Day 37 – Au Gres to Greenbush

Jackie & Jim Boettger welcoming me in at their beach, with Jessica at the ready to smooth the beach landing.
Jackie & Jim Boettger welcoming me in at their beach, with Jessica at the ready to smooth the beach landing.

I may have mentioned this before, but one of the toughest parts about these journeys is leaving our amazing hosts that basically scoop us up along the way. Jessica and my family, Carl, with Billy and Julia, were super lucky to be hosted by Jackie and Jim Boettger.  Their daughter, Jennifer, and husband David, also came up, so it has been a very lively stay. Originally, Jessica and I were thinking that Jackie and Jim lived in the river, and that they were wanting me to paddle nine miles on top of the 40 in the wind I did from Au Gres to their home. Heehee, I was kinda confused and was (mistakenly) thinking, “really??”.  But we quickly realized when we got here that they are on Ocean Huron!

The lengthy paddle into the wind and late night made getting up the next day to paddle excruciating. I wanted to keep sleeping, but grudgingly got out of bed and checked the forecast, not that I needed to, the wind whipping the trees and the wind driven swells slamming into the shores was confirmation enough that another day would have wind on the nose again. For another 40 some odd miles. So I opted to do another short day-just seven miles to shorten the next sure-to-have-wind on the nose paddle. It was an excellent decision.

Knowing the day’s paddle would not be an all day slog into wind allowed me to actually enjoy it. I did not, tho, know how much I was going to enjoy it. To pry myself out of the warm bed I shared with my husband and venture into the cold and wet world with wind on my face took every ounce of willpower. I so wanted to take off the entire day. But I knew the miles knocked off would help for today. It just had to be done, no matter how much I didn’t want to. My body really took a beating in that wind. But out I went.

I stuffed down my personal misery-I am a cold wimp. Hate it. For me the cold is a challenge to overcome to get on the water. And then there’s the wind. Once I’m out the door, however, my attitude changes. Usually. The chop coming out of the inlet was a ton of fun, tho, and it didn’t take long for my spirits to improve.  Near the end of the short paddle to the house, the point north of Jim and Jackie’s provided some protection as I paddled in to shore-so it wasn’t craziness on the beach, for which I’m always thankful with a beach landing. Jessica finally got a chance to get wet! She totally nailed her first “heIp pluck Margo outta the water” shore landing. Coming in I surfed a little bump but then had to chill so I didn’t drive the canoe onto the beach-a total disaster for an outrigger canoe with it’s fixed rudder which sits two feet from the aft. Glad we had a chance to practice a shore landing on an easy beach!

Jackie had made my family amazing home made waffles from scratch and fortunately I was able to get there and enjoy some before heading up Alpena to visit the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary.  Definitely a “must visit” place! We thoroughly enjoyed the displays there and the glass bottom boat tour. Jessica and I will actually be staying there tonight!

Time to get up and get cold and wet again-but today the wind should shift-maybe, and not be so hard out of the north. At least my farmer jane suit and booties will be dry when I out them on!

Almost forgot to mention that my friend, Dr. Deb Walters, is being nominated for a “paddle with a purpose” award from Canoe&Kayak for her epic kayak journey from Maine to Guatemala to raise money for a a Rotary project that educates the kids living in the garbage dump in Guatemala City. I’d love to volunteer there one day! Please vote for her for her epic journey-she has to have emergency spinal surgery in SC, but did get to Guatemala and she will finish paddling there in October from where she left off! Here is the link


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