies chess, board games of risk and 4 o'clock tea; Royd - just finished up a 9 week recovery program for meat abuse had a relapse and is sentenced to 20 more years of paddle camping till he gets it right; Gary - cashed it all in starting his own think tank, cornered the jelly bean market in the 1980's, likes the feel of nylon; Toby - off the water, enjoys ballet tap and line dancing, likes to snuggle; Paula - last scene with a stolen jacket headed for Flint International airport, destination unknown possibly Casablanca ; Mike - enjoys flea markets, fashion shows and a good rub of his venison.

Lower row left to right: 

Bud - the original Marlboro man (known to spice things up a bit behind closed doors), now runs security for Beyonce and 50 cent; Craig - magician, grifter confidence man, can say hello in 26 different languages, but doesn't; Sandy - invented the hula hoop and slinky, the brainchild behind Gumby and Pokey the children's toy; Brian - well he's special, had is own bus while going to grade school, voted most likely to be on a wanted poster in high school, College was a bust, the most mis-understood writer of our time - lives by the motto "write drunk, edit sober".

Not shown:

Jack - likes waxing candles, has one of the largest American Girl doll collections in the U.S.A., co- founder of Boys are special too of Michigan; Mark - a real momma's boy, wears short pants and suspenders, enjoys macro may and knitting; Buffalo Al - still waiting for the Abba reunion tour, wants to open for them with his comedy shtick (ABBA was a Swedish pop/rock/disco group formed in Stockholm in 1972); Chuck - CEO of the Chucky Cheese Pizza Franchise, only person to ride the Matterhorn at Disney 232 consecutive times, lost his cheesy fries every time...

Pups:  Tyler and Koa refused to take my interview.

And in the end, isn't it really the beginning as the completion one adventure is just the start of another; plans are already being made for next year's fall trip; destination the Wisconsin River!!

Thanks everybody for playing along.

The Capt'n

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sawtooth Challenge day 6 - the big push

Hello, My name is Royd, and I abuse meat.

Doing inventory the night before the big push, it is revealed that Royd has been holding out on the clan; in his possession are the makings of a Feast O Rama - steaks and plenty of them; unfortunately they have well, " turned "; meaning a bit more then aged, bordering on green.

This how-ever does not take away the fact that they are steaks, now basting on the fringe of a Smith Fire filling the air with the smell of a  back home county barbeque; we spend a fair bit of time discussing the what if's how bout's of throwing caution to the wind and digging in; as men are easily distracted, we turn to Sandy and Janet who are elbows deep into a "Smores - a borg"  So our thoughts drift from dead beef to rich sugary goodness.  " yes please ".

So the clan turns in and we wake  early for a 8:00am start; which means on the water at 7:45am if you are looking at Bob's watch.  Bud, Taylor, Sandy, Koa and I give way to the queens wave, finishing our breakfast and coffee as the majority of the Sawtooth Clan push on.

The day is filled with rock bars, riffs and an occasional," What the F was that? " as we skirt monster boulders that jump out of nowhere.  Discussion goes to the section called big rapids; oh Bud tells tale that we have been preparing for it the last couple of days with what would be riffs and boulders; hmm, well  guess we'll see what happens. So we reel in some of the group which has spread out over a 4 mile widening section of the Muskegon; nods waves and leap frogging our way down river.

We are entering Big Rapids the city; so Big Rapids the rapids should be close; yep there's the bridge, did Bud say stay left or stay right?... what's with all these damn gauwkers?  We make it through with out incident but almost roll it in the eddy, safe on shore we scurry to the bridge, it's the front group of the clan watching the rest of us paddle through.

Word trickles down stream that Paula and Janet have wrapped the Jensen up river on what is now being called P-J's Boulder; Bob is close by peeling them off; all is well, some cracks, but no leaks.  we push on...
" 6 - the big push" And the day Janet and I have a boulder named after us. Did a lot of praying on that day and apparently they were heard because despite floating backwards, hitting boulders going sideways in a big, well-loaded boat we made it without flipping. Way over my comfort zone but learned a lot. - Paula M
More photos - click here

to be continued...

Friday, October 12, 2012

Sawtooth Challenge Kruger Extra!!

The man, the myth shares his photos of the Sawtooth Challenge - click here

Sawtooth Challenge day 5

Bob made a great call on our early pre-dawn departure; nobody embraces the packing up in the dark wet gear, but the pay off being on the water early gave way to a  new perspective of the color on the river; greys turning to brilliant shades of reds oranges and yellows; the color wheel never saw so many hues.

