Day 52 – Saugatuck to Benton Harbor and a guest blog by Eric Haas

Coming in to Benton Harbor
Coming in to Benton Harbor

Finally! A downwinder in Lake Michigan! Small conditions and lighter winds at my back made for a sweet little downwinder from Saugatuck, where Mike from the Pine Trail Camp let me keep my boat overnight. Sweet little camp that caters to groups there on the Saugatuck River. It was a lonely but fun long run down the coast to Benton Harbor where I finally got to meet “Kayak Ken” who does so much for so many- vets and others who need the respite of the water-and his friends Caroline and John. Together we paddled up the river to to Scooter Joe’s kayak place where my boat spent the night. Jessica and I benefitted once again from Stacie’s amazing outreach-she managed to get the Inn at Harbor Shores to donate a room here for us!

Now I’m rushing out the door to meet up with Wendell Martin, an outrigger paddler I run into every time I do the kick-ass Carolina Cup race. He’s joining me on this next to last longish leg to Chicago. Woohoo!! Company on the water as we head