Thursday, December 25, 2008

Minnesota's Dark Colored Pictographs

Well, I’m finally done writing, editing, posting my trip report from my Fall 2007 Isabella Area Solo Canoe Trip. I originally put a little over one hundred photos in a slideshow of this trip, but I really didn’t have any narrative to go with the photos.

Now I started another blog, Minnesota Dark Colored Pictographs or simply Dark Colored Pictographs. The narrative is now posted as well as many more photos from the trip including those from the earlier slideshow.

Well, I hope you enjoy the narrative, photos or both.

Now I can get on with other things, such as planning for this coming years Wilderness trips. I also need to take some photos with my new lens that I just recently got and….

Chuck Ryan

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Canoe Races in Quetico Provincial Park & other events in 2009

I received an e-mail from Chris Stromberg who is the Recreational Planner for Quetico. Quetico is celebrating it's 100th birthday. Here are some canoe races being held in 2009. Besides these canoe races there are other events schedule throughout 2009. There is a link further down with the other events. I will post additional information when I receive them from Chris.

Hello Fellow Paddlers

For those of you that have heard from me previously and are tired of hearing from me, I apologize, but I am excited about how this up and coming year of events are unfolding and I would like to give you some updates before you settle in to cozy holiday place with visions of sugarplums instead of canoes dancing in your heads.

If anyone is unaware, Quetico Provincial Park will be celebrating its’ 100th birthday in 2009 and the staff is excited about hosting a year of events.
If you call yourself a paddler and you are unfamiliar with Quetico you are missing out on what could be called the finest flat water canoeing destination in the world.

We are starting our festivities in January with snow-shoeing, igloo building, ski tours and everything winter. For those of you that are skiers we host a number of unique annual tours that have become anticipated events for skiers from all around the area and you should contact me to hear about the details.

But I am sending this message out to paddlers, and so I will get to the point, because I know…Christmas is coming.

For the summer months we will be hosting ongoing canoeing challenges such as the Hunter Island loop challenge. We will be putting on paddle symposiums, “paddle your neighbour’s canoe” with paddling clinics and demonstrations and participants are asked to bring all their boats to the beach at French Lake and try out each other’s different kayaks and canoes.

Again for you racers, I will get to the point.

We have an entire week of races in Atikokan and Quetico this year starting with:

July 1st -Canada Day Canoe Parade
-XY Company’s 30 Km Pursuit – Pro marathon canoe race-Steep Rock Lake and Atikokan River (annual favourite)

July 2nd- Ontario Provincials-OMCRA- marathon canoe race- French Lake and Pickerel Lake and River, Quetico Park

July 3rd - Ontario Provincials- OMCRA- 2nd half

July 4th- Voyageur Festival- 20km Voyageur Canoe Race- French Lake Beach to Pickerel Lake and return

July 5th- Paddle Your Neighbour’s Canoe Symposium – French Lake Beach

I am inviting canoeists to bring their racing boats, find a voyageur canoe, round up a team and come for a week of canoeing and celebrations.

For the extreme marathon adventurer we will be hosting anther race in August 8th and 9th that will wet the appetite of any long distance marathon canoeist as well as anyone familiar with the legendary Ely – Atikokan race that was held in the 1960’s.

Originally the race went from Ely, Minnesota through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and Quetico Provincial Park to Atikokan, Ontario.

It was held for 3 consecutive years and became famous among hard core marathon paddlers.
The Cross Quetico Marathon Canoe Race will be 120 miles (almost 200 kilometres) of self navigated wilderness racing.

Because of strict border issues and BWCAW regulations we are going to hold the race entirely in Canada from French Lake to Prairie Portage (entry to Quetico on the U.S. border) overnight and return.

I know that marathon canoeing is a tight little culture and I am hoping that everyone receiving this will help spread the word.

Please drop me a note to let me know that you have received this message and would like to continue to get updates.

Thanks and Happy Holidays

Chris Stromberg
Recreational Planner
Quetico Provincial Park

Here is the e-mail attachment for other Quetico Provincial Park's Centennial Events in 2009.

The following is what is covered in the above link except that the shaded areas and the boxes didn't show up when I pasted the info to my blog.

Quetico Provincial Park’s Centennial Events

Tentatively planned events pending confirmation of instructor(s)’ participation or
Multi Event weekends are framed and shaded


Saturday, January 3, 2009
Candlelight Ski – Dawson Trail Campgrounds’ Ski Trails

Saturday, January 17, 2009
Sawmill Lake Tour – Quetico Trails
Register now with the Beaten Path Nordic Ski Club in Atikokan to take part in this one day adventure at Quetico’s Dawson Trail Campgrounds. This is a friendly individual challenge for you to enjoy the winter wilderness of Quetico Provincial Park.
Contact Chris Stromberg (807) 597-4503, e-mail or visit the website

Saturday, January 24, 2009
Centennial Snowshoe Trek – Dawson Trail Campgrounds
Join the Park Naturalist on a historic trek through the trails at Dawson Trail. Picture the figures of yore while marching through glistening snow. Contact the park for more details: (807) 929-3141ext.228 or 597-2735.

* Sunday, January 25, 2009
Snowshoe Building Workshop 807-929-3141 ext.228


Saturday, February 14, 2009
Trans-Canada Trail Ribbon Cutting
Join the Beaten Path Nordic Ski Club and Quetico Provincial Park’s Staff in a snow-shoe trek on the new section of trail. Catch the ribbon cutting of another leg of the Trans-Canada Trail to mark the occasion.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
The Chocolate Cup Challenge
Join The Beaten Path Nordic Trails on their annual cross country skiing event.
Fun for the entire family: Contact Janice (807) 597-1561 for event updates and further information.

Saturday, February 21
Frosty February Come on out to Dawson Trail and learn to love winter! Winter camping workshops, ice skating, bonfire, children’s snow sculpture, skiing, snowshoeing, igloo-building and traditional games like snow-snake will be held for your enjoyment. Sleigh rides will be offered pending permission. Contact the Park at (807)-597-2735 for event updates and further information


March 1st to 5th
International ski trip
USFS and Quetico Staff

Saturday, March 21, 2009
The Beaten Path’s 8th Annual Cross Quetico Lakes Ski Tour
Experience the beauty of Quetico’s winter wilderness with a friendly ski tour. Choose from a 35, 45, or 55 km tour and ski, mush or skijor across Quetico’s beautiful lakes. The tour is organized by the Beaten Path Nordic Trails in cooperation with Quetico Provincial Park.
Contact Chris Stromberg (807) 597-4503, e-mail or visit the website

Sunday, March 29, 2009
Ski to The Castle
A 50 kilometre ski across Clearwater and White Otter Lakes. Snowmobile assisted to help less experienced skiers. Contact Peter Burton (807)-597- 4306


*Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Quetico’s 100th Birthday Celebration
Cut the cake with Quetico Park’s staff. Meet and greet Gary and Joannie McGuffin, wilderness advocates and adventurers. View Kevin Callan’s latest film featuring Quetico. Join us in celebrating 100 years of wilderness preservation.

Saturday May 25th 2009
Annual Group Paddle down the Atikokan River
6 hour leisure paddle to celebrate the start of the canoeing season 807-597-4503


Saturday, May 16th, 2009
Official opening of the entry stations


Friday June 12th to July 13th
Hunter Island Loop Challenge
Self navigated 232 kilometre route to challenge your limits
Call for info 807-597-2735

Saturday, June 14, 2009
National Rivers Day
Celebrate the announcement of the all-Canadian fur trade route becoming the latest addition to the National Heritage River system. An evening film will be shown at the Teaching Place, Dawson Trail Campgrounds, depicting the voyageur era.

Saturday, June 20, 2009
Summer Solstice Paddle
Join the Park Naturalist and interior park staff traveling from French to Nym Lake under the light of the sun and moon! This event is weather permitting. To register or for more information, please call (807) 929-3141 ext. 228.

Sunday, June 21, 2009
National Aboriginal Day
Listen to legends from the peoples of the past and present. Young visitors can create their very own dream catcher and spirit name.

Tuesday June 30, 2009
Quetico Park’s Staff Reunion Kick-off
Meet and Greet
French Lake (Dawson Trail Campgrounds) *Quetico Alumni Reunion*
Call 807-597-5028 or 597-2735


Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Canada, Quetico Style
Join in the parade of canoes celebrating Canada’s birthday down the mighty Atikokan River.
Join as spectators or participators in XY Company’s “30km Pursuit marathon canoe race” Steep Rock Lake and up the Atikokan River.
Women’s Golf Tournament
Little Falls Recreation Centre *Quetico Alumni Reunion*

Thursday, July 2, 2009
Men’s Golf Tournament
Little Falls Recreation Centre *Quetico Alumni Reunion*
OMCRA 20km. marathon canoe race- French Lake (807)-597-2735

Friday, July 3 – Sunday, July 5, 2009
OMCRA Marathon canoe race- French Lake ( 2nd half)

Quetico Park’s Staff Reunion Weekend
Dinner Banquet Little Falls Recreation Centre *Quetico Alumni Reunion*
807-597-5028 or 597-2735 E-mail-

Saturday, July 4, 2009
Voyageur Canoe Races and Pow-wow/Fish fry
Race back in time paddling Voyageur canoes from French to Pickerel Lake and return. A shorter race route for the less experienced but all races should be rather competitive and adventurous!
Contact 807-597-5028 until May then 807-929-3141 ext.228

Sunday, July 5, 2009
Paddle Your Neighbour’s Canoe and Kayak Symposium
Ever wonder what a marathon canoe would be like to paddle? Want to try a sea kayak?
This a day at the beach with instructional clinics, exhibitions and demonstrations
Come on out and play in the water at Dawson Trail Campgrounds. Call (807) 929-3141 ext. 228 for further information. E-mail-

Fri.-Sat. July 17,-18 2009
Thunder Bay Dragon Boat Festival
USFS and Quetico Staff

Saturday, July 18, 2009
Parks Day
Welcome stargazers, amateur astronomers and nighthawks! Learn about the changes in the skies through time. Listen to the legends surrounding our native constellations.

