As a sort of warm up for the 2009 Ultimate Hugh Heward Challenge I am going to serialize extracts from Charlie Parmelee's reports covering his 2008 cross-Peninsula trip by paddle and portage with his Kruger Sea Wind. He started in the snow at the mouth of the Huron River at Lake Erie on March 28th and ended May 3rd just short of Lake Michigan at Grand Haven, stopped by an oil spill.
From a March 17 Email to Ron Sell:
Anything anyone wants to do is fine with me....paddle for the day, whole trip, bring water or take pictures, tag along bridge to bridge...I went out yesterday and cached some water in a few places where water might be hard to get. I have no set places to camp......just wherever there is a place I can get off the water, permission when I can get it and just being quiet when I can't.....I carry my own toilet and fire pan so i don't do any damage other than a few footprints....
I have a tent made for the Sea Wind so I sleep in the canoe and can basically sleep anywhere....even on the water if needed. I will be paddling from sun up to sun down and taking a rest break whenever needed. That's basically it......paddle and eat....paddle and sleep,,,,with a couple of mid day naps in there somewhere. The Portage Lake Swamp is going to require waders, wheels and a lot of horsepower and time. I will only be portaging that part south of Topith Road because of private land ownership
I will lay over a day in Hell.....meeting Jim Woodruff there for free beer and pizza....
My Email of March 28:
Charlie is on his way! He had to set up his tent last night in the blizzard. Bright and sunny. He can see ships on Lake Erie and power plants to the south. He has launched his Sea Wind and is heading up the Huron..
My Email of March 29:
Got a call from Deb Parmelee. She had a call from Charlie (very poor connection). He was at Oakwood Metro Park...(upstream of Flat Rock). Had a lot of trouble getting around the dam at Flat Rock.
March 30 phone call from Deb Parmelee:
Charlie just called (9 PM) to say he was about one third of the way up Ford Lake. He is going to keep paddling tonight as there are houses everywhere and no place to camp in sight...he said it was raining...Couple places he said the current was very strong and he had to get out and portage. The wheels for the canoe have come in very handy already. Said one dam he came to today he may not have made it on his own it was such a high take-out area but two young guys helped him...He said he has been very cold at night-his sleeping bag is not a warm enough one for this weather.
My Email of March 31:
Got a call from Charlie about noon today from the Sidetrack Bar & Grill in Depot Town in Ypsilanti. Ron Sell was with him. He ran into ice on Ford lake. Ron helped him out. I don't know the details. He camped night before last at a park at the French Landing Dam.
Next: The rescue details