Sunday, April 26, 2015

It's more than just Rainbows and Unicorns.

it's a family affair...

 The future of canoeing starts right here, sprawled out in the bottom of a canoe; kiddos "sing-song" their way down the river. Position two looks a little camera shy.
This is what it looks like to finish the Hughy. I wish their was some dramatic tale to tell (scuffle with the locals, grounding, high wind debacle, a capsize) but alas all is well on the river; uneventful to the naked eye, but priceless to the soul.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

It's all happening...

Mark and Lauren saddle up for the Hughy; looks a little tippy compared to the cruiser; we'll see how they fair; not that I want them to dump it, but it DOES make for some good print!!

It's actually the first time I ever saw Bob Bradford put his paddle down; I would gather that Jim Woodruff was in the house (river left) and a salute to the Legend of Hughy was in order; big shout out to Pat Harington for forwarding me some pics.

It's a banner day..

to be out on the water; brisk cool breeze, horizontal rain that stings like bees; what are you waiting for?
So if you are reading this, you are probably not paddling; but you could make a run on down to the Kruger Memorial and hang with some really cool people and get your paddling lore on. So back away from remote, take caution around the couch and slowly make your way down to the park in Portland.   There is still time to make the shorter routes too!!
The Story

The Hugh Heward Challenge is an annual paddling event that retraces a part of the historical route of English explorer and fur trader Hugh Heward and his party of 7 Frenchman. On April 24th of 1790 Hugh and his team paddled down a 50 mile section of the Grand River in central lower Michigan while being hurried by a small group of feisty natives. This story was brought to the attention of Verlen by his good friend and river neighbor Jim Woodruff who is a Michigan Historian and Topologist. Jim has dug up a multitude of information on the old canoe routes that criss cross the state of Michigan and also the people that traveled them. This particular 50 mile run is but a small section of Hugh's original ...trip which took him from the village at Detroit, through Michigan's lower peninsula and over to the village of Chicago and beyond. Jim found it interesting that while traveling past his and Verlen's own backyards Hugh and his party supposedly paddled 50 miles in a single day. After studying the charts and extensively discussing Hugh's accomplishments with Verlen, Jim proposed that Verlen go out and prove it could be done. Verlen gathered his own group and set out the very next spring to show it could be done and since then hundreds and hundreds of modern day voyageurs have retraced the route.

The full 50 mile Challenge is a big day for even those that have expert water traveling skills. A few shorter routes have been set up for those wishing to have an easier day. The Half Hugh is about 25 miles and starts in the town of Grand Ledge, MI and the Quarter Hugh is about 13 miles and starts at Charlotte Hwy near the town of Portland, MI.

The Routes

The Full Hugh Heward Challenge will start at 7am, April 25th at Lions Park, 300 W. Jefferson St. Dimondale MI. The Grand River is wide and gently flowing, current is suitable for beginner paddlers. There are three easy portages, 2 going through the city of Lansing, MI and 1 at Grand Ledge, MI. Just outside of the city of Lansing, Challengers will pass by Verlen's final resting spot just upriver of his old home and canoe workshop. Jim Woodruff's home is just upriver of Verlen's on the opposite bank, stop in if you have time and enjoy a Silver Bullet with the old historian that made this adventure possible!

The Half Hugh will start at 10am, April 25th at Fitzgerald Park (Dam), Grand Ledge, MI.

The Quarter Hugh will start at Noon, April 25th at Charlotte Hwy Bridge (over Grand River) just outside the town of Portland, MI.

All Routes finish at the site of the Verlen Kruger Memorial at Thomson Field in Portland, MI.

The Details

A donation of $10 can be made to the Verlen Kruger Memorial for participation in this event. All proceeds will go directly to fund projects and paddle events put on by the Verlen Kruger Memorial.

Certificates of completion will be awarded to all finishers who make it to Thompson Field, along with a delicious chili dinner.