Miles to be made but our pace slowed, it really was a time where we could just move through-out the group, chat a bit.

It worked out perfectly; we arrived mid-afternoon; a steady breeze through the trees and intermittent sun offered great opportunity to dry out;  the woods in which we camped looked like a bit of a yard sale gone bad with everything scattered about, but it was nice to be in camp with more then an hour of daylight left.

to be continued...

Sawtooth Challenge day 4

The arrival of Mike Smith held great promise and good fortune; Mike had made up some of his venison barbeque that was extremely well received on last year's fall trip; we waited in anticipation.  Mike being a celebrity of sorts we had Toby provide security, notice the keen eye and 1000 yard stare Toby has going on. Even Tyler bottom right is wearing a vest in-case things get out of hand.

Unfortunately being star struck we neglected to secure the safety of the barbeque; Jack eyeballing our bounty gets the evil glare from Carl; international incident thwarted by passing of 20lbs of smoked salmon.

Back tracking a bit, we arrived to our campsite just before it started to rain, everyone took to their routines and got camp set quite quickly; the foragers and gathers were busy gathering wood for what would be another epic Smith fire; fires that legends are made, fires that must be experienced.

Everyone now in the sacred circle of trust, life on the river becomes common place; big pushes during the day to make miles are just a prelude to a great gathering in the evening; life is good and we are all thankful.

Our group tends to turn in early reeling to the comforts of synthetic sleeping bags, comfy sleep mats and highly functional tents. Our homes away from home are all too inviting.  Before turning in Jack and Mark share a bit of sad news that they will be pushing off early around 3:30am; they have decided to push to the big pond, Lake Michigan; this of-course prompts Bob to organize a pre-dawn start to get in some miles in hopes of getting off the water around 3 or 4 to enjoy camp life dry out gear and socialize.

to be continued...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sawtooth Challenge day 3.4 - 5, clueless

Finding Nemo is one thing, finding Mike Smith is another, consider him found

I don't know what day it is, everything has become a blur; been on river time since cresting the Mackinaw Bridge; to coin a phrase from Mr. Jim Woodruff, "It's like herding cats watching these Kruger events unfold." 

So Mark and Jack arrive, Al and Charlie depart, Mike Smith is running a strong offense trying to determine where to meet us and Michael Doty goes AWAL and will be severely beaten at our next gathering; it's a mess; no it's perfect, no you have just been Krugerized.

Krugerized is a lot like being punked; Example, Toby offers the clan peanuts, (with a snicker) the sampling is inviting but they are Cajun peanuts hot enough to peel paint.  Retaliation ensues with a soggy banana on his boat seat; let the Krugerized hijinks begin!! Its the little things out on the river, meaningless in real time, but river time, its everything.

So with crystal clear water partly cloudy skies and color bursts in the trees that would rival any Disney fireworks display, we make our way down river, taking it all in.  We are pushing 30 + miles a day now, everyone keenly aware we have some distance to make up after days and days of bushwhacking.

to be continued...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sawtooth Challenge day 3

"Pick me pick me" Toby cries out as we choose sides for the ambush on Mark and Jack; we anticipate their arrival today as we have cleared a silvery liquid highway.  The river is beginning to open up a bit and spirits are high; we might even get to paddle a bit.

Brian last picked for the ambush attempts to plea his case to Bob; "Brian, basically you suck, you are last picked, deal with it", bellowed Bob.

It actually is quite a feat in itself; coming off the Iron Mushroom Challenge, sorting out gear resupplying and catching us on day 3 of our adventure.  Mark and Jack have taken have taken efficiency to the next level and catch up to us just before a well deserved lunch break.

Today's lunch break was the only one of the trip; with days of drag overs, cuts and scootching boats under fallen trees, we ate basically on the go. So we sat back let the warm sun sooth achy backs and ate like royalty; wine cheese sausage fruit, a real social affair.  Tyler and Koa(dogs) frolicked in the river chasing anything that moved, quite a site when Tyler came face to face with a bright green frog.

The rest of the day went without incident, it was really the first time during the trip you could paddle along side someone and have a conversation; it was nice cause everyone has their story, and grand stories they are.

to be continued...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sawtooth Challenge day 2

Photo by: Sandy Krueger

Yesterday was a long day, lots of sawing drag overs and such; it was interesting to me that I woke up with the dawn to hear a "heave ho, heave ho, pull, pull"; holy crap I thought, the clan is leaving with out me pushing the next section of downed trees! I scurried out of my tent only to find that it was Toby, Bud, Al attempting to hoist Gary from his camp chair; you see in every group there is always one rabble-rouser, the one that wants to stay up late and cause a ruckus. Most of the clan had dispersed by 8:00pm; if I recall Gary stayed up well past 8:15!

