Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Ultra-Mitt - the adventure continues

Lets first just start by saying Manitou is safe and made the right call getting off the water; but lets also say he is one crazy dude having an adventure of a life time.  (you can't make this stuff up)

So back to the Ambassador Bridge two nights ago at around 1130p he was pulled over by the border patrol who saw suspicious activity (paddling a worn torn canoe at night).  The threat was ominous, armed with nothing more than a jug of SPIZZ and a boat that looks like it was from hell and back - he had to be smuggling something?  BP detained Mark for about 30 minutes as they tried to sort out what this rabble-rouser was up too - enter the cool writings of you know who (me) and a well designed website they surmised Manitou was for real after checking things out and everyone calmed down. Personally I was hoping for a full cavity search and a tear down of all gear, but internet service was good and they could see he was who he said he was.

So Manitou has pulled out and camped for the night; assessing the weather it looks like 5 days of shear hell on the water; Station in Port Huron is showing 30kt winds and 6-7 foot waves at the offshore buoy... the narrows of the river were ridiculously rough - so the walk ensued.

The cart under heavy load started to deteriorate and Manitou came upon a pallet factory (tearing apart old pallets for firewood) and asked for some assistance - with a little ingenuity and some strapping the cart was good to go.

Go where you ask? Off to the Regatta Bar home of Killian's on Tap and water front accommodation; the proprietors were eager to help and share in the adventure; even offered their own story of the narrows where smugglers crossed the border into the US from Canada.

We're looking at a 5 day weather hold so to speak - 26 miles to Port Huron - and 5 days to get there, no problemo.

Ultra-Mitt Overview Map

The Ultra-Mitt route looks something like this.

Ultra-Mitt - the kruger handbook

Look familiar UF participants past and present

You've heard me reference in this telling tale and previous stories (embellishments of fact true or not) of the  "Kruger Handbook"  - every Kruger Canoe owner gets one, it's part of the Kruger experience.  Now shhh, we got an adventure going on.

Page 1, chapter 1 first entry out of the Kruger Handbook- "Keep it moving" - OK so Mark checks in and informs me he has found shelter; already has his tent up and has a fully belly (there is rumor he went to Dairy Queen, denied service - bought the place so he could make a triple cheeseburger with organic soybean and essential oil ); going to grab a hot shower, slip into his jammies and sleep for the next 12 hours.

The plan: keep it moving; tomorrow if conditions still look dicey - we walk.

Manitou came prepared, he brought his cart; Quote "I never paddled in more confused water. Between wind waves, tug/freighter waves and never ending seawalls of doom - it's a washing machine x20"

So it's a two day stroll of picking pebbles out of your shoes and sore feet to get up to Lake Huron by foot and cart; now luck plays a big part as we hope the weather cooperates when he gets there.

Stay Salty,

The Capt'n

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Ultra-Mitt 2015 weather moves in

The adventure takes a turn as weather builds and conditions become challenging; this is what defines these challenges; it will be interesting to see what Manitou does during the next few days. Stay tuned... we will keep you posted as things develop.

Ultra - Mitt - St. Clair Lake

Pushing on through the wee hours of morning; Lake St. Clair (French: Lac Sainte-Claire) is a freshwater lake that lies between the Canadian province of Ontario and the U.S. state of Michigan. It was named after Clare of Assisi, on whose feast day it was discovered by European explorers. It is part of the Great Lakes system, and along with the St. Clair River and Detroit River, Lake St. Clair connects Lake Huron (to its north) with Lake Erie (to its south).

It has a total surface area of about 430 square miles (1,100 km2) and average depth of just 11 ft (3.4 m); to ensure an uninterrupted waterway government agencies on both sides of the lake have maintained a deep shipping channel through the shallow lake for well over a century

Ultra- Mitt 2015

 Pressing on to Detroit, Manitou runs into some familiar faces. Mark and Lauren put in and chase him down around Grassy Island.  The wonders of SPOT comes in handy when you're hunting big game.

 Manitou pushes on, boat looks balanced and squared away; Mark reports having a great day, 46 miles into the trip when he checked in; just about to the Ambassador Bridge. He is feeling pretty good, though going through that first day can be daunting as your body adjusts and you get into the routine.

 Here is a shot of Mark and Lauren coming along side; it's always nice to see peeps out on the water. offering a bit of encouragement.

 They grow'em big in the Midwest; here's a cargo ship riding high; there is something eerie about just ole cargo ships in inland waters. 

It's a share the waterway moment; you definitely what to give right away and stay clear; menacing presence on the water; mysteries of the deep and freighters of the great lakes.

