Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thursday April 23

Woke up today still cold but at least it's bright skies. I'm figuring approximately 40/45 miles to Grand Haven and the entry point to Lake Michigan. Also figure it's a 3-Advil day in order to do it.

Took my time today, sort of hoping for the weather to warm up and lay in my tent and didn't get in the water until well after 8:00. No wind at all today and still had excellent current and made great time. I paddled until noon when I saw on river right (this is a new term I've learned on this journey -"river right" or "river left" - I used to call it the left or right side of the river) a sandy beach with a nice grassy knoll above it. I thought "Heck, I haven't taken a real break except for portages. I think I'm going to stop for lunch", which I did. I spent a good 15 - 20 minutes, which is unusual but it felt good.

I continued paddling on to Grand Haven, with the thoughts that I not only need to get to Grand Haven but I need to get as close to Holland as possible. Pat Paquette, who played football for me back in the 70s, now lives in the Holland area and has offered to drive me back to Dimondale tomorrow for the 50 mile Challenge, which is being held on Saturday. This challenge is very important to me, which I will explain in a later post.

I continued on my way and at about 2:00 I thought I was getting real close to Grand Haven, which was hard to believe. I didn't think I could be here this quick. It seemed like I had only 5-6 more miles to go. After looking at my map for a change it turns out that I have more like 14 miles to go because of the twists and turns into Grand Haven.

Eventually I found myself paddling through the channel heading to the lighthouse at the entry to Lake Michigan and officially turned the corner onto Lake Michigan at 5:03.

My thoughts earlier were - will I actually be able to paddle into Lake Michigan? Living near Lake Superior I know how treacherous it can be coming out of a harbor entrance onto a big body of water like Lake Michigan. It doesn't take a lot of wind to make things difficult.

As it turned out, luck was on my side once again for there was barely a walleye chop on the water and I was able to make the entry and turn south toward Chicago with ease.

I spent some time along the city beach next to the entry taking pictures and checking my maps to see how far it was to Holland. I figured it was approximately 20 miles so I should be able to make Holland by noon tomorrow and decided to set up camp when I could find an isolated spot. Just then, Karen (Jim Woodruff's daughter) called. I told her I would be back for the 5:00PM luncheon, pause,,, she said it was at noon! Old age on my part had set in again! After our conversation I figure I must keep paddling, hoping to make at least another 6 to 8 miles.

I finally stopped well after dark, with hope of an early start tomorrow I'd have a chance to make it to Holland by 10:00AM! I believe this is the best mileage day I've had on this trip. Normally I'd feel good about such an effort, but tonight I'm thinking, WHY!

I'm now laying in my sleeping bag, looking at the Big Dipper and feeling good to be this far in 7 days. Chicago should be within reach by mid-week if conditions are anywhere like they are today.

As I gaze at the stars I'm thinking about the many people who've helped me out along the way. Yesterday for example, while portaging in Grand Rapids, two young ladies went out of their way to get me a sandwich. When I hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, hikers called such people Trail Angels. Now I call them Paddle Angels. THANKS TO ALL!

Damn, I'm tired!


Post a Comment

<< Home