I was doing a lot of thinking about Grand River Expedition 2010 last evening in response to a message from our esteemed leader, The Riverologist. That mental activity was apparently stimulating since after I went to bed and fell asleep I had this rather complicated dream which I feel compelled to share with you and the canoeists named in the "Cc" box.
My Dream: About 50 or 60 canoes and kayaks of GRE 2010 were in their 13th day on the Grand River coming into Grand Haven, most heading out for a quick turn into the Big Lake and back. Among them were a number of Kruger Sea Wind expedition canoes with very experienced paddlers. They tended to hang around out beyond the breakwater looking "cool".
While out there they noticed two ghostly birchbark canoes heading south. It was Hugh Heward and his crew on their 1790 journey from Detroit to the Chicago Portage!
Then they saw three or four ghostly Sea Winds following Hugh's trail. It was the intrepid Challengers from the 2009 Ulitimate Hugh Heward Challenge!
"Do you see what I see?" shouted one GRE paddler. "Don't let them out of sight!" shouted a second. "Let's catch up to them!" added a third and with that they dug in their paddles and raced after the apparitions.
Well, they never could catch up no matter how hard they tried until they got opposite St. Joe, and there beneath the bluff was a ghostly fleet of 8 or 10 birchbark canoes, with about 30 ghostly Frenchmen and one ghostly Indian from the doomed ship Griffon, busily preparing to go up the St. Joseph River. It was the great explorer LaSalle's 1679 expedition!
Our heroes decided to stick with LaSalle while the ghostly Heward and the ghostly Ulitimate Challengers continued on down the Big Lake on their way to the Chicago. Portage.
When the Frenchmen started up the St. Joseph (which they called The River of the Miamis) our heroes followed along a discreet distance behind until they got to the portage where someday there would be the City of South Bend and a college that used to have good football teams..
LaSalle sent the Indian across the portage to check it out and he returned saying that it ended in a big marsh but he could see moving water so the Frenchmen hoisted their canoes to their shoulders and grabbed their packs and set off at a trot across the portage.
Our heroes always carried wheels in their Sea Winds but there were no roads, nothing but a buffalo trail. Nevertheless, they did not want to get left behind so the mounted their canoes on their wheels and went bumping cross-country. One even used a bicycle, the first time ever where the State of Indiana would someday be (remember, it was a dream...all things are possible).
Launching their Sea Winds in the marsh they followed the disturbed reeds left by the Frenchmen and were soon on the free-flowing Kankakee River. In due time the Kankakee was joined by the river the French called DesPlaines (which flowed down from the other side of the Chicago Portage) to form the Illinois River, so named for the Illinois tribe of Indians who lived along it.
They followed the ghostly LaSalle down the river but he stopped about where Peoria is today and decided to build another fort like the one he had built at the mouth of the St. Joseph. Well our heroes were nonplussed since they didn't want to hang around Peoria (who would?).
But just about that time here comes another apparition. Coming upstream in a ghostly canoe was a ghostly Jesuit priest and a ghostly French explorer. It was Father Marquette and Louis Joliet on their way back from their 1673 "discovery" of the Mississippi River (the natives already knew where it was).
So now our heroes had a dilemma, should they go on down the Illinois and see the "Father of Waters" or should they follow Marquette and Joliet back up to Lake Michigan and home?
This is where I woke up. It had been a remarkable dream, despite being interrupted by an old man's nightly pee calls. Does it give anyone any ideas as to another historical canoeing adventure????
As Verlen said "Happy are those that dream dreams..."