O.K. so maybe I embellished a bit, but that's the way I remember it. So a quick breakfast and more cutting and sawing, more dragging and head scratching; by the end of the day we had not made much head way, only 7 miles.

 Photo by: Sandy Krueger

The day blurs, but one thing that really stood out was the team work; it takes a lot of team work to move all this gear up down and over.

Stand out moment was when we came to a jam that was multiple log high and in deep water ( makes it hard to navigate around it to cut); I was sure we would be unloading the cruiser and doing a 6 haul carry; but the clan had other plans, I believe it was Gary Bob Toby and Cole, could have been others cause it went so quick. The literally picked up a fully loaded Kruger Cruiser (probably 300lbs) and scootched it over the jam. I'm sorry, but at that point I needed to hand out hero awards, cause that my fellow adventures was amazing.

 to be continued...

Monday, October 8, 2012

Sawtooth Challenge day 1

 photo by Brian Weber

Like most gatherings on the leisure, the group was slow to wake. breakfast good conversation and a lot of milling around.  At some point someone started moving paddling gear and supplies down to the river's edge, like lemmings we followed suit.

The sun crest the trees and the warmth that it brought soothed. Now busy as bees at a fall harvest, boats began to be loaded and gear sorted.  All sorts of watercraft, a home built kayak, Jensen Canoe, Cruiser, Monarchs, Sea Winds, DreamCatchers, and a Superior were represented.  More milling around and discussion ensued, drivers sorted out as the rest would stay back with boats and gear while we did the shuttle.

We were in luck as Elizabeth showed up and was able to provide us with a shuttle allowing all vehicles the ability to be at the take out. (nobody likes the double shuttle retrieving the vehicle at the put in); so, clearing out space in a crusty ole van we loaded up and were on our way; the shuttle for the most part was uneventful, except for the fact that Elizabeth's short cut took us close to an hour out of our way; her fiancee Josh was along for the ride and was getting some glares as he was trying to assist in navigation; tipping her handsomely for her effort,  Tip of the day - "Stay to the main road!!"

Quick to depart the comforts of White Birch campground we were on our way; we figured on getting in 15 miles today as there was plenty of the day left for lolly gagging down  river.

Well, the Muskegon had other plans for us; just out of ear shot of the campground things began to get dicey, down trees and log jams began to build; I mean one after another each more menacing then the last.  We were deep deep into the scat of the river, making only 4 miles.

O.K. so we drastically underestimated the top section of the Muskegon; with that said we cut pulled dragged a crap load of luxury items over a vastly untraveled section of this majestic river. Forget about the gear we really did need like the chainsaw left in Royd's truck; forget that our local shuttle person Elizabeth gave us a raised eyebrow at the put-in as she suggested a different starting point. Note to self, never discount local knowledge even if it's from a girl that got us lost on the way back to the campground.

Jack M. was the topic of many conversations; our original organizer was a couple days behind us on the Iron Mushroom, hoping to catch the main group by Tuesday or Wednesday.  We came up with all sots of schemes for payback, fueling our resolve to keep moving forward.

We found a nice stretch of river's best and set up camp. Spread out a bit small pods of the group gathered and shared food and drink.  Everyone was in extremely good spirits as teamwork prevailed today. Clan of the Sawtooth 1 vs. Muskegon 0.

to be continued...

Sawtooth Challenge day 0

 Photo Credit: Carl Cole

Peeps started arriving around 3:00pm at the White Birch Campground; a dip of the Tilley for Toby doing some leg work and finding a camp ground that would accommodate us so late in the season.  The camp office and store were closed, the running water was shut off the flush toilets non-existent. There was an artisan well that provided cool crisp drinking water and we were thankful for that.

Handshakes hugs and fist bumps ensued as old friends and new acquaintances greeted each other. People went by all sorts of names and handles; one that comes to mind is "Buffalo Al" a character right out of the salty Kruger Canoe Handbook.  Al showed up with less then nothing, in the dark, no cup no bowl no pants.  We watched him struggle with a pop up self inflating tent (go figure); we now had our evening entertainment.

A grindy ole suburban tattered and worn pulled up, a young woman Elizabeth jumped out barefoot, tattered jeans, pure Michigan country and introduced herself; she offered to go fetch us a couple loads of wood for a campfire;  we were all over that as the evening brought forth cool temps.  Conversations around the shuttle tomorrow brought forth an idea that maybe Elizabeth could shuttle us all back to the campground allowing us to get all the vehicles to the take out at Rogers dam. Things were coming together for the best lead trip with no leader.

