Archive for the ‘Paddle-a-thon’ Category

Sadly, my first summer on staff is coming to a close this week; I leave on Thursday for my home inIndiana.   But before the summer is done and in the history books of my memory, I participated in my first ever Paddle-a-Thon yesterday kayaking farther than I have ever gone.  I paddled on Burntside Lake making it all the way around the lake, some 27 miles in all.  To top it off, I paddled one last time around Armstrong Lake, nudging up my total miles for the day to almost 30.  Here are some pictures from my Paddle-a-Thon and also a couple of good memories from the summer.  Enjoy.



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Yesterday, Aubrey Helmuth Miller and Rose Byler paddled 42.25 miles in our own personal Paddle-a-thon.  It is a real bummer we couldn’t make it to the Paddle-a-thon with everyone else… but we tried hard to make it fun anyway.  The day was gorgeous, beginning with a calm morning and then a little wind in the afternoon and evening.  The sun was shining, but we had occasional clouds and hats to keep us sane.  We kept a log of our day (which I’m now realizing was a great plan since the whole day is turning into a hazy mess in hindsight), so we’d like to share it with you.

Wednesday, 7.27.11 – Preparing for the Big Day

  • 5:17 pm – Our packed bag of food weighs 10 pounds.  Wow.
  • 7:45 – Final farewells and first departure.  We sit in the truck, checklist complete, hesitating to pull out the drive.  Kathy notices this and suggests we may have forgotten something.  Hm… could we have paddled 40 miles sans canoe??
  • 7:56 – We finally leave for Williams and Hall (the place on Moose Lake we’ll be sleeping) fo’ real
  • 8:30 – We watch an inspirational video clip of Aubrey’s brother-in-law hiking up a waterfall on crutches saying, “I WANT IT! RARRRRRGGHHH!!” Stowed away in our memory banks for future withdraw.
  • 8:46 – Well shucks, we should be asleep by now!

Thursday, 7.28.11

  • 3:25 am – Alarm… and snooze
  • 3:28 – Gettin’ up to half a pan of coffee cake and some wonderful coffee Luke had made the day before
  • 4:02 – In the water and heading off… now where exactly is Williams and Hall on the map?  We see a couple dark islands and eventually find our way. (This became one of Aubrey’s favorite moments – figuring out where we were in the dark with headlamps and a map)
  • 4:22 – We hit the Moose Lake boat access and entrance to the Boundary Waters!
  • 5:02 – We overhear an interesting conversation between the beautiful, pure, and mournful tremolo of a loon call… and the yippy howling of a yippy dog.
  • 5:17 – The birds all begin to wake up at once!
  • 5:38 – Sunrise… but we weren’t looking so we canoed by some taller trees and…
  • 5:39 – Second sunrise just short of Prairie Portage.  Just gorgeous.  I don’t know what words to use to describe it.
  • 6:02 – CANADA! (Prairie Portage – pronounced the Canadian way, of course) My, my, my the water in Canada is just so clear!
  • 8:30 – In North Bay we saw an eagle, an eagle’s nest, a bunch of crying young eagles in the nest, and an otter! (Rose was also inspired by a lump of marsh muck.)
  • 11:30 – We arrive at Agnes Lake 30 minutes ahead of schedule and have a wonderful swim, then eat lunch somewhere near the pictographs.
  • 11:57 – Luxuriously drying off in the beautiful sun, Aubrey is caught off guard by some passersby as she flings her arms wide, about to embrace the world. Oops!
  • 12:00  – On the go again.  Still feeling strong all the way to the fingertips and excited about life!
  • 12:39 – Louisa Falls. Enjoy the view with a hoard of other paddlers.
  • 3:00 – Sunday Bay! (By the way, this means we spent about two hours on Sunday Lake… which was windy… and big… and loooong)
  • 4:02 – Apples in CANADA! (Prairie Portage)  Rose’s energy level visibly plummets.  (Getting out of a canoe has never been so hard!) Also, 12 hours exactement!  We fly with the wind at our back heading SE until we turn the corner into Sucker Lake (heading SW now) and the wind PICKS UP!  Therein starts many plots for wind avoidance (dancing with and around islands) – most of which fail.  Then we realize that the wind isn’t coming from the West… but instead right UP THE CHANNEL IN OUR FACES! (One might ask: strong wind or jelly arms?)
  • 5:36 – We slip through the gap and into Moose Lake.  We figure we have about three miles left.
  • 5:56 – Mile 1, done in 20 minutes. Feelin’ good.
  • 6:08 – Mile 2, 12 minutes! (May there have been some measuring issues here?) It is at this point that we lose all our marbles (aka our “crumbly bits”).  Rose nearly tosses her dried mango “treats”/reward system into the water, we both laugh so hard we can’t see straight, and in general lose most body control.
  • 6:27 – We find a slimy 15x2x6 board washed up along the water’s edge.  In our addled state we decide to pack it out… even though we aren’t in the Boundary Waters anymore… and it is huge.
  • 6:30 – We finally spot  “THE PILE OF CANOES” that mark the William and Hall dock.
  • 6:36 – We hit the dock and flop out onto it
  • 7:02 – Drive out of the Williams and Hall parking lot.
  • 8:30 – Enjoy the sunset, storytelling, and dessert with the rest of the WW staff at Burntside Lodge.

In our 14 hours and 34 minutes out on the water we saw lakes for the first time, marveled at the beautiful and clear water, drank about 9 liters of water, applied sunscreen countless times, surfed on 8-foot waves, and really just had a ball.  We even managed to keep a decent pace throughout the day – it took us two hours to get from our starting point to the Prairie Portage in the morning, and 2.5 hours in the evening!  With the exception of the peanut butter fudge, we even polished off 10 lbs of our food before we got back to camp.

It was a wonderful day and couldn’t have been nearly so wonderful without everyone involved.  Thanks to Matthew, John, Luke, and Kathy for helping us get ready and meeting us in the driveway at the end.  Thanks to everyone who donated and everyone who will donate – not just to us, but to the other paddlers as well.  And goodness, thanks be to God for such a gift. We are grateful.

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