Tomorrow morning, Friday April 17, 2009, the Ultimate Hugh Heward Challenge 2009 will begin with an 8:30 AM launch from Belle Isle in the Detroit River.
The Challengers are Mark Przedwojewski of Irons, builder of Kruger Canoes; Dan Smith of Portland, chairman of the Verlen Kruger Memorial Association; Charlie Parmelee of Leslie, who pioneered the Ultimate Hugh Heward Challenge when he started paddling up the Huron River in the snow on March 28, 2008; Toby Nipper, knife maker and long-distance canoeist from Ft. Meyers, Florida; and Jon Holmes, kayak instructor from Lowell.
Mark, Dan, Charlie and Toby will be paddling Kruger Sea Wind expedition canoes, Jon will be paddling an Eddyline Falcon 18 Modulus sea kayak.
Mike Smith of Portland was scheduled to be one of the Challengers but he has been laid low by a bad back so he will have to follow along from home like the rest of us.
Chuck Amboy of Okemos, our host when the Challengers reach the English Inn downstream of Eaton Rapids, and Ron Dean of St. Johns, who raced with Verlen Kruger, will accompany the Challengers the first day.
Any one else who wants to paddle along somewhere along the way is welcome.
The Woodruff family will pop for beer and pizza when the Challengers get to Hell.
British trader Hugh Heward with seven French-Canadian paddlers in two birchbark canoes departed Detroit on March 24, 1790, heading for Chicago. It took them 47 days to reach the Chicago River, 26 of which were paddling days. We shall see how long it takes the Challengers. I will be emailing daily progress reports - if you want to receive the emails send me your email address at firstname.lastname@example.org