Factoid: Approximately 6,000 shipwrecks have occurred on the Great Lakes with the death toll totaling upwards of 30,000 lives.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Ultra- Mitt 2015

Another Kruger adventure right out of the Legends and Lore Handbook; ManitouCruiser just north of Toledo Ohio is venturing out to do a little training for the WaterTribe  Ultimate Florida Challenge in March 2016.

The plan is to go border to border (so to speak) from Ohio to Indiana taking in all the shoreline that is Michigan.  A 700 + mile jaunt - solo.  Follow along with SPOT - click here

The put in was at HalfWay Creek -  allowed for some late night early morning preparation; it's an early morning push from shore; Manitou stated he is looking to put in major miles while the weather is favorable.

This is what it looks like from the ramp at the pre-load; now ...already pushed from shore he is on his way. 

Stay salty...

The Capt'n

Iron Mushroom - I see a mushroom cheeseburger in my future

Literally rolled in at 12:17 pm est - a little Grateful Dead playing in the background "What a great ride it has been"

The Kruger experience always includes some sort of walk, pull, drag or hike up some embankment; it's a have a strong back or a set of wheels to fill out your dance card.  Mush my little shroomers, mush!!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Iron Mushoom - getting cozy

By 1:13pm they had already made it to 9 mile bridge, 4 hours and 45 minutes for 6.5 hard won miles; putting them a head of schedule, allowing them to set up before dark, almost like  they planned it this way!!

With camp coming together nicely, Jack is out big game fishing for some salmon; The Iron-shoomers will eat and sleep well tonight!! 

Mark says its less than 8 miles to go, so they're thinking they can make it to Jackie's for lunch!!

An early morning sweet nothings moment

After a couple of hot toddies (medicinal purposes) Mark whispering sweet nothings to Lauren, "It's so nice to camp" ... they're in a beautiful cedar grove bedded down, no nettles to be found, where eagles soar and salmon abound.  (sounds poetic)

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Iron Mushroom - purple haze

If there was ever a reason... this is it - the sunrise

SPOT - click here

If history has proven one thing there are events that are remembered and made famous and those that are nearly forgotten.  It takes a little discomfort to instill the true spirit of adventure; one needs to venture outside their comfort zone to experience it.  (hang on while I change the water in my foot bath, and grab my blanky).

Par for the course, work gets in the way ~ So I will recap - It was a warm one out there, up and over Tippy Dam, frolicking in Manistee lake and a sunrise that defines nature's beauty.

Light breeze,  purple sky above

Paddling adventures can be measured in many ways; I like to look at one's meals as a bench mark of success, coupled with speed, efficiency and comfort of the trip - I could explain it further, but I would need charts and graphs.  Anyway... The Shroomers feasted last night - Jack, beef stew; Mark, Chilli Mac; Lauren, Shepard's pie -  right now there are  hikers everywhere wishing they bought a canoe over a backpack and walking stick.

Camp Life on the Manistee:

The marsh, to him who enters it in a receptive mood, holds, besides mosquitoes and stagnation, melody, the mystery of unknown waters, and the sweetness of Nature undisturbed by man. — (Charles William Beebe, Log of the Sun)  Or as Lauren has put it so eloquently here on the Manistee ~ "Slept in some tall stinging nettle last night. Snoring everywhere, so we all got some much needed sleep, yeah"

The Shroomers are pushing from shore 0650 est; Jack is such a kidder, he has sold the group on the idea that it is going to be an easy day... tee hee.

Factoid: Tippy Dam or Tippy Hydro was built 1918 and is a hydroelectric dam operated by Consumers Energy. The original name of the dam was Junction Hydro, but it was renamed to honor a Consumers board of directors member, Charles W. Tippy. The dam spans the Manistee River about 170 miles from its headwaters which include Manistee Lake, on the river's way to Lake Michigan. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Iron Mushroom - the Manistee beckons

 Saddling up... getting ready for a bit of a portage, nothing like taking your canoe out for a morning stroll.
 Where you say?  Mesick Michigan - home of the Mesick Mushroom Festival and other worthy events
  And the adventure begins - the Manistee River; the name "Manistee" is from an Ojibwe word whose derivation may be uncertain, but non-the-less, inspiring.
Onward my Iron-shoomers, onward...

The Iron Mushroom - secrets of the wood and water

The unpublicized Kruger event "The Iron Mushroom" has become a Kruger Head Cult favorite; it's where iron meets water.  Today Jack, Lauren and Mark embark on one tough adventure, The Iron Mushroom. Three souls, two boats -This ain't no Papa Joe's float trip, this is the Iron Mushroom.
Follow Mark and Lauren - click here
Follow Jack - click here ( still waiting for his SPOT to be activated)