Janet had made up a tasty batch of chili that fed everybody and then some; there was even some left over for Texas toast and chili for breakfast.

to be continued...

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sawtooth Challenge / Iron Mushroom

Jack (organizer) being strangled by Bob and Janet - I did find a hangman's noose in my canoe that Toby made, Jack my friend you got off easy. Photo by - Chuck Amboy

Over the next week or so I will try to put into words what was experienced on the 6 days (117.4 miles) Muskegon River. Not sure if words will do the event justice, it had to be experienced, but I will take a stab at it. - hopefully I will get some pictures from the clan to post.

 Photo by: Carl Cole

It became apparent that our arduous 4 miles the first day and measly 7 miles on the second, that we were in for a real adventure; with a labyrinth log jams and downed trees to tackle, the Muskegon "Mosey" was out, it was now the Sawtooth Challenge.

O.K. so we drastically underestimated the top section of the Muskegon; with that said we cut pulled dragged a crap load of luxury items over a vastly untraveled section of this majestic river. Forget about the gear we really did need like the chainsaw left in Royd's truck; forget that our local shuttle person Elizabeth gave us a raised eyebrow at the put-in as she suggested a different starting point. Note to self, never discount local knowledge even if it's from a girl that got us lost on the way back to the campground.

So with 15 liters of bag wine, a 30 pack of cold beer, Maker's Mark at the ready, and a bottle of rum for swagger we pushed on. With  multiple coolers jammed with steaks, chicken, Italian sausages, smoked salmon, barbeque venison, caramel apples, cheese crackers, chairs, tables, canopies, tarps and dogs you got yourself the makings of a grand ole Michigan picnic, but we weren't on a lilly dipp'n day paddle. we were on the Muskegon river. I half heartily waited for someone to break out the lawn darts and croquet set and why not we had everything else.

To be continued.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The boys are back!

Jack and Mark completed the Iron Mushroom Challenge Sunday afternoon with an overall time of 51 hours and 21 minutes. Jack said it was one of the hardest events he has yet completed and is looking forward to a few days of rest and relaxation on the Muskegon River this week. The boys are heading out to catch the big group that started yesterday and hope to see them sometime tomorrow.

Join us all on the Muskegon if you can, the colors are really starting to burst out here in northern Michigan!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Jack and Mark take on the "IronMushroom" Challenge

Last year the Iron Mushroom kicked everyones butt! No one made it to the official finish line although Jack and Mark did get to within about 10 miles before they succumbed to fatigue, cold temps and an overall feeling of "lame looserism". This year they are determined to get all the way up the Little Manistee River to Johnson Bridge and finish the Challenge with the 3 mile portage to Jackie's Place in Irons. 

      Follow their progress live with SPOT (link from right menu under "Tracking the Michigan Challenge")
                                           Join them at the finish line, first round is on Jack!!!

Also don't forget about the fall color tour on the Muskegon River, come join in and enjoy Michigan at it's best!!

Friday, September 21, 2012

NGCSU professor to conduct study of Chattahoochee, Apalachicola river systems

DAHLONEGA - Dr. Robert Fuller, director of the Environmental Leadership Center and professor of geoscience at North Georgia College & State University, will spend the next year traveling by canoe and by foot to sample the waters along the entire lengths of the Chattahoochee and Apalachicola rivers. more...

The nitty gritty backwater on Doc Fuller, a twisting tale of dreams and streams; his blog - more...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Muskegan Trip: Where to meet

A gathering at early Sunday September 31 to do the vehicle portage . Those that wish to show up the night before, Camping with a tent is 15.00 a night.
The idea for some of us is to take out at or before the 1st Dam that is Rodgers. This way no portages; if your itinerary goes farther down river please make arrangements to accommodate your trip.
We are looking at 15 to 19 miles a day. There will be a good flow and some of the going will be slow.
There is no real schedule with all the little ins and outs, photo ops, and camp spots; few have done this river, so this will be a kinda mini mini expedition trip. Camp sites will be scouted and may suck or awesome with a little luck. (I guarantee the company will make up for this.) Remember it is an adventure.
Temps may get down to freezing if that, but you never know, be prepared. If you have a water filter bring it, if you do not some one will share.


The Fall Paddle - Muskegon River

We are a couple a weeks and some change away from what might go down as the best led canoe trip, without a leader. Now I could spend hours trying to explain the dynamics of this situation, might even be able to get some public money thrown in to fund the research; but we will forgo all that and start a list of the players.

The Players:

Gary (1)
Gary (2)

to be continued...