Saturday, July 18, 2009
Triple P Triathlon
Come participate in a fun triathlon that includes paddling, pedalling, and pounding (trekking) Contact Julie Slack (807)-597-6871

Saturday, July 25 – Sunday, July 26, 2009
Souris River Canoe Challenge
Take on the challenge! This is a wonderful event to meet like-minded individuals enthusiastic about paddling and the wilderness of Quetico. Contact Keith and Arlene at (807) 597-1292.


Friday, July 31 – Monday, August 3, 2009
Arts in the Park Weekend
Discover your creative self and join us for a weekend of art in the park. Register for workshops in pine needle basket-making, watercolour, papermaking and finger-weaving. Join us in the official opening of our new lakeshore hiking and snowshoeing trail while taking in a natural art gallery exhibition. Catch the music of Jim ‘n’ I and other artists from the region.

August 8- 29 -Pictograph Gallery – Atikokan – Open Juried Art Exhibition
Local Artist competition inspired by Quetico’s centennial 807-597-4344

Saturday, August 8 – Sunday, August 9, 2009
*Centennial Canoe Race*
The return of a legendary cross Quetico marathon canoe race.
Stock canoes* self navigated*120 miles over lakes, portages, rivers, and creeks through Canada’s finest canoeing Park.
Register to participate in a race from French Lake to Prairie Portage, (over-nighting at Prairie Portage) and returning to French Lake the next day.
Call for info- 807-597-5028 until May then 807-9293141 ext. 228

Children’s orienteering workshop will be help on Saturday teaching map, compass and GPS skills. These newly-acquired skills will be tested the following day during an interactive scavenger hunt like Quetico has never seen before! For further information, please call (807) 929-3141 ext. 228.

August 21st, -22nd
Lake Superior Dragon Boat Race
USFS and Quetico Staff

September 19th 2009
“Quetico 100”
100 km. group road bike ride
Contact Earle Arnold 807-597-8776

Chuck Ryan

Canoe Races in Quetico Provincial Park

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Barrens

I’ve been thinking of canoeing or I should say, wilderness canoeing, lately. I’ve been trying to finish working on a trip report of my first short trip to Isabella Lake, Isabella River and the Island River in September 2007. The second short trip took me back in October 2007 to the Island River back to the dark colored pictographs to search for more pictographs on a rock in the river, then my 25 mile bike ride from the parking lot of Isabella Lake to Hog Creek where I would paddle into Perent Lake and eventually the Perent River and out of Isabella Lake.

Here is the link to the slideshow I put together shortly after the trip in 2007.

What I really have been thinking about is some sort of canoe trip further north. I might not get there this year, but hopefully soon. Many years ago I bought Robert Perkins video, Into the Great Solitude. Robert took a solo canoe for 72 days down the Back River. Well, last night I watched the video, again as well as another another canoeing video. I hadn’t watched this video for several years.

“It’s a great game, if you don’t weaken” – Robert Perkins.

I was also distracted by watching these short clips on the Elk River and the Thelon River.


Ordered my new camera lens...

from B & H Photo today. This was the lens I needed when I saw the caribou while paddling in the canoe in Wabakimi this past summer.

I will be taking this lens on future trips this coming season. I'll see how many canoe trips I'll get in.

Here are some of the trips I'm thinking of doing:

Mississippi River from the headwaters to Champlin, MN, approximately 450 miles.

Woodland Caribou Provincial Park

Wabakimi Provincial Park

I'm still in the pre-planning phase, so things could change.


Friday, December 12, 2008


A while back I had posted on a website some of the books I had that pertained to paddling and since I updated it I thought I would post it here. These are most of the paddling books. I have many more books that aren't on this list ,but they'll have to wait another day.

There are a couple books that I read that I borrowed that I can recall off the top of my head.
The Land of Feast and Famine was an outstanding read by Helge Ingstad and the other one I remembering reading over 10 years ago or so was The Last Wilderness by Peter Browning.
The List:

The Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America by Edwin Tappan Adney and Howard I. Chapelle

Lob Trees in the Wilderness, The Human and Natural History of the Boundary Waters by Clifford & Isabel Ahlgren

Distant Fires by Scott Anderson

How to Stay Alive in the Woods by Bradford Angier

Northern Sasktchewan Canoe Trips by Laurel Archer

Experience the Tradition- The First Fifty Years AuSable River Canoe Marathon

The Tradition Endures-Sixty Years of the AuSable River Canoe Marathon featuring the Races 1998-2007

By Water & Rail, A History of Lake County, Minnesota by Hugh E. Bishop

Narrative of the Artic Land Expedition to the mouth of the Great Fish River and along the Shores of the Artic Ocean in the years 1833, 1834, and 1835 by George Back

Two in a Red Canoe- Our Journey Down the Yukon by Megan Baldino and Matt Hage

Idleness, Water, and a Canoe –Reflections on Paddling for Pleasure by Jamie Benidickson

Stories in Log and Stone , The Legacy of the New Deal in Minnesota State Parks by David R. Benson

Boundary Waters Canoe Artea Volume 1 & 2 by Robert Beymer (1995 and 2006 editions)

A Paddler’s Guide to Quetico Provincial Park by Robert Beymer

Portage into the Past- by canoe along the Minnesota-Ontario Boundary Waters by J. Arnold Bolz

The Complete Snow Camper’s Guide by Raymond Bridge

Carefree Canoeing in Florida , A Guide to Trails and Outfitters on Florida’s Scenic Waterways by Brooksie and John Bergen

Artic Journal by Bern Will Brown

Artic Journal II- A Time for a Change by Bern Will Brown

Quetico and Beyound by Kevin Callan

A Guidebook for the Development of Marathon Canoe Racing Technique- Canadian Canoe Association

The Florida Keys Environmental Story, A Panorama of the Environment, Culture and History of Monroe County,. Florida

Ely Echos- The Portages Grow Longer by Bob Cary

Tales from JackPine Bob –Life in the Northwoods by Bob Cary

Root Beer Lady by Bob Cary

Voyage of a Summer Sun- Canoeing the Columbia River by Robin Cody
Black Spruce Journals- Tales of Canoe Tripping in the Maine Woods, the Boreal Spruce Forest of Northern Canada and the Barren Grounds by Stewart Coffin

Beyond the Paddle- A Canoeists’ Guide to Expedition Skills: Poling, Lining, Portaging and Maneuvering through Ice by Garrett Conover

Snow Walker’s Companion –Winter Camping Skills of the North by Garrett & Alexandra Conover
The Ax Book-The Lore and Science of the Woodcutter by Dudley Cook

Moving Waters by Sam Cook

Our Wounded Wilderness – The Great Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Story by Jim Cordes

Great Heart- The History of a Labrador Adventure by James West Davison and John Rugge

The Complete Wilderness Paddler- James West Davidson and John Rugge

Canoeing Michigan Rivers by Jerry Dennis and Craig Date

Indian Rock Paintings of the Great Lakes by Selwyn Dewney and Kennth E. Kidd

Paddling Nothern Minnesota by Lynne Smith Diebel

Sleeping Island, A Journey to the edge of the Barrens by P. G. Downes

A Paddler’s Guide to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area by Michael Duncanson

The St. Croix –Midwest Border River by James Taylor Dunn

Snowshoes by Sally Edwards & Melissa McKenzie

Paddling Minnesota- Falcon Guide

The Forest For The Trees , How Humans Shaped the North Woods by Jeff Forester

Canoeing a Continent- On the Trail of Alexander McKenzie by Max Finelstein

Paddling the Boreal Forest by Max Finkelstein & James Stone

Indian Creek Chronicles by Pete Fromm

Magic on the Rocks, Canoe Country Pictographs by Michael Furtman

A Love Affair with the U. P. by Cully Gage

Park and Recreation Structures by National Park Service

Logging Town , The Story of Grand Rapids, Minnesota

Building a Birthbark Canoe by David Gidmark

The Grand Portage Story by Carolyn Gilman

Building a strip Canoe by Gilpatrick

The Winter Camping Handbook by Stephen Gorman

A Death on the Barrens- A True Story by George James Grinnell

Lost in the Wild- Danger and Survival in the Northwoods by Cary J. Griffith

Canoeing and Kayaking-ACA- by Laurie Gullion

Discovering Eden, A Lifetime of Paddling Artic Rivers by Alex Hall

Mississippi Solo – A Memoir by Eddy L. Harris

Canoe Racing- The Competitors Guide to Marathon and Downriver Canoe Racing by Peter Heed and Dick Mansfield

A Year in the Maine Woods by Bernd Heinrich

The Northern Horizons of Guy Blanchet, Intrepid Surveyor, 1884-1966 by Gwyneth Hoyle

Canoeing North Into The Unknown-A Record of River Travel: 1874-1974 by Bruce W. Hodgins & Gwyneth Hoyle

The Boundary Waters Wilderness Ecosystem by Miron Heinselman

The Ocean Almanac by Robert Hendrickson

Canoeing North into the Great Unknown- A Record of River Travel: 1874 to 1974 by Bruce W. Hodgins and Gwyneth Hoyle

Tipis / Tepees / Teepees , History and Design of the Cloth Tipi by Linda A. HolleyPaddle-to-the-Sea by Holling Clancy Holling

The Years of the Forest by Helen Hoover

Paddlers Guide to the Sunshine State by Sandy Huff

Expedition Kayaking on Sea & Open Water by Derek C. Hutchinson

Canoeing Wild Rivers- A Primer to North American Expedition Canoeing by Cliff Jacobson
Expedition Canoeing-A Guide to Canoeing Wild Rivers in North America, Twentieth Anniversary Edition by Cliff Jacobson