The City of Dimondale, MI is again offering primitive camping at the starting line for Friday night. The Lions Park is located at 300 W. Jefferson St. Dimondale MI. The park offers a sheltered picnic area and running water bathrooms. Downtown Dimondale is only a few blocks away.


Friday, April 17, 2015

C2C'd Déjà vu event

Déjà vu, literally "already seen", is the phenomenon of having the strong sensation that an event or experience currently being experienced has been experienced in the past, which is often not the case while in a Kruger crafted watercraft paddling for 48 hours straight. what your actually seeing is the phenomenon of having the strong sensation that an event or experience currently being experienced has been experienced in the past... I digress...

So Jack "the hammer" dropped in unexpectedly and decided to do the C2C course - again (Déjà vu); experiencing it for the first time, again.

 Michael Jackson we know where you can find a match for that missing glove.

 Clueless what this picture represents, but somehow it reminds me of something - Déjà vu I think that canoes are best paddled then pulled.
The infamous drag your Kruger through the woods scenario; let no rock, no stone, no embankment impede my need to keep moving!!
Jack on the move from left to right. see SPOT for current updates main page upper right quadrant

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Hughy 2015

"Happy are they who dream dreams and have the courage to make them come true." -Verlen Kruger
If you dare to dream - click here

Sunday, April 12, 2015

C2C campus to coast (update 9)

Through a tangled labyrinth or cryptic posts, texts messages and the occasional email - I have surmised that it was a knock down drag out paddle to the finish as Mark and Lauren tried to reel in the lead boat; I don't know much [crowd nods eagerly] but I am sure we will see a full race audit from Mark and Lauren on their blog.  The drums beat loud as they were at a 30 minute deficit and reeled them in within a couple of minutes - now that's adventure racing.

Here is a shot of the finish from the C2C website in the daylight. The camaraderie at these events is outstanding.  I hear the chest of gold bullion for the winners will be awarded at 7pm or was it a beer mug? - can't remember I'm all a dither.

Here's what it looks like under the glow of a red light (for night vision) - Ben's GPS says it all.  Congrats to those that took on the daunting challenge, experienced all that is grand about the Grand River. Hats off to the organizers and spectators that cheered them on.  Until we meet again - Watch your top notch, and keep your powder dry.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

C2C campus to coast (update 8)

Teaching your canoe to heel is an import piece of the adventure race puzzle; Mark shows how it is done.

This is what it looks like from the front of the pack; Lauren and Mark scoot past Grand Rapids; SPOT has been reset so you can follow along; we lost touch for about 4 hours in the wee hours of the morning.

C2C campus to coast (update 7)

The Hammer - playing a game of "Marko Polo" on the C2C

Yesterday's weather is playing a big factor in the C2C  high winds, rain and temperatures in the low 30's are testing everyone's will to keep pushing on; eat rest and eat again before making any decisions is right out of the Team Kruger Best Practices Manual - page 3, section 2(c); right under the section easier said then done and above don't touch that its hot.

SPOT's need to be reset every 24 hours; hard to keep tabs on these rabble rousers when they don't update SPOT; Don't make me send Emily out there to give you a "how bout what for" she has three minions in tow and is in no mood!!  :-) [enter laugh track]

C2C campus to coast (update 6)

We can't forget to recognize the Kiddo's that put the C2C event on!! A tip of the Tilley and a dip of the paddle to you for a job well done!!   Check this out for official standings - click here

C2C campus to coast (update 5)

The game is afoot; thank you to all that have sent riveting information, pictures and satiric view of the event; you inspire me.  Thank you Pat, Amanda, Carl, Emily, Mark, Jim, its a pleasure!

Carl who is part of the advanced team doing recon on the lower section of the Grand river comes up with this!! The Hammer is in the house!! Oh yeah it appears Jack "the hammer" came out to play and has "dropped" in on the team - moving fast and stealth. A communique with others in the field confirm - calls have been made, fleece has been abandon, the gloves are off,  it's all about where the paddle meets the water.