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Follow the boys down the AuSable

We start the 116 mile run on Friday at 3pm, Spot links on the right.

Those that will have a SPOT on board: Ben - Jack - Bob - Mark

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ponder this paddler poopers

 Dogs, black powder and Armadillo welcome on the Muskegon .

Ok since I opened my mouth and have been making a lot of phone calls here is what should work for most for a laid back trip. (yea you still gonna have to paddle some.)

 Leave Sunday from Cadillac Rd. Finish Friday, Saturday at somewhere around Rodgers Dam. You should have at least a Gazetteer or be able to Map Quest this. (96 or so miles.)

We could go on another 35 miles to Newago but this would require three portages one that is described in the book as a mile long. (I am carrying a lawn chair and wine.) This trip on the river should allow most all of us to finish the run with no portages.

Those that are more inclined to a full on adventure have at it and tie in with tough ones. (better know what ya getting into.) Yes there will be some tough section but just work thru it. Mileage per day will be higher than a float trip and harder on this river but lower than a full event.

I really want to do this with people I know and want to meet others and just have an easy trip with a lot of laughs. Jack and Mark will be with us for part of this and anyone wishing to go hard with them should do so.

As of now if enough interest I will try and set this part of the trip up as far as shuttles and so on. Any one with a more pervasive voice than mine let me know and I will give you the phone numbers to call. (I do not have a mid western accent.)

Hard to tell ain’t it. All I have on this river is what is in the Michigan river book. Really need a head count. Are you going Yes? (Master) Maybe? (Newbie) Whiner (beginner) and show up at the last minute.

If I am really out of bounds here holler and I will be quite. toby (Poppy Nipper)

Muskegon River Pan on a crisp October morning

Muskegon River Big Shoals Tubers Northern Michigan's News Leader

Friday, August 10, 2012

A word from Poppy Nipper

All of this from a guy sleeping under a tarp

OK, this should work better for some. (yea I cleared it with Monster paddler Jack.)
Us mere mortals will start Sunday with a starting time of around noon. Daily mileage will be reduced to less then 20 or even less. (final ending point not yet established.) looking for help here?  We should start looking for a camp site around 1630 or so and departure should be before 0900. All of this depends on whom shows up, absolutely no one will be left behind. Those that wish to go fast and not look-see and visit are free to do so, just have a good supply of fire wood on site. (a bow saw makes short work) one cuts a whole bunch gather.
This should make this a more relaxed fun trip and not an expedition.
What Master Jack wants is a fun trip that anyone can do and a lot of interaction between the group. Hey it’s the journey not where we end up on this one.
I would say throw in your 2 cents but any, any thoughts on a stopping point or getting boats back with there vehicles is worth a quarter at least.  I did have a local offer to volunteer on this for a limited amount of boats. Hey the Kruger way, we will work it out.
Oh yea any hard core can always do  Mushroom and then catch up and still play at a subdued pace. 
Any thoughts or changes have at it and share.
Come on now and commit for a fun easy adventure. Lets make this a fun trip!
toby  aka (Poppy Nipper)          

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Fall Paddle Cometh - Muskegon River

Hi Everyone,

Our good friend and Kruger paddling Champion, Jack (aka. the Hammer) Mugittroyd, has invited everyone along on a "super float" down the beautiful Muskegon River. What is a "super float" you ask, well it is a down river paddling trip that is intended to be a little more laid back than what some of us are used to. Toby would call it "a fun trip " we will not be racing, and the biggest Challenge we hope to encounter is how to fit all the steaks on the grill at the same time. Yup, Jack is a bit tired out from all of his hard core racing this year and wants to just take it easy on a nice river with a bunch of great friends. Please feel free to pass this invitation on to whoever you might think interested.

Here are the details we have so far:

Start at Cadillac Road at 10am Tuesday, October 2nd. According to the map in the "Canoeing Michigan Rivers" book there is a primitive campground there that might be a good place to camp the night before the start.

Paddle about 170 miles downriver in 6 days and finish up Sunday, October 7th in the town of Muskegon. This averages out to about 28 miles a day.

Here are the details we do not have so far:

Shuttle, just like all paddle trips we will have to start getting this figured out. There might be a few different shuttle services we can contact?

Camping, this will totally depend on how many of us show up. There is plenty of wilderness along this river shore for us to search out large spots for many tents. There are also a few public campgrounds that we might take advantage of along the way, some even have showers!