Canoeing and Camping Beyond the Basics by Cliff Jacobson

Campsite Memories- True Tales from Wild Places by Cliff Jacobson

Boundary Waters Canoe Camping with Style by Cliff Jacobson

Canoeist- Scenarios for Serious Canoeist by Cliff Jacobson

The Canoe, A Living Tradition by John Jennings

Fur Trade and Exploration-Opening the Far Northwest 1821-1852 by Theodore J. Karamanski

Northern Sandscapes- Exploring Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Sand Dunes by Robin and Arlena Karpan

Afloat again, adrift: three voyages on the waters of North America by Andrew Keith

Going Inside- A Couples’ Journey of Renewal into the North by Alan S. Kesselheim

Daughter Father Canoe- Coming of age in the sub-arctic and other stories of Snowdrift River and Nonacho Lake by Rob Kesselring

Ketter Canoeing- Legends and Lore- compiled by Betty Ketter (The Canoe Lady)

The Florida Keys Paddling Guide from Key Largo to Key West by Bill Keogh

Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer

One Incredible Journey by Clayton Klein and Verlen Kruger ( Record Breaking 7,000 mile canoe across Canada with Verlen and Clint Waddell in 1971 (I also have the video)

Challenge the Wilderness- The Legend of George Elson by Clayton Klein

Cold Summer Wind II, 20 Years of Canoe Camping North of the 60 by Clayton Klein

Down from Basswood by Lynn Maria Laitala

Endurance-Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing

Our Historic Boundary Waters from Lake Superior to Lake of the Woods by Duane R. Lund

The Indian Tipi, It’s History, Construction, and Use by Reginald & Gladys Laubin

When All Hell Breaks Loose by Cody Lundin

98.6 , The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive by Cody Lundin

Canoeing the Churchill, A Practical Guide to the Historic Voyageur Highway by Greg Marchildon and Sid Robinson

Path of the Paddle by Bill Mason

Song of the Paddle by Bill Mason

I also have several videos by Bill Mason

Canoeing Canada’s Northwest Territories – A Paddler’s Guide by Mary McCreadie

Paddle Your Own Canoe by Gary and Joanie McGuffin

Where Rivers Run – A 6,000 mile Exploration of Canada by Canoe by Gary and Joanie McGuffin
True North by Elliott Merrick

-Minnesota Voyageur Trails – Minnesota DNR 1970/72

Freshwater Saga- Memoirs of a Lifetime of Wilderness Canoeing in Canada by Eric W. Morse

Fur Trade Canoe Routes/ Then and Now by Eric W. Morse

Charlotte’s Story by Charlotte Arpin Niedhauk

Sources of the River –Tracking David Thompson across Western North America by Jack Nisbet

Voyages- Canada’s Hertitage Rivers by Lynn E. Noel, Editor

The Voyageur’s Highway by Grace Lee Nute

The Voyaguer by Grace Lee Nute

Minnesota Geology by Richard W. Ojakangas and Charles L. Matsch

Florida’s Fabulous Canoe and Kayak Trail Guide by Tim Ohr and Pete Carmichael

North of Reliance – A Personal Story of Living beyond the Wilderness by Dave Olesen

A Wonderful Country, The Quetico-Superior Stories of Bill Magie by Dave Olesen

The Singing Wilderness by Sigurd F. Olson

Reflection from the North Country by Sigurd F. Olson

Listening Point by Siguard F. Olson

Runes of the North by Siguard F. Olson

Canoe Routes of Ontario – Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources

A Journal of a Mississippi River Canoe Adventure, It’s a Long Way for a Beignet by Jim and Carol Otremba

Dangerous River by R. M. Patterson (South Nahanni in the 1920’s)

Exploring the Boundary Waters- A Trip Planner and Guide to the BWCAW by Daniel Pauly

Thelon- A River Sanctuary by David F. Pelly

The Kazan- Journey into the Emerging Land –edited by David F. Pelly, Christopher C. Hanks
The Old Way North : Following the Oberholtzer-Magee Expedition

The North Shore, A Four Season Guide by Shawn Perich

All Things are Possible- The Verlen Kruger Story:100,000 Miles by Paddle by Phil Peterson, Sr.

Into the Great Solitude with Robert Perkins (Video) (Solo Canoe Expedition on the Back River)

One Man’s Wilderness- An Alaskan Odyssey by Sam Keith from the journals and photographs of Richard Proenneke

The Lure of Faraway Places, Reflections on Wilderness and Solitude by Herb Pohl & edited by James Raffan

Betsy and Saganaga; One Life, One Lake by Betsy Powell

Trouble Waters- The Fight for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness- Kevin Proscholdt, Rip Rapson and Miron L. Heinselman

Fire in his Bones – Bill Mason and the Canadian Canoeing Tradition by James Raffan

Rendezvous with the Wild The Boreal Forest by James Raffan

Canoeing Ontario’s River by Ron Reid and Janet Grand

Canoe Country Wilderness –Canoe Trails & Tales from the BWCA , Quetico and Beyound by William N. Rom, M.D.

Coke Stop in Emo – Adventures of a Long Distance Paddler by Alec Ross

Paradise Below Zero by Calvin Rutstrum

Voices of Pokegama by Ann K. Ryan

Early Loggers in Minnesota by J. C. Ryan

Early Loggers in Minnesota-Volume II by J. C. Ryan

Early Loggers in Minnesota-Volume III by J. C. Ryan

Rivers End- A Collection of Bedtime Stories for Paddlers- edited and compiled by Bill Sedivy

Canoeing with the Cree by Eric Severeid

Paradise Creek- A True Story of Adventure in the Canadian Wilderness by David Scott

A Dreamer’s Log Cabin by Laurie Shepherd

A History of Incredible Ely by John W. Somrock

Paddle the Amazon- The Ultimate 12,000 Mile Canoe Adventure by Don Starkell edited by Charles Wilkins
The Man Who Mapped the Arctic by Peter Steele

Crossing Antarctica –Signed by Will Steger on July 26, 1996 and Jon Bowermaster

Canoe Country Flora by Mark Stensaas

Muskeg, Mosquitoes and Moose- It Just Doesn’t Get Better Than This by Joyce Allene Stone

Voyager Country – The Story of Minnesota’s National Park by Robert Treuer

The Florida Keys: A History of the Pioneers Volume 1 by John Viele

The Florida Keys: True Stories of the Perilous Straits Volume 2 by John Viele

The Florida Keys: The Wreckers Volume 3 by John Viele

American Canoe Associations, Knots for Paddlers by Charlie Walbridge

Whitewater Rescue Manual by Charles Walbridge & Wayne A. Sundmacher, Sr.

The Streams and Rivers of Minnesota by Thomas F. Waters

Wilderness Rivers of Manitoba by Hap Wilson & Stephanie Aykroyd

Wilderness Seasons- Life and Adventure in Canada’s North by Ian and Sally Wilson

Wilderness Journey- Reliving the Adventures of Canada’s Voyageurs by Ian and Sally Wilson

Snow Caves for Fun and Survival by Ernest Wilkinson


Complete Guide to Building Log Homes by Monte Burch

Log Construction Manual by Robert W. Chambers

The Real Log Cabin , original text by Chilson D. Aldrich with expanded commentary by Harry Drabik

Logs Wind and Sun by Rex A. Ewing and LaVonne Ewing

Fireplaces by Jane Gitlin

Your Log House, 4th Edition by Vic Jansen

The Owner-Built Log House by B.Allan Mackie

Building with Logs by B. Allan Mackie

Notches of All Kinds, A book of timber joinery by B. Allan Mackie

Stonework by Charlie McRaven

Building with Stone by Charles McRaven

The Handbook of Canadian Log Building by F. Dan Milne

The Craft of Lof Building by Herman Phleps

The Log Home Maintenance Guide by Gary Schroeder

Timber Frame Joinery & Design Workbook

Timber Frame Joinery and Design Volume 2

Building the Alaska Log Home by Tom Walker


United States Air Force Search and Rescue Survival Training AF Regulation 64-4

U. S. Army Map Reading and Land Navigation Handbook by the Department of the Army

Wilderness Navigation by Bob and Michael Burns

GPS Land Navigation by Michael Ferguson

Map and Compass by Cliff Jacobson

Land Navigation Handbook by W. S. Kals

Be Expert with Maps and Compass by Bjorn Kjellstrom

GPS Made Easy by Lawrence Letham


Instinctive Shooting by G. Fred Asbell

Tree Stand Hunting by Paul Brunner

Giant Whitetails –A Lifetime of Lessons by Mary & Terry Drury

The Great American Bear by Jeff Fair

Deer-The Wildlife Series edited by Duane Gerlach, Sally Atwater & Judith Schnell

White tailed Deer, Ecology and Management by Lowell K. Hall

Mapping Trophy Bucks by Brad Herndon

Deer & Deer Hunting edited by Al Hofacker

Balance Bowhunting by Dave Holt

A Practical Guide to Producing and Harvesting White tail Deer by Dr. James Kroll

The Book of Primitive Archery by Jay Massey

The Bowyers Craft by Jay Massey

Black Bears by Bob McGuire

Aggressive White-tail Hunting by Greg Miller

Proving Whitetail Tactics by Greg Miller

Moonstruck by Jeff Murray

Black Bear Baiting & Hunting by Dr. Ken Norberg

For Bucks Only by North American Hunting Club

The Deer of North America by Leonard Rue

Hunting Rutting Whitetails by Gene Wensel


The Tractor Builders by John D. Culbertson

Guide to Hart-Parr, Oliver, and White Farm Tractors 1901-1996 by Larry Gay

Oliver Farm Tractor by T. Herbert Morrell & Jeff Hackett

Plows & Planting Implemenys by April Halberstadt

Field Guide to Farmell Tractors by Robert N. Pripps

Oliver Tractors-History of Oliver, Hart-Parr, Cockshutt & Cletrac Tractors by Robert N. Pripps

Oliver Tractors by Sherry Schaefer & Jeff Hackett

Everything I Know About Women, I Learned from my Tractor by Roger Welsch

From Tinkering to Torquing, A Bebinners Guide to Tractors & Tools by Roger Welsch

Tractor Trilogy- Old Tractors and the Men who Love Them, Busted Tractors and Rusty Knuckles, Love, Sex and Tractors by Roger Welsch

Old Tractors Never Die by Roger Welsch

How to Rebuild and Restore Farm Tractor Engines by Spencer Yost

Antique Tractor Bible by Spencer Yost



Sunday, November 30, 2008

I was sitting back thinking...

