Saturday, October 3, 2009

Ultimate Kruger Challenge - Report #5

Saturday night. There is no joy in Ann Arbor but they are happy in East Lansing.

The Manistee 100 miler is underway. You can follow it on Toby's Spotter. There is a link to it on my blog,

Dan got sick again and is off the river. His wife has picked him up. Mark is doing the 7 mile portage solo and is going to put in the Manistee and go all night. Hopes to "reel in" Toby. Jack is going to join Dan's nephew at the M72 Campground and go down the Manistee tomorrow.

I am reminded of a trip down this same stretch of the Manistee 60 years ago. My late brother Dick and I spent two days paddling down the river, ending at the M31 Bridge. Our canoe was an 18 ft Old Town OTCA built in 1921. It was the same wood and canvas canoe my other brother John and I had used for our long wilderness trip in Western Ontario in the summer of 1948.

Two things stand out in my memory about that long ago Manistee trip. The first is that we froze our butts off trying to sleep in World War II Army surplus blanket sleeping bags.

The other is related to the fact that in those days you could drink safely from the river. I was on my hands and knees taking a drink of the cold, clear water when I heard this tinkling noise upstream. I could hardly believe it but there was my brother urinating in the Manistee with this big grin on his face. I resolved to get back at him but he never gave me the opportunity.

The Old Town still exists. Restored by Scott Barkdall of Skywoods Canoe, it resides at a fancy "old money" cottage in the Les Cheneaux Islands in the UP.

I might miss some sleep tonight with friends still on the river like like I did when Charlie was suffering solo up the Huron in the spring of 2008.

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