Why start on a Tuesday you ask? Well, it's funny you would ask, even though Jack is pooped out he had already committed to the Iron Mushroom (find complete info here ) and would not want to miss out on this hard core VKM Challenge. It runs from September 28th to Monday October 1st, if anyone wants to join us for this tough 90 mile run please feel free, misery loves company!!!

That's it for now,

Mark P. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

our boy scouts...

Great news!!  Jack and Tim take 3rd over all in the male tandem division and Mike and Sandy take 5th in the mixed tandem division.  Big Shout out to Jack and Sandy who shared their stories at Carp's Bar and Grille and picking up the tab on dinner!!  Complete standings - Click here

Saturday, August 4, 2012

MR340 2012 Finish

Under welcomed cloudy skies the participants worked their way down the last stretch of the Missouri into St. Charles, MO for the finish of the MR340. Oh the memories and the stories to be told around dinner tables and campfires.

Hats off to every one that participated to the paddlers, to the shore runners, to all the event organizers and support staff; and to the TEAM KRUGER family that participated or watched from afar, a dip of a paddle to ya; see you out on the pond!!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

MR340 update

Just talked with Mike and Sandy and they sounded great. They are closing in on Herman CP and are looking forward to topping off the ice chest. Mike said yesterday was a very tough, very hard day like he has not experienced in a long time. He said they are holding tight to the pace they need to run and feel good that they are taking care of themselves under the unrelenting sun. He said today will be the ultimate test for them and they were going to keep it movin, he was also glad to see some clouds moving in.

Jack and Tim are just about in at Klondike, if they can pick up their pace for the final 20 mile sprint into St Charles they could beat the 50 hour mark. Go Guys, Paddle Paddle Paddle-   

As of this posting about 80 boats have dropped out, this event is "very tough, very hard"!!!!

Mark P.

Morining on the Missouri (MR340)

Up and at it, doing a little laundry along the way; wool socks when it is in triple digits you say; yep, you actually can get quite chilled at night after being in the sun all day.

This is what it's all about, not the racing, a morning like this with the sun peaking through the trees; makes ya wanna go canoeing doesn't it?

I'm just saying... keep'n it lively on the MR340

Bull Shark

The bull shark, Carcharhinus leucas, also known as the bull whaler, Zambezi shark or unofficially known as Zambi in Africa and Nicaragua shark in Nicaragua, is a shark common worldwide in warm, shallow waters along coasts and in rivers.
The bull shark is well known for its unpredictable, often aggressive behavior. Many scientists agree that since bull sharks often dwell in shallow waters, they may be more dangerous to humans than any other species of sharks, and that they join tiger sharks and great white sharks as the three most likely sharks to attack humans.

Unlike most other marine sharks, bull sharks tolerate fresh water. They can travel far up rivers. As a result, they are probably responsible for the majority of shark attacks on humans that take place near the shore, including many attacks attributed to other species. However, bull sharks are not true freshwater sharks (unlike the river sharks of the genus Glyphis).

The name, “bull shark”, comes from the shark’s stocky shape, broad, flat snout and aggressive unpredictable behavior. In India, the bull shark is often called the Sundarbans or Ganges shark. In Africa it is also commonly called the Zambezi River shark or just Zambi. Its wide range and diverse habitats result in many other local names, for example Lake Nicaragua shark, Fitzroy Creek whaler, Van Rooyen’s shark, cub shark, shovelnose shark, freshwater whaler.

Distribution and habitat
The bull shark is found all over the world in many different areas and has been known to travel long distances. The bull shark is common in the coastal areas of warm oceans, in rivers and lakes, and occasionally streams if they are deep enough in both salt and fresh water. It is found to a depth of 150 m, but does not usually swim deeper than 30 m. In the Atlantic it is found from Massachusetts to southern Brazil, and from Morocco to Angola. In the Indian Ocean it is found from South Africa to Kenya, India, and Vietnam to Australia. It is estimated that there are more than 500 bull sharks in the Brisbane River and greater numbers still in the canals of the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. In the Pacific Ocean, it can be found from Baja California to Ecuador.

The shark has been reported 4,000 km (2,220 mi) up the Amazon River at Iquitos in Peru, and has been found as far up the Mississippi River as Illinois and Missouri. It is also found in the fresh water Lake Nicaragua, and in the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers of West Bengal and Assam in eastern India and adjoining Bangladesh. It can live in almost any water including water with a high salt content as in St. Lucia Estuary in South Africa. After Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, a large number of bull sharks were sighted in Lake Ponchartrain. Bull sharks have occasionally been seen in Mississippi River as far North as St. Louis. Even more rare, due to cooler waters, bull sharks have made their way up the Illinois River and into Lake Michigan such as an encounter off the coast of Chicago, Illinois.