Well, I needed to go to Dallas, Texas for a few days last week. Where I needed to go weren't the nicest areas so my first impression of Dallas wasn’t much. I was glad to come home.

(Me-Wabakimi 08-21-08 on Day 12)

I’ve been sitting back thinking about ………….Wabakimi!

Over the holiday I’ve been doing some thinking for next season. Here’s what I came up with for sure…that I'm not sure!

I haven’t decided if I’m going to race canoes next year, or get back into some log building or what wilderness trips I will take. I will do a considerable amount of paddling even if I don’t race.

I do plan to work on my food plot on my property that I neglected this year. Since I missed most of the fall season due to work I hope to get out and do some bow hunting for both bear and deer next fall. I also rifle hunt with my father each year.

This week end I got out my overview map of Wabakimi Provincial Park and looked at it. I marked down some additional 13 topo maps I need to buy for some further planning. I know some of the guys I went to Wabakimi with last year want to go back a little further north.

They want to either paddle the Misehkow River or the Albany River. One of the guys wants to go in July and the other one wants to go in August. Right now, for me, my vote would be in August just in case I decide to do the AuSable Canoe Marathon again.

Thinking out loud….train ride out of Armstrong to Savant, ride to put in some where off 599, paddle north, cut over to the Misehkow, hit the Albany, fly out of Fort Hope.

If there is a big loop I would even consider doing it in a solo canoe. Still thinking….

I would like to go for a longer time, possibly 21 days or so. I think I want to leave the upper part of the Albany beginning at Osnaburgh Lake then paddle to James Bay for another day.

Here is some further information I reviewed this week-end.

Ken Hupila. Osnaburgh Lake to Fort Albany (four links) -Albany Journal # 1 and #2. Written by Andy Smyth.

Reach #1: Train from Nakina to Savant Lake settlement, truck ride to Jutten L; Savant L, Savant R; Jabez, Velos, McRae & E Pashkokogan Ls; Pashkokogan R, Osnaburgh L; Albany R through Atitkokiwan, Achapi, Miminiska, Petawanga, Kawitos & Eabamet Ls to Fort Hope. Reach #2: Eabamet R, Triangular L, Albany R; Abazotikichuan, Makokibatan, Washi & Teabeau Ls; Ogoki confluence and settlement; Albany R to Kenogami confluence, up Kenogami R, past Little Current confluence to Drowning confluence. Float plane to Nakina.

Canoeing Ontario's Rivers [Import] [Paperback] by Reid, Ron; Grand, Janet- I ordered this book from Amazon this week-end for .50 plus shipping.

I also ordered the following books to add to my library of paddling further north.

Measuring Mother Earth by Heather Robertson

Black Spruce Journals by Stewart Coffin

Lands Forlorn: A Story of an Expedition to Hearne's Coppermine River (2008)by George Douglas & Robert Hildebran

The Old Way North: Following the Oberholtzer-Magee Expedition by David Pelly

Well, time to sit back again and do some more thinking...before these books arrive!!!


Monday, November 17, 2008

Deer Hunting Season 2008

Don't see any antlers!

I’ve been so busy at work since September that I’ve seem to have miss the better part of the fall season. In fact I needed to go to Ft. Lauderdale for four days over the week-end before the deer season. I was concerned that I would possibly miss the deer opener. My father and I have a total of 85 acres together. I hunt with my father, his friend, Roger, from Ohio, and my step-mother’s brother, Gary.

Well, as the time grew near it looked like I would be able to go up north and hunt. A couple weeks earlier I was able to get up to my property and put up my tree stand, but that was the extent of the preparations. Since I got back into canoe racing this year I didn’t get up north but only a couple times and that was to race. I neglected my food plot that I put in a few years ago. The clover was still growing but so were the weeds. Normally in the spring I drag the site then after the weeds begin growing I kill them with a herbicide. I usually plant some annuals such as rape, turnips, chicory, etc. besides the clover.

This year the season opened one week later than usual. I drove up on Friday, 11-07-08, and raked the leaves off the trail leading to my portable tree stand. I then checked out the food plot and found a scrape and a couple rubs.

I took down my trail camera that I set up a few weeks earlier. I had it over looking a spot where my father had a deer feeder set up. There were only a couple days of pictures since my dad took the feeder down a couple days after I set up my camera. I only had some smaller deer and one small buck on the camera. My father had a trail camera set up in another area and had some pictures of some bigger bucks.

Saturday, 11-08-08

I woke up shortly before my alarm went off at 0400 am. When I went upstairs I could hear the wind chime outside making noise. I knew the wind had to be blowing hard for it to be making the noise it was making. I looked outside and besides the strong wind there was some snow on the ground. Definitely not the way I like the season to begin. The temperature was around 30 degrees but it would be much colder with the wind chill.

I like to have it calm and the leaves to be crunchy. I don’t mine if there is some snow but I don’t like the wet stuff. It gets very tiring having to constantly scan the woods for deer. I like to sit back and tune in to the surrounding and listen for the deer. I hunt from a tree stand and I hunt all day long so it can get tiring always having to be looking around.

I began the coffee and my oatmeal. I put the rest of my coffee in my thermos and sandwiches were made the night before.

I get up early because I don’t like having to rush around in the morning and I like to be on my stand around an hour or so before legal shooting, a half hour before sunrise.

I was out the door at 0530 am and it only takes me about two minutes to drive to where I park on our property. I parked and grabbed my hunting pack and my rifle at 0537 am. It took me six minutes to walk to my stand. It was 0558 am when I was up in my stand and ready to hunt. The snow was making sounds as it was hitting against the trees. The snow was also hitting my face causing a tingling or tickling sensation as it fell. The wind was blowing and there was no sign of any let up.

My watch said 0643 am when I looked off to my right. About 35 yards away I saw a doe and it appeared it was looking in my direction. Yep, it was! The doe looked forward and continued on its way after about one minute. It was now walking in a more open area of the woods so I couldn’t reach for my gun until it got past me. When it did I reached for my rifle and my lens cover fogged up. By the time I got the cover off and on target again I couldn’t get a clean shot due to all the trees in the way. I watched as the deer headed to my food plot and it got to about 10 yards from a shooting lane. It decided it didn’t want to cross any open area so it veered off further into the woods.

We can party hunt and I have three deer tags, so I would have liked to have taken the doe. It was a nice size. With the wind blowing I never heard the deer moving through the area. Five minutes later I heard a shot to my north. I thought it could possibly be my father, but I learned later it was further north of him, but with the strong NW wind the shot seemed much closer. The only other larger animal I saw in the morning was a Fisher as it ran in basically the same direction the doe had went earlier.

Around 0100 pm I was looking off to my right when I saw movement out of my peripheral to my left. I quickly turned and grabbed my rifle as the deer was running. I put the scope on it and shot it before I got a good look at its size. After I shot I realized it was a very small deer, a fawn. Of all my years hunting I’ve never shot a deer so small. I got out of my stand to go field dress it when I noticed it was a buck. Oh well, not much meat but it’ll taste good. I never even took a photo of it. It was a nice break to get off my stand to get out of the cold wind, move around to warm up.

Gary shot a good size spike buck and a doe. My dad never saw a deer which was unusual.

I told everyone about my small deer that I shot. My dad and I went to get it with the 4- wheeler. Once we brought the deer back to my dad’s I went in town and bought 2 more bonus licenses. We can buy a total of five licenses in our area. These two licenses wouldn’t be good until Monday.

For dinner we had venison chili with some Apple Crisp.

Sunday, 11-09-08

It was 21 degrees when I woke up at 0400 am. The wind wasn’t as bad as yesterday but it was about 10 degrees cooler.

I listened to some Black Capped Chickadees while I sat in my stand. The sun tried coming out today, but it quickly disappeared. It’s was 0954 am and I’ve only heard a couple shots.

There was a very light snow that fell on and off today.

I really started to get cold sitting on my stand at 0330 pm. It’s been a few years that I can remember being this cold. I needed to begin tightening and loosening my muscles to get some blood flowing again. I began to feel much better after a half hour.

I didn’t see any deer the whole day. Roger shot a buck fawn. We registered all the deer that we shot so far and dropped them off at Dave’s who is a butcher for a local supermarket in town. During the hunting season he takes time off of work and cuts up deer at his home.

Monday, 11-10-08

More high winds and the temperature was 22 degrees when I got up. I was the only one who went out this morning. Roger and his wife were leaving and going back home to Ohio today. My dad was going to see them off.

Around 0430 pm I heard a deer snorting to my SW. It was a ways from me and it snorted about eights times. Approximately 10 minutes later I heard a gun shot from the same area. I figured the hunter must have gotten this deer.

While I was looking in the direction of the snorting deer I saw the flag of another deer running from my food plot. Something appeared to have been scaring these two deer.

The temperature warmed up to 28 degrees today, but as soon as the sun went down it dropped to 23 degrees.

Driving back to my dad’s when I saw two good size does on the side of the road. One of them was very large.

Monday, 11-11-08

Now this is the type of morning I enjoy. Although it was 18 degrees out there was no wind and the leaves were crisp and crunchy. There was a heavy frost on my Suburban.

