Thursday, May 7, 2009

UHHC 2009-Final Thoughts, Summary and Thanks III

To Jon Holmes. What a man! I had doubts about a sea kayak going upstream on the Huron, getting over all those dams and bushwhacking up Hell Creek, but obviously he did it and fast. I'll bet he used that two-blader more as a push pole than as a paddle going up the creek. Since he didn't communicate with me at all I don't know how he did it. I am hoping he will write the complete story and share it with us. He missed out on my beer and pizza party at the Damsite Inn in Hell but made it to Chuck's fancy luncheon at the English Inn. Maybe that's a sign of his discriminating taste.
I was reduced to following his Spotter which I did religiously. I admit to being a Luddite on GPS gadgets before this trip started. I didn't see why in hell any canoeist or kayaker  cared where they had been a half hour ago, but now I see it isn't for them, it is for us who are trying to follow and find out what they are doing and where they are. I am a convert. In Jon's case it turned out to be important when he and Rusty headed straight across the Lake for Chicago from Michigan City, a stunt that I thought showed more guts than sense. I followed them all the way and sensed that they were moving slower as they approached Chicago. It turned out that they had run into waves and had a real struggle getting to shore at the Planetarium. I was prepared to call the Coast Guard if they stopped.
Jon said he considered the trip a test of himself and was happy to be alone. He passed the test with flying colors but I think he would have enjoyed the companionship of the other Challengers. He and Coach sprinted out ahead on the Detroit River and took opposite sides of an island and never saw each other again. I don't know to this day who was ahead going up the Huron. Jon was the first into Chicago but at the Planetarium rather than at the Chicago River.
While Jon was going up Portage Creek he went through Hell only about and hour or two ahead of the Intrepid 4's arrival. Patty Pape was there to greet both and had photos of Jon on the water (including the one above).
We had a great time at the Damsite Inn. Lots of paddlers and family and locals. As is tradtional I picked up the tab. My thanks to the nice waitress who took care of us. She decided what kind of pizza we should have and was quick with the beer refills. We toasted Verlen and Hugh.
Daughter Karen is looking forward to choosing a man-sized kayak at Jon's shop for her large sized sons.
More tomorrow.

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