Freshwater tolerance
Only 43 species of elasmobranch in ten genera and four families have been reported to enter fresh water, of which the bull shark is the best known. Other species that enter rivers include the stingrays (Dasyatidae, Potamotygonidae and others) and sawfishes (Pristidae). Some skates (Rajidae), smooth dogfishes (Triakidae), and sandbar sharks (Carcharhinus plumbeus) regularly enter estuaries. The ability of elasmobranchs to enter fresh water is limited because their blood is normally at least as salty (in terms of osmotic strength) as seawater, through the accumulation of urea and trimethylamine oxide, but bull sharks living in fresh water reduce the concentration of these solutes by up to 50%. Even so, bull sharks living in fresh water need to produce twenty times more urine than those in salt water.

Until the 1970s, researchers thought the sharks in Lake Nicaragua were a separate species because there was no way for the sharks to move in or out. It was discovered that they were jumping along the rapids just like salmon. Bull sharks tagged inside the lake were later caught in the open ocean.

Anatomy and appearance
Bull sharks are large and stout. Males can reach 2.12 m (7 ft) and weigh 90.91 kg (200 lb). Females can be much larger:up to 3.49 m (11.5 ft) and 318 kg (700 lb). Bull sharks are wider than other sharks of comparable length, and are grey on top and white below. The second dorsal fin is smaller than the first.

Since bull sharks are carnivores, their diet includes fish, other sharks, rays, dolphins, turtles, birds, molluscs, echinoderms, and crustaceans. Bull sharks have been known to use the bump-and-bite technique when attacking their prey. This type of hunting behaviour has been observed when researchers entered the water with relatively calm bull sharks, and the sharks suddenly became violent and began to bump the researchers. This behaviour was seen in the documentary Anatomy of a Sharkbite, which aired on the Discovery Channel in 2003, during Shark Week. Dr. Erich Ritter was severely wounded by a bull shark using this attack technique. This attack was not listed as being a case of mistaken identity, because the waters during the time of the attack were clear, and no noticeable weather patterns were affecting the sharks. This attack may have been a case of territoriality, in which the bull sharks were very fierce toward intruders. Recently, Dr. Ritter concluded that the attack was provoked by a piece of chum that had been thrown away from him, but was taken by a remora and brought back in his direction. The remora caused the bull sharks to get excited and swirl up the sand. In the resulting cloud of sand, one of the sharks bit him.

Bull sharks are solitary hunters. They often cruise through shallow waters. They can suddenly burst into speed and can be highly aggressive, even attacking a racehorse in the Brisbane River in the Australian state of Queensland. They are extremely territorial and will attack other animals – including humans – that enter their territory. Along with the great white, tiger and oceanic whitetip sharks, bull sharks are among the four species considered the most dangerous to humans, and is probably the most dangerous of the four species. One or more bull sharks may have been responsible for the Jersey Shore shark attacks of 1916, and which inspired the movie Jaws.

Many experts think the bull shark is responsible for most of the deaths around the Sydney Harbour inlets in the past. Most of these attacks were previously thought to be great whites. In India the bull shark cruises up the Ganges River where it has killed and attacked a large number of people. It also eats the corpses that the local population floats on the river. Many of these attacks have been wrongly blamed on the Ganges shark, Glyphis gangeticus, a fairly rare species that is probably the only other shark that can live comfortably in both saltwater and freshwater. The grey nurse shark was also blamed in the sixties and seventies.

Bull sharks breed in the summer, often in the brackish water of river mouths. After gestating for about a year, a bull shark may give birth to as many as 13 live young (they are viviparous). The young are about 70 cms (28 in) at birth and take 10 years to reach maturity.

Bull sharks are apex predators, and rarely have to fear being attacked by other animals. Humans are their biggest threat. Larger sharks, such as the tiger shark and great white, may attack them. Crocodiles, such as the saltwater crocodile may also eat them if they enter their territories.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Day 1 - Zinger

Mike and Sandy in a Kruger Cruiser with the Bimini Top up; this is how you do it on the Missouri river with temps in triple digits; its all about staying comfortable.  I see Mike packed a large cooler, smart man.  He could probably sell ice cubes at $5 a cube today as the heat is going to be extreme.