The trees were popping and snapping while I sat in my tree stand. It was 0615 am when I heard a deer walking toward my direction. It walked to about 30 to 35 yards away but I never could see it since it was still dark. The deer came by about 15 minutes to early.

My coffee tasted so good this morning while sitting on the stand. Although the actual temperature was cooler than the other three mornings it felt warmer because there was no wind.

I stopped hunting at 1050 am because I was going home. I walked through my food plot to check on the scrape that was being used as of Friday, but it hadn’t been used these past couple of days.

Wednesday, 11-12-08

My father called me tonight to tell me Gary shot a nice 6 point buck tonight. Gary had shot it off a stand I originally built on my 10 acre parcel in the mid-1990’s. I told my dad I would be coming up tomorrow and I planned to hunt in the afternoon.

Thursday, 11-13-08

I got to my dad’s on Pokegama Lake at 0130 pm. I hurried inside and put on my hunting clothes. I parked the Suburban by 0150 pm. I was on my stand and ready to hunt at 0205 pm.

The temperature was in the low 40’s. I don’t remember what time it was but I heard the deer snorting in the same area as last Monday. This time it snorted three times. It looks like the deer wasn’t shot like I thought it was.

I didn’t see any deer this afternoon. My dad saw two large does on our private road when he driving out to go home.

Friday, 11-14-08

My alarm went off at 0420 am. I was on my stand at 0545 am. The temperature was 34 degrees and cloudy. The leaves on the ground were damp from the rain last night. It was supposed to have snowed after midnight, but it only rained.

There ended up being snow flurries on and off all day. Some of the snow was more like sleet. The wind was once again blowing hard all day. Normally the deer don’t like moving in the high winds and it appeared to be that way today. Nothing was moving.

My feet were cold most of the afternoon. I needed to move my feet around in my pac boots to get some blood flowing to warm them up.

Saturday, 11-15-08

I grew up in Michigan from about the age of 5 to 18. Well, today is the opening of the deer hunting season in Michigan. The opener is always on the 15th. Just thought I would throw that in.

Again, I was up at 0420 am. The temperature was 26 degrees and the wind was still blowing strong. There was a light dusting of snow on the ground.

Walking to my stand I heard a deer walking off away from me as I walked down one of my trails. When my father and I bought our property we made trails around the circumference of the property. Most of these trails are wide enough to drive vehicles on. I was on my stand ready to hunt at 0550 am. Today I was on my stand 50 minutes before legal shooting time. Fifteen minutes later, I heard that deer snorting again. It snorted 4 or 5 times. It sounded a little closer but it was because the wind was blowing toward me. There was some snow flurries in the morning but it didn’t amount to anything.

Walking from my stand I saw a large deer north of where my east and west trails come together on the northern edge of my south 20. I couldn’t see the front half of the deer, only it’s flag and rear end that appeared very large.

The wind was constant most of the morning but it died down some in the afternoon to only some large gust.

Today seemed like a long day on the stand probably because I was pretty cold and didn’t see any deer.

It was 26 degrees when I got back to my Suburban.

Sunday, 11-16-08

I planned to only hunt the morning. I planned to start my tractor and then take out the battery afterward before driving home.

The alarm went off at 0420 am. It was 22 degrees and it was calm out. I felt good about this morning, but I had good feeling most of the other mornings despite the winds.

There was a light snow falling although I could see the moon in a hazy sky. There was more snow on the ground than last night. It was crisp out so I should be able to hear any deer walking.

After sunrise the wind started to pick up ever so gently. It was quiet out except for the birds and the falling snow.

It was 0745 am when I heard a woodpecker near by. I can’t see him but he’s working on a dead tree.

The light snow has started to cover my clothes. This was another nice morning to hang out in a tree stand and have my morning coffee. I didn’t see any deer this morning but it was a very nice morning. Again, one of the reasons was the lack of wind blowing.

I don’t think I’ll be able to get out to hunt again this year, but while I sat on my stand I told myself next year I will prepare and plant my food plot; put up some new stands; hunt some more, including bow hunting that I wasn’t able to do this year.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Started the Toys

A few days after I posted my Wabakimi trip report I became very busy at work. I worked some very long days and put in some long stretches without a day off. I was finally able to get up north and put up my tree stand for deer hunting this past week-end.

I started a new permanent stand for my dad and he’ll finish it up later. He was also working on another enclosed tree house to view the wildlife.

Besides working on the tree stands I was able to start my toys before winter set in. I have an Oliver 1650 tractor and a 1977 Ford LTL9000 logging truck with a Hood 7000 knuckleboom loader that use for log building. Since I got back into canoe racing this year I didn’t do any log work. Both pieces of equipment started up on the first try.

It was nice to be back up in the woods on my property. I put out a trail camera at my dads deer feeder to see what size deer are in the area. The problem is I probably won’t get back up to retrieve my camera until after the start of the hunting season.

My tree stand with camo around it.

Deer scrape on the edge of my food plot

The start of my dads new tree stand

Photos below were taken a couple years ago.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I gave my permission to use one of my photos...

I forgot to mention, but last week I was contacted by Adam from that someone had inquired about one of my photos. I gave Adam my contact information to give to her.

Sara from Elite Photography, ,called me and she wanted my permission to use one of my photos for a book, Been There, Done That, that she wrote and is about to go to print. There is a section on the BWCA so she needed a photo. She told me she had hoped to get to the BWCA this summer. but never made it. I gave her my ok. Good luck with your book. Sara, if you have time to read my blog, let me know when the book is ready and I will buy a copy of the book, but only if you sign it.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Still working on my Wabakimi Trip Report...

I still have been working on my Wabakimi trip report. I've finished typing up the first draft from my journal. So far the report is 57 pages long. Yes, its has more detail that I thought it was going to have. I guess I'm more detail oriented than most, due to my occupation.

Here are some more facts about the trip:

Distance: 231.5 km (145 miles)

Portages: 44

Swifts paddled: 23

Swifts / Rapids lined or tracked: 9

Pull overs: 3

I haven't posted all the photos that I want to post on my other blog from the trip ,so I don't have a number on them.

This past week I've been going to the health club to lift weights more now that I'm winding down from the competitive paddling. I think I only went paddling twice, Monday and Saturday, for two hours each day. I've been cycling and running, too.


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Back on the Rum River over the week-end!!

It had been over a month since I was in my C-2 racing canoe. Ed Arenz and I paddled with some of the other racers on the Rum River this past Saturday, 09-06-08. It was a beautiful day to paddle. The skies were sunny and blue. The above photos were taken on Saturday.
On Sunday, 09-07-08, Dave Dahl, Io Harberts, Ed Arenz and I were the only ones paddling on the Rum today as a group. We did see Steve Yurista and Natasha Canfield paddling by themselves. Most of the people who paddled yesterday were going to ride bikes this morning. Today's weather was the opposite of yesterday. Cooler temperatures, cloudy skies and we were caught in a brief cool rain. We paddled for 1:55 yesterday and today's paddle was 2 hours and five minutes. The two photos below were taken on Sunday.
This was the first time I've paddled on the Rum River since May or June.

I've still been working on my Wabakimi narrative and I've been uploading some photos into my other blog that I took on the trip. I estimate there will be 200-300 photos once I'm done. I'm up to Day 9 of the narrative. I've basically have been typing my narrative directly from my journal. Once I'm done I think I'll have to shorten it.
Chuck Ryan

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

CIIcanoe Canoes Wabakimi

Here is the link where I will post my Wabakimi trip report and photos when the report is done.

CIIcanoe Canoes Wabakimi

Chuck Ryan

Monday, September 1, 2008

Getting back to normal...stayed home for the Holiday week-end

Wabakimi Lake, Wabakimi

I decided to stay around home this holiday week-end instead of going up north to Grand Rapids. I’ve been gone to Michigan or Canada for most of the past month. I missed sleeping in my own Tempur-Pedic bed.

This past week I was able to get back on track with my work-outs. I got back home from our Wabakimi canoe trip on Sunday, 08-24-08. I took Monday off from any exercise, but started back on Tuesday. I paddled in my J-193 racing canoe on the Mississippi River for two hours and 15 minutes. There were some small waves and it took me a couple minutes to feel comfortable in the canoe after spending two weeks in a Souris River tripping canoe. It felt nice to feel the speed of my canoe, again.

On Wednesday, I went to LifeTime Fitness and worked out for an hour on the LifeFitness cross trainer machine; then I did some abs, back work and legs.

Thursday, it was back to paddling on the river again. It was only for one hour and 55 minutes, but I did an interval workout.

On Friday, I got out my Mt. Bike and did an hour and a half ride.

Saturday, I paddled for 3:30, went cycling for 1:31 and followed it up with an hour run in the park.

Sunday I just went for a two hour paddle.

Today, Monday, 09-01-08, I got out early for a 2:25 paddle. Then a 21 mile bike ride. I even went to the health club and lifted weights for my whole body. I lifted real light weights just enough to say I did something.

Last night and today I’ve been writing up my trip report for the Wabakimi canoe trip. I needed to take a break from that so that’s the reason for this posting. I just started day four of the narrative and I’m on page 18. This is the first draft. I’m still debating on how detailed I want to be.

I’m pretty sure that I’m going to put the complete narrative on its own blog with photos. Last year I wrote up a long trip report on my Quetico trip and posted it on a website. When I posted all the photos it threw the margins out of whack. I had to have the webmaster for the site correct the problem. I’m not going to go through that again and the fact that the site isn’t geared toward people paddling in Wabakimi.

Chuck Ryan

Monday, August 25, 2008

Back from Wabakimi

I’m back from Wabakimi! The Otter couldn’t pick us up as scheduled, because of the high winds, so we came out one day later. I got home last night (08-24-08). The Otter is an amazing aircraft. I’ve flown on Beavers before, but the Otter has so much more power.