So there was a little research being done and we thought where might ManitouCruiser be? Is he up to his ole tricks and shenanigans, is he in play; so a check of the SPOT puts him right in the thick of it, we are tracking him a the Lansing Factory Outlet Mall; most likely shopping for a prom dress.

Friday, April 10, 2015

C2C campus to coast (update 4)

Mike and Sandy make their way to one of many portages; looking mighty comfy and warm sporting that new spray skirt.  Keeping it real on the river.

C2C campus to coast (update 3)

Ben - wont be denied; showing the re-entry in the solo Kruger Sea Wind; word on the river he is down in Portland MI kissing babies and taking in a local fish fry as I speak; it's hard to tell with these engineer types but there appears to be some subtle modifications on this canoe, hmm further investigation is needed.  Now sources tell me there is a small minion revolt forming down at the memorial; say it ain't so!!

C2C campus to coast (update 2)

Plenty of portages on the C2C -  7 in total; Mark and Lauren give a tutorial on down river re-entry post the portage - 3 points of contact!!  Word on the river is Lauren and Mark have scooted right by Portland, MI

C2C campus to coast 2015 (update)

Kruger Ambassador ManitouCruiser  - cheers the participants on in the 2015 running of the C2C; now where are the rest of the Krugerheads?

Every picture tells a story; ManitouCruiser herds as many Krugerheads together for a photo op; not bad, only two missing from the herd.

C2C - campus to coast 2015 (notes from the field)

The stage is set - High winds, flood warnings; a dream come true for Krugerheads everywhere; somewhere in the Krugerhead handbook it says - use craft only if experiencing BIG adventure; I think they got it.  Here are some scouting pictures to wet your safety whistle.

 Moving water
Scouting the finish

C2C - campus to coast 2015 ( 2 hours till tee time)

The route looks something like this; added footnotes are a nice touch - "do not paddle up stream"

Thursday, April 9, 2015

It's all plastics and ball bearings...

 Wheel fail; in the throws of adversity comes innovation and new technology; I give you the new age of the wheel...

"This is the lore that inspire false telling's; the days of ironmen and pneumatic wheels are for never more... its a new age - sealed bearings and polymer plastics".

"Dang... we got a lot of catching up to do" 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

C2C - campus to coast 2015

Registration Deadlines:

 Mail postmarked 03/27 or at the MSU OC meeting 03/30.

Race start and parking is at Wonch Park, 4555 Okemos Road, Okemos, MI (

More information and registration forms at

Campus to Coast is a paddle sport adventure race put on by the Michigan State University Outdoors Club. The race starts on MSU’s campus at the Rock, following the Red Cedar River into the Grand River and out through Grand Haven, finishing at Grand Haven State Park. The race is approximately 160 miles, with estimations of the fastest times being anywhere from 36-40 hours and 57 hours being the cut-off time. Because this event happens ea...rly in the year, and will require paddling at night there is required gear; found in the rules. This race also contains 7 portages, along with one section where racers must “canoe line” a small section of fall over dams.

 Due to the inherent dangers of canoeing/kayaking, cold weather, night river travel, and dams, every racer should be well aware of the protocols regarding emergency situations (found in the rules). Racers also must be aware of their own abilities, strengths, and weaknesses before undertaking this event. Everyone is welcome to take part in any division they are applicable for; however they should take into consideration all risks (frost bite, hypothermia, drowning, death, etc.). “Prior planning prevents piss poor performance.” as they say, plan appropriately and you should all have an expedition of a lifetime.

More information and registration forms at
It's nice to have an event in play where I can abuse, I mean cheer on Team Kruger; it's been way to long my fellow paddle pirates.
Here is how I see it unfolding:
Mike and Sandy - tandem Kruger Cruiser
Mark and Lauren - tandem Kruger Cruiser
Mark P. - solo Kruger Sea Wind
Ben A. -  solo Kruger Sea Wind
Jack M. - possible entry
Michael D - possible entry
Nobody tells me anything, so it's a roll of the canoe cart which and who will go; speaking of canoe carts - don't ask...
epic fail