Like bugs drawn to a dim porch light; Mike and Sandy paddle down... "what" up stream?  Oh yea.  It appears Mike left his "Binky" on shore (life jacket) and they had to paddle up the Missouri to retrieve it before continuing on.  Not sure sandy was supposed to tell me that so I will be gentle with the commentary or not! :-)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Things are starting to HEAT up

MR340 is literary hours away from starting; I can almost hear West Hansen bellowing out about the "Kruger Cult" Krugerized paddlers, a great all around guy!  West's amazing journey - click here

A word from West

"I'm missing tomorrow's MR340 start for the first time since the races inception. The expedition has simply required way too much time, energy, beer, coffee and advil. It looks like this year's water levels and heat will be quite the chore, so please take care of yourselves out there and I wish all of you racers the best of luck." --West
Here are some great links for watching the event:

Race Mapper

Official Standings

Friday, June 29, 2012

Michigan Challenge - Friday Finish Day

 John finishes the Michigan Challenge - Manistee 150 route; Father and son (Ben) team outstanding!! Ben missing signing autographs.

 Michael and Ashley finish the Michigan Challenge - Manistee 150 route; Father daughter team, outstanding!!

 Mike and Lynn finish the Michigan Challenge - Manistee 150 route; Lynn and Mike facilitate programs through Project Lakewell

 Royd battles weather holds on the outside Tip of the Mitt - Returns to Manistee; Royd get the driving the farthest award as he came up from Florida

Toby finishes the Michigan Challenge - Shore to Shore; Jake finishes the Manistee 150; Toby and Jake get the covenanted cruiser award

Ben finishes the Michigan Challenge - Manistee 150; in a spanking brand new Sea Wind, nice way to break her in!!

Look what floated in! These guys, Dave and Barry, sailed this Prindle 16 cat (1/2 Mitt) from Mackinaw leaving Monday at 10 am arriving Manistee just a few minutes ago

Michigan Challenge - Friday

Jack and Sandy pull out all the stops and are the third boat in after one heck of an effort; Sandy is the first woman to finish the Shore to Shore and I think it is the first time a cruiser went up the AuSable, I could be mistaken.

Toby called in, he had just finished the Hodenpyl portage; he is paddling with (Craig Jacobs) "Jake" and hooked up with Ben and John; most likely past the  tippy dam by now.  Looks like they may be close or even paddling with Mike Lynn Michael and Ashley.

Royd called in and he needed to pull out do to running out of time; he got just shy of Cheboygan; Royd was on the outside doing the full tip of the mitt.  Two day weather hold pushed Royd to shore as a weather front came through and made the outside extremely challenging.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Michigan Challenge - Thursday cont...

John and Ben on a lunch break; they put in Wednesday, destination the Insta-launch by Saturday

Michigan Challenge - Thursday cont...

 Jack and Sandy catch up to Michael Ashley Mike and Lynn near the M37 bridge; everyone loving the down river paddle after poling their way up the AuSable for 3 days.

This is what happens to you when you are Krugerized in the Michigan Challenge; Morphed into Popeye the paddling machine.  Could be delirium, keeping an open mind.

Michigan Challenge - Thursday

Bob finishes the Michigan Challenge Shore to Shore route, first in; Mark finishes a few hours later, second. Nice run boys, nice run.
Lynn reports 41 miles today; she bribed the Wilderness Canoe Livery for a ride up to the Mushroom Grille for some grinds; Two more portages and 48 miles to go and they're home.

Royd called in stating he had a two day weather hold when the front came through; he he said  he was going to paddle and sail on but was running out of time to make it down to Manistee and will most likely be organizing a shuttle back to the world.

We still have Jack Sandy Ben John Michael Ashley Mike Lynn  and Toby out there; gonna be a scorcher today, sunscreen my Chitlins. and - Hydrate!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012










Michigan Challenge - Wednesday

Toby giving ole man river a how bout what fer up the AuSable
 Michael Ashley and Lynn taking a break on the Manistee River; Mark must have caught up to them and stopped in for a chat and some shopping

 Ben's new Sea Wind and John's kayak getting ready to get wet up at M72 campground

 Ben getting comfy, setting up a hammock; either that or it is a bear trap

Mike and Lynn packing heavy for their Manistee cruise down to the Insta-launch; I see Lynn brought a hairdryer and the kitchen sink... nice.  Be prepared for portage hell.

Toby called in while he was on the portage (Hwy M 72), just checking in to see how everyone was doing; did report that Bud dropped out down by Mio dam.

Mike left a message stating that Mark was trying to run down Bob who has been successfully fending him off thus far;  Pure speculation: Watch for Mark to pull an all nighter to real Bob in on the last stretch.  Should be an interesting finish

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Michigan Challenge at the M72 campground

Look who we found! Jack and Sandy breaking camp and having one more cup of coffee before dropping into the Manistee River. Downstream finally! Janet Bradford screen left and Paula Martel reporting.