I had a good time. We saw one moose and one Woodland Caribou. It was everyone’s first time seeing a Woodland Caribou in the Wabakimi. Wabakimi is a boreal forest and where we went was very rugged and remote. We encountered a little of everything- small lakes, big lakes, strong / high winds, no wind, fast water, lining and tracking canoes, portaging (short and long). The weather was great for the most part. We encountered a little rain. I’ve never eaten as many blueberries on a canoe trip. This area is covered with blueberries.

I plan to do some type of trip report, but it will be a while. I’m behind in everything at home due to my trip to Michigan for the AuSable Canoe Marathon and this trip to Wabakimi. I will probably put it on a separate blog and link to it from my blog.

I took about 1,000 photos, so I will include some in the trip report.

Chuck Ryan

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Leaving in a few hours for Wabakimi

Pete Sukontaraks will be here in the morning to pick me up along with his canoe and pack he left here last Sunday. We will stay in Thunder Bay on Friday night. Saturday we will drive 150 miles further north to Armstrong to make our final preparations. The train ride to the put-in isn't until early Sunday morning. See my post a couple days ago, Wabakimi Update, for the itinerary and to the maps of our route.

I'm looking forward to the two week paddle. On Sunday, 08-23-08, we fly out of the park.

The water levels in the park have been high all year long. Here is a link to Canadian Canoe Routes ( about the Wabakimi water levels

Here is what someone else said on another forum who just got out of the park about the water levels.

"Based on our experience, you are taking the trip in small bites. We only travelled 3 days and two of the days were 16 and 14 miles and with the portage challenge, were plenty far for us each day.

Dave from Virginia was a great help giving us tips and advice before we left. He was right on about a lot of things. He will be a great member of your group.

It did rain on us every day exept one, and most were 15 minute showers off and on, until our last night where it rained all night raising concern that our float plane would be late, but the weather changes on a dime up there, both according to Dave and our experience as well.

Stock up on beverages and gas while taking 527 north from Thunder Bay. Its a 150 miles with no services.

And if you are taking the train, it can be late. Have someone call VIA early in the AM to find out the status of the train. Our train was 1.25 hours late, but the train last Sunday didn't show up until 1 PM....5 hours late. Have an excellent trip!

Water levels are at near record highs. We saw islands under water with trees surrounded by water. Some portages were inaccessible as the high water made the risk of getting sucked into rapids too great, so we had to bushwhack in some spots to get around rapids.The bugs are not bad, the two of us went through less than one can of bug spray. Mosquitoes are thick at dusk. Enjoy your trip..."

Here is our itinerary again.

Maps are under the other post if you're interested.

Chuck Ryan

Start of the 2008 AuSable River Canoe Marathon

Here is a link to the start of this years race. Bill Briggs and I were in canoe #75. I see Bill with his light colored hat in the bow of the canoe at 1:09. Then at 1:12 & 1:15 on the video you can see us (canoe #75) in about the middle of the screen. Then at 1:34 the announcer says our names.

Chuck Ryan

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

1949 Mando-Aquatennial Canoe Derby Brochure

Here is the brochure I got from Gene Jensen's brother just before I went to Michigan to do the marathon. It was a PDF file and I couldn't post it.

Matt Ahonen found my blog and read about the brochure that I had and offered to help me. Matt also told me his grandfather, Will Ahonen, was in this race.

Here is some information from of a couple e-mails from Matt which he gave me permission to post.

"My grandfather raced from Bemidji to Minneapolis in the late 40's early 50's and ended up taking second to Estes and Jensen. They had a canvas canoe and Estes and Jensen were in a racing canoe so they didn't stand a chance. I am not sure who it was, but they passed my grandfather while one of them had their feet up in the bow peeling an orange. "

Update: "One thing about the race, my dad isn't sure what place they finished, but he doesn't think it was second."

"My grandfather was Will Ahonen and his partner was Royal "Jake" Oyster. Jake had his hand slammed in gate by a bull a couple days before the race so he had a tough paddle. My grandfather was born in Winton and then moved to Grand Rapids to work at the U of M Ag School as a herdsman."

"I am 99.9% certain that my grandpa is in the stern on the 13 canoe in the foreground of the picture on the third page. "


Matt Ahonen

Moorhead, MN

Thank you Matt for your help and the information on your grandfather.

Chuck Ryan

Monday, August 4, 2008

Wabakimi Update

I leave this Friday, 08-08-08, for a two week wilderness canoe trip to Wabakimi Provincial Park.

The park sees considerably less people that Quetico.

I’m going with three other guys who I’ve never met until yesterday. Pete Sukontaraks, from Kansas, stopped by my place and dropped off his canoe and pack. He needs to take care of some business in the area before he picks me up on Friday.

Pete and I will drive up to Thunder Bay and visit Ostrum’s and hook up with Dick Beamish from Maryland. On Saturday we will drive up to Armstrong, Ontario where we will meet Dave Phillips. Dave is from Virginia. Dave is already on a trip in Wabakimi . He’s on the Wabakimi Project.

If the weather is favorable he will fly back to Armstrong on Saturday. Our trip begins on Sunday.

Earlier this year, Dave and Pete did a trip to Quetico. I believe it was two weeks. Then Dave immediately went to the Woodland Caribou for a solo trip.

I was planning on doing a solo trip to the Woodland Caribou toward the end of June, but I decided to do the AuSable Canoe Marathon.

We take the train to our put-in, paddle for two weeks, then fly out.

Here is a little info:

Kopka Waterway Park: Adjoining Wabakimi’s southern boundary, the Kopka is a picturesque river of whitewater and scenic waterfalls, interspersed with sizeable lakes, which terminates at Lake Nipogon.

Brightsand Waterway Park: An excellent canoeing river, the Brightsand adjoins Wabakimi Park (and the Allanwater River) from the south, and is accessible from the Graham Road, which runs north from Highway 17 near Upsala.

VIA Rail will transport passenger’s equipment and canoes along the Canadian National Railway line (at the south end of the park). Contact VIA Rail Canada 888-842-7245to get the latest on train schedules and procedures. ARMSTRONG STATION TO ALLANWATER BRIDGE SIGNPOST STOP. VIA Rail currently offers service from Armstrong westbound and eastbound three days per week.

The summers of Wabakimi are hot and dry. The average July daily temperature is 18.4C (65.1F). By contrast, the winters in the Armstrong area are cold and clear with an average temperature in January of -20.4C (-4.7F).Canoeing season is from mid-May until mid-September. Early and late season canoeists may experience widely variable weather, from summer-like conditions to snow showers, with afternoon temperatures typically less than 15C (60F).

Visitors to Wabakimi must be fully prepared for independent wilderness travel. Emergency assistance may be available only by attracting aircraft in the area. Make sure that you include in your pack a complete first aid kit in the event of a mishap. Whitewater canoeing skills are necessary on some routes.

Canoe Route Caution:
Wabakimi Park is a big area. Not all canoe routes are maintained and some areas receive less frequent maintenance than others. Note that maps and park information may be wrong for a variety of reasons. Campsites and portages are not signed. Natural circumstances may have changed the configuration of waterways, landscape features and portage routes. There are no signs showing the location of portages in the park, and trail conditions may vary considerably. On some routes and portages, navigation can require skill with map and compass. Canoeists travel these water routes and follow the route descriptions at their own risk. Additional information on waterway and portage conditions can be obtained from outfitters in the Wabakimi area.

Canoe Trip Itinerary:
The plan should have a description (color/ make) of your canoes, tents, vehicles and vehicle locations. In the event of an emergency, the trip plan information can be forwarded to the Ontario Provincial Police detachment in Armstrong (phone 807-583-2394).

Wild Fire:
Wild fires play an integral role in the life cycle of the Boreal forest. Wabakimi Provincial Park has a wilderness wild fire management philosophy. You may be traveling in areas where wild fires are not suppressed. Your safety and well being may depend upon your ability to assess potential respiratory or visual problems associated with thick smoke, ash and haze, as well as your selection of travel routes to avoid narrow waterways and portages near fires. Check with the Ministry of Natural Resources office or your outfitter regarding the status of wild fires in the park and the fire weather indices. Consider wild fire contingencies during the planning of your trip.

Thunder Storms:
Severe summer thunderstorms are common in Wabakimi, with lightning and strong winds being a particular hazard. In an approaching storm, get off the water and avoid prominent exposures and tall trees.

***Snow and Wind Damage Update
While most visitors to Wabakimi will not require a snow shovel, nobody should be surprised by a late season snow squall. Last fall took this concept to new depths. On October 24, 2001, about 18" of heavy, wet snow fell in the park followed by high winds. This storm caused extensive blowdown over a very large area. Work crews are being planned for spring and summer portage maintenance. The potential impact of this storm on campsite and portage conditions should be factored into all trips. Watch for 'snagged' tops and sweepers, weakened and leaning trees, and be prepared for some portage challenges. Be aware of the potentially increased forest fire hazard associated with having new fuels at ground level.
The park office and your outfitter will be able to provide additional information on specific areas.

Barry Simon,
“We use Souris river 18' kevlars into Wabakimi. The reconnaissance efforts for these canoe last 12 weeks each year. Sure they get scratches and see all sorts of moving water, lining, hard landings etc. Make sure you do not mind wet feet exits and ports. Wabakimi is a boreal forest with many blow downs and muskegs to walk through. Solitude is un-believable. Portages are nothing like BWCA or Quetico since Wabakimi is mostly a pool and drop of no more than 100m across the entire length of the park. At most you will see a short cliff of 8m but then flattens out to the next lake. “


“I've taken several trips into train from Armstrong and the other from Savant Lake on the western side. I paddled out the first time, and came out by float plane the 2nd. Outfitting services are very limited and they take advantage of that (read:$$$$). “”The park itself is still very primitive and there were several times we had to cut our way thru the "portage". The 2nd time, I was doing a survey for the MNR so I had a decent map...but the first time in, the map I had from the outfitter looked like it was scribbled on toilet paper while sitting on the throne.””Campsites are limited and very primitive...there were several times I wished I had packed a weedwhacker .” ”Fishing: The good news is, there are sooooo few people in there, those fish act like they've never seen a lure. The bad news is there are no smallmouth if that's your fish of choice....too far north to breed or something. You'd have to "settle" for as many Walleye as your arms can stand pulling in :-).”

“I think the biggest difference between W and Q is ACCESS. In this respect, an outfitter can be a big help. They were very helpful in arranging our train pickups....very early from the east side (6 am)....very late from the west side (10 pm). “”First night coming in from the west side (Savant Lake) was tricky....its a class V put-in from the train...straight down the 55 degree grade from the built up train tracks to the water....and in total darkness. We actually got an overnight booking at a fish camp off the tracks located on Lake ??? (I'll have to look this one up)...and the proprietor was waiting for us at the mile marker to help us off the train at 10:30 pm. Spent the night in a very cozy fish cabin and walked all of 50 yards to the lake put-in the next morning. East side pickups are much easier from Armstrong. Pickup is early morning and, tho the put-in is still class V, at least you can see where you're going.””The next biggest difference is in campsites. No great Fisher Maps w/ the little red dots showing four-star campsites. There are much fewer campsites, and when you find one, grab it quick....we made a mistake bypassing one at 5 pm thinking another will be around the corner and didn't find one until after 11pm... in the the rain...ugly night.””I hope I don't put anyone off going to Wabakimi by these was a totally fantastic experience. Very different from "The Q" in that it is a HUGE park and you are much more ALONE. We didn't see another party the whole time we were in. When a float plane picked us up, we were told there were only 50-some people in the park....AWESOME. Extra caution should be observed in everything you is NOT just around the corner and you probably won't see another person for days.”


“I have been to both parks. WCPP I have paddled with Jerry R and agree with his assessment for the ingress and egress. I just got back from my second tour of Wabakimi doing survey and portage clearing for a project that a gentleman by the name of Phil Cotton is coordinating. I am doing the physical mapping of the canoe routes as the product of our work. Both parks are great but Wabakimi is more remote as far as access is concerned. There are a couple of YMCA groups out of Ely that have been in there this year and are planning to make Wabakimi an annual trip due to the fact the Quetico and BWCA are too crowded. One way to enjoy Wabakimi is to train in and paddle out. This can be done in a 12 day trip out of Allan Water to Caribou Lake. The further north of the Ogoki River watershed you go, the less people you will see thus flying in is a great option and paddle out to Caribou lake works well. Mattice Outfitters can help you out here. As for WCPP, good option as well but I wont re-state Jerry’s thoughts since he is bang on. Goldseekers is an excellent option especially with an overnight bunk stay before heading out. Great shuttle service if you need them.”

Here is our itinerary:

Follow the red line on the maps.


Thursday, July 31, 2008

61st AuSable River Canoe Marathon

Well, I had a very good time in Michigan. I had a great canoe partner, Bill Briggs, and two excellent pit crew people, Fred Rayman and Chris Gerwing.

Bill and I finished the marathon with a time of 16:20:17 which was good enough for 34th place. Seventy-six teams started the race and 66 teams finished. For those who don't know, this is a 120 mile canoe race that starts at 9 pm and the racers need to complete the race within 19 hours. There are several check points along the course and the racers must pass these within the cut off times.

Last Wednesday, 07-23-08, I drove up to Kjell Peterson and Rosie’s place in Duluth where I would pick up Bill, Fred and Chris. I arrived about ten minutes to nine in the morning. Bill, Fred and Chris arrived about 8:30 am and they were in the back yard eating donuts. I declined the offer.

We didn’t stay at Kjell and Rosie’s too long before heading east. I hadn’t seen Chris since 2003. I listened to the other guys talking about earlier canoe races as we drove down the road. We eventually made it to Gaylord where we stopped for dinner before driving the final hour or so to Grayling.

We pulled into Grayling at the Woodland Motel where we would be staying until the start of the race.

Thursday morning we drove to a restaurant in town and had breakfast before heading over to the race office to check in. We met Io Harberts there at 8 am. Io had driven all night to get to Grayling and had only a couple of hours of sleep when she met us at the mini-mall.

We planned to paddle the Mio pond and through the cuts after we were done checking in at the race office. I purchased a couple of t-shirts. We also received our race packet and one of the items was a nice poly t-shirt with the word competitor on it.

We went back to our motel and got ready for the paddle. We then drove down to Faye’s Motel where Io Harberts and Joe Dunaisky were staying. Also, at Faye’s we met Becky, Joe’s wife, and Dan. Becky and Dan were going to be Io and Joe’s pit crew.

I went in the office at Faye's Motel and introduced myself to Sandy who is one of the owners along with her husband, Keith. I had spoken to Sandy earlier about rooms, but she was already filled up. Faye’s Motel sponsored several teams in the marathon this year. Sandy took my name and e-mail address to add to her list for next year for possible sponsorship.

We all drove to Mio pond. I had downloaded the race course from Kate Ellis’s GPS earlier and I was interested in seeing how the waypoints / route corresponded to the cuts and the stump field.

Joe Dunaisky also had downloaded the same route off Kate’s GPS. I immediately noticed something wrong once we started paddling. Joe told me he was following the route and my GPS told me I needed to be somewhere else on the pond. It seemed that we were on a track that paralleled Joe's track, but the track was off at least 30 yards or more.

We paddled upstream on the Mio pond from the Camp 10 Road up through the cuts. While Joe watched his GPS, Io kept telling us what some of the landmarks were to look for the cuts. We found the very first cut in Mio pond to be blocked with trees and branches. We paddled back down through the cuts and then we continued on toward the dam through the stump field. We paddled for and hour and a half.

Last night Io told me the Minnesota Governor was going to be giving a speech at noon at the start location of the race and he wanted to meet some of the Minnesota paddlers. Well, I wasn’t going to make it in time to do that today since it was already 11:40 am.

Bill and I decided to paddle the first section of the AuSable River from the start location down to Burton’s Landing. This would be about a 50 minute paddle. This would give Bill a flavor of the first part of the AuSable River for the race Saturday night

We put in the river where we would start the river portion on Saturday night. We paddled a short distance and paddled right past the Governor who was still speaking. We paddled down the course when we came upon the end buoy for the sprint. This buoy was a couple minutes downstream. The sprit determines the racers placement in the LeMans start of the race. We practiced a few times going around the buoy. There were a few other people who were practicing their buoy turns as well. One team that I recognized was Jeff DeFeo and Carina Peritore.

We saw several recreational canoes that were floating down the river. The last time I was here in 2000 I saw many recreational canoes, but most of the people were partying while floating down the river. It reminding me of the Apple River in Wisconsin except the people used aluminum canoes instead of inner tubes.

Fred and Chris were standing at an area just before Burton’s Landing. They told us this would be where they would stand for our first pit.

Later that afternoon we watched the sprints. I also got the canoe jigged. We watched some of the teams begin their sprint and then we walked down to the end buoy to see how the Michigan teams were negotiating the buoy turn. What we saw was that the paddlers would slow down slightly as they approached the buoy. Both paddlers would paddle on the same side before the bow paddler put in a cross bow draw. Once the bow of the canoe was behind the buoy the bow paddler needed to plant a post right in the river bed to keep the canoe from being pushed downstream in the fast current. While the bow paddler was doing the cross bow draw the stern paddler did a rudder. When the bow paddler kept the post planted in the river bed, the stern paddler does about three pushes with his paddle against the river bed to get the canoe parallel with the current before both paddlers could begin the upstream paddle.

Later in the evening my brother-in law drove his motorcycle up from Flint to see me and watch some of the sprints. I used to live in Flint and a couple of the surrounding towns when I was 5 years old to the time I graduated from Flushing in 1974. I then moved to my grandparents lake home on Hubbard Lake (Spruce, Mi) for one year. I went one year of college in Alpena before moving to Minnesota in 1975.

Prior to going to the Lone Tree restaurant to have something to eat at around 9 pm we spoke to Mark Rimer who makes the Gilles racing canoe. He told us and showed us some of his improvements on his design from his earlier models. While at dinner Wayne Koppa stopped by to give us the lettering for my canoe with our sponsors name, Grayling Outdoor Products. . This was the same company that sponsored Al DuBois and me in 2000.

Friday was our day to do the sprint. We were schedule to do our sprint at 2:25 pm. We didn’t do any more paddling prior to our sprint. I had visualized several times what we needed to do to get the canoe around the buoy. In my mind it went pretty smooth.

In the morning we stopped by the business, Grayling Outdoor Products, and spoke to one of the owners, Sharon, for a while. We had a nice visit with her.

We then went over to Faye's Motel and spoke to Io and Joe. I wanted to speak to Dan who was part of their pit crew and he was very knowledgeable about the GPS. I explained to him the problem with following a different course than Joe and Io while paddling on the Mio pond. Dan said they had the same problem a couple days ago. He told me to turn off my electric compass. Dan also changed a couple pages on my GPS that I wouldn't need during the race. Dan told me the GPS should work fine now.

Bill and I paddled upstream of the start location of the sprint for a little warm-up. Well, it was just about our time to go so we moved up to the start line. Two volunteers held onto our canoe while they went over the rules for the sprint. Once the team already on the course was in sight coming back upstream they would start us. They told us the water level had dropped about two inches from the night before. Next they told us to look to our left where the person talking our picture was located.

We were off paddling downstream. It wasn’t long before the buoy was in sight. It was time to put in action what I had visualized. I moved us closer to the right bank after we passed the tree that was sticking out on the right. I already had Bill paddling on his right and then I moved to the right so we were paddling same sides. Bill put in a cross while I ruddered. Then I pushed off three times to get the stern around while Bill had his paddle stuck in the river bed on a post. Now all we had to do was paddle up the shallow, fast current. We had a time of 2 minutes and thirty-four seconds on the downstream portion. Our total sprint time was 6:39:75. We ended up in 27th position with our sprint time. I was very pleased with our sprint.

Friday evening was the paddlers pre-race dinner. Several of us from Minnesota sat at the same table. I sat next to Joe Dunaisky and across from me was Keith, Sandy's husband and co-owner of Fay's Motel. I met Neil LeBlanc, from Massachusetts, who sat diagonally from me. His partner, Brenda Bowie sat down the table across from Io Harberts.

Saturday at 9 pm the race would start, but there were things that needed to be done today. We got a few things from the store prior to going to the pre-race meeting. After the meeting our canoe needed to be inspected by the US Coast Guard for our approved PFDs, whistles and flares. My canoe was left in a secure area where we then couldn't get the canoe until 0830 pm, a half hour before the start of race.

We went back to the motel after eating lunch and after picking up some items at Ace Hardware. Both Bill and I prepared our drink bottles and food for the entire race then rested. I never did fall a sleep, but I was feeling pretty good. I actually got a couple good nights sleep since being in Grayling so that helped.

Earlier in the day we drove by the start location of the race and we saw many people. When it was time to leave for the race we drove to an area away from the start location and parked my Suburban so Chris and Fred could get a jump on the crowd and head to our first pit location.

We hung around the general area where we needed to line up in reverse order of our sprint time to be introduced to the crowd. They would start to introduce the paddlers at 0715 pm. We met several of the other paddlers and other people while waiting.
Al Widing, Sr and his partner were introduced right before us. He's not the person you really want to follow because he runs the length of the board walk and he's a crowd favorite. Bill and I were introduced next and we walked down to the board walk along the river. I actually was looking down while walking on the uneven board walk. It would be a little embarrassing to trip. The crowd gave their applause and I saw Sandy and Keith at the end of the board walk who told us both, good luck!

Next we walked a few blocks away to where our canoes were staged. It still wasn't time to get the canoe so we sat around and talked while observing the crowd.

It was now 0830 pm and the security guards weren't allowing the paddlers to get the canoes. The paddlers were getting frustrated after 5 minutes when the guards still wouldn't allow entry. Finally a committee member came over and got things moving.

I turned on the GPS that was already attached to the foot brace of the canoe. We carried the canoe down to the street and placed it on the line where we needed to start from.
I warmed up by running a little prior to the start. The canoes are on the ground and the paddlers can't touch or grab the canoe before the gun goes off. Once the gun goes off the paddlers grab their canoe up off the street and begin sprinting about a quarter mile to the river. Dave Timmerman and his partner were in the row behind us. I told Dave not to run me over. Fred Rayman told the story when he raced with Dave that Dave ran exceptionally fast to the river.

The gun went off for the start of the race. All that waiting and now we were on. There were two teams that caught us just as we bunched up at the incline to the river. Bill ran down the board walk as far as he could where there weren’t any canoes. We both jumped into the river and got in the canoe. It was a smooth start and we went around a couple canoes that were to our inside.

The first 10 minutes or so the narrow river is full of canoes and waves. Several of the canoes were jockeying for position. The river eventually widens and it's less hectic. Since Bill and I weren't really familiar with the river we weren't going to try and out paddle anyone. Eventually we would fall single file behind some other canoes. We wanted to be with some of the local paddlers going down the river to make as many of the cuts as we could, especially the cuts through the Mio pond.

We got our first pit just before Burton's Landing. There were some teams that passed us going down the river, but we were just staying with the group in front of us. I believe it was before our third pit when I heard some female voices behind us. I thought it was Amy Solak and Lisa Tambussi who I knew would be someone we would want to follow if they caught up with us.

After this pit is when I realized that it was Lynne Witte and Connie Cannon’s voices that I heard. They went passed us when we got our pit but we caught up to them. Our plan now was just to follow them down the river in the dark. There was one time Bill and I were actually a head of them, but I told Bill that I didn't like where we were positioned. I didn't know if there were any cuts up ahead and I didn't want them to rub us off. That’s when I heard them say, we wouldn't rub you guys off. Well, at that point I didn't know if they were telling the truth or not. We moved back behind them.
Fred Rayman told me another story when he was paddling next to Connie Cannon and I believe her partner was Lynne Witte. He wasn't paying attention to where he was at, but it was just before the Indian cut. Connie's canoe started to slow down and she acted like she was doing something in her canoe like getting something to eat. The next thing he knew Connie they took a hard left and went through the cut. Of course, Fred missed it even though he knew where the cut was located, but he just wasn't paying attention.

We continued to paddle with Connie and Lynne when about 4 other canoes caught up with us. There was one canoe that had a very bright light. Connie told him to turn it off when they were directly behind her canoe. He tried to turn it off but it wouldn't shut off. Eventually he got behind us with that annoying light. I said to him, so you can't turn the light off. That was my polite way of saying, please don't paddle behind me with that irritating light. I then tried to stay away from that canoe.

We all made it through the Mio cuts. There were probably about six of us. We then went through the stump field. I noticed that Connie and Lynn were taking us much closer to shore than the normal way through this area. I spoke to Connie after the race and she told me they scouted this before the race and it was ok for one canoe to go the way they did but not 5 or 6 canoes.

While going through the stump field we passed Nick Lyesiuk and Chuck Baxter who had flipped. Bill and I were following the canoe in front of us but I must have been a little to the side because we ran directly into a stump that stopped all our forward progress. At least we didn't flip. There was another time we rode up over another stump but again we stayed upright.

We now could see the lights to the Mio Dam in the distance. We all approached the wall to the dam at about the same time. Bill and I got out on top and reached down to grab the canoe. It had been over six hours in the canoe and my legs were stiff. We were running down hill and Bill kept running a little faster. I yelled to Bill that I couldn't run that fast but he didn't hear me. Chris Gerwing who was running along side of us also told Bill to slow down ,but he didn't hear Chris. Well, shortly after that I fell when we were making a slight right turn on the downhill. I went into the crowd while Bill held onto the canoe. When I got up I saw another person a ways from me who appeared to have fallen also. Later, Dave Timmerman told me he fell on the portage. He told me I didn't cause him to fall. I don't know if two or three of us fell on the portage.

I got back up, grabbed the canoe and finished running down the portage. We got in the canoe and I didn't see Fred Rayman any where in sight with our pit. I sat in the stern and was yelling Fred's name several times like a lost child. Eventually, Chris came to us and gave us back our mostly empty bottles. In fact, Bill and I each received each others bottle.

We now were paddling by ourselves. Bill attempted to turn on our bow light, but he couldn't get it turned on. It was working earlier in the night. We had to paddle down the river without a light. Bill told me he was able to see but I couldn't see very much at all. I told Bill he needed to tell me where to go a few times. It was a good thing the river wasn't like the upper section from the start of the race to Mio. There was one canoe that caught up with us as we went downstream. I think this was Chuck Baxter and Nick Lyesiuk who had flipped in the Mio pond in the stump field. Dave Timmerman and Mark Koenig joined us. Amy Solek and Lisa Tambussi also joined us.
We all paddled down the river and someone mentioned that it would be light in about 15 minutes. I looked at my watch and it was 0518 am.

Bill and I would paddle with or near Chuck and Nick, Dave and Mark, and Amy and Lisa for some time.

Eventually when there weren’t any more cuts that we were aware of we started paddling a little harder. We took some time at the Alcona Dam portage and several of the teams that we were with past us. We eventually caught up with these canoes over the remainder of the race.After we moved a head we could see one to two canoes up ahead to give us a reference on where to go on Cooke Pond and Loud Pond. I was watching the GPS and it appeared these canoes were following the same track through the ponds.

When we arrived at the take out points at the dams we had to use some coordination to keep the canoe upright. We would grab the wall while standing up in the canoe. We would exit the canoe at the same time, then reach down and pull the canoe up. There were three dam portages where we got to the top of the berm and just pointed the canoe downhill and let it slide down the hill on its own.

When Bill and I were approaching the finish line the announcer told the crowd that canoe #79 was approaching the line. Well, it was us, canoe #75, not #79. They went on and on about Doug and Josh Moggo about to cross the finish line. It wasn’t until after we crossed the finish line, pulling our canoe out of the water and out of sight of the finish line when they announced our names.

Bill and I crossed the finish line in 34th place with a time of 16:20:17. I actually was feeling pretty good compared to how I was feeling in 2000. I believe a big part was due to the Hammer Nutrition products I used. I used Perpetuem, Sustained Energy, Heed and Hammer gel. I had very little solid food. I had a couple bites of a bagel with peanut butter and a couple small pieces of banana.

Fred Rayman and Chris Gerwing took care of the canoe while Bill and I walked around doing nothing.

We checked in at the Aspen Motor Inn across the street. I rested/slept for a couple hours before heading over to the post race meal /banquet. This meal was much better than the pre-race meal. I saw Connie Cannon and Lynne Witte and thanked them for showing us the way through the cuts. Connie told us that they appreciated that we never got in their way during the night or caused them to adjust their paddling. They told us they hardly knew we were around them. We also talked about the guys with the bright light and the two guys wearing white shirts.
The next morning we went over for the racers breakfast. We talked with Bob Bradford and his large family group/pit crew during the breakfast. The restaurant had many old photos, paddles and canoes related to previous marathons.

I had a very good time while in Michigan. The drive to and from the event went fairly quickly. The people in Grayling really get behind the racers and the race. I'm amazed of all the people who follow this race from the start, all along the complete course and at the finish. There were many times we would paddle pass different groups of people after many hours of paddling where they would be standing while clapping and shouting words of encouragement. The people were great throughout the race course. If you ever get a chance to race or pit for this race do it.

I enjoyed paddling with Bill Briggs and I can’t thank Fred Rayman and Chris Gerwing enough for all they did during the race. Thank you, Guys!

Chuck Ryan
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