Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Charlie's 2008 Odyssey VII

My message of April 27th:

Here is a great article by John Schneider in the Lansing State Journal April 25:
Jim Woodruff isn't working the paddle, but he's the guy who, as he puts it; "dreamed the whole thing up." And where would we be without dreamers? Up the creek without a paddle. Woodruff, 86, lives on the Grand River in Delta township. He's a retired engineer who describes his hobby as "canoe-related Michigan history." He once read about a British trader named Hugh Heward who traveled by canoe across Michigan's Lower Peninsula. That was in April 1790. Woodruff began wondering if such a trip was still feasible. He spent years researching the question--in the library and out in the field. He put hundreds of miles on his car checking out the route, and concluded the journey might be possible. At this very moment Charlie Parmelee, a General Motors retiree and long distance canoeist from Leslie, is putting Woodruff's theory--and himself--to the test.

BOUND FOR HELL. On March 28 in the snow, Parmelee put his canoe into the Huron River near Flat Rock and began paddling upstream. He passed through Belleville, Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor and Dexter. He then continued up Portage Creek, a Huron tributary, all the way to Hell. Southeast of Stockbridge, Parmelee crossed the divide between the Lake Michigan and Lake Erie watersheds. Following a major portage, which included dragging his canoe on training wheels two miles down a highway, he put in at the headwaters of the Portage River, a tributary of the Grand. On Saturday other canoeists and kayakers will join Parmelee for the annual 50-mile dash to Portland known as the "Hugh Heward Challenge". Parmelee is expected to arrive in Grand haven in the middle of next week.  The point of Parmelee's month long odyssey? "To reenact history", Woodruff said. "And to prove that a guy like Charlie can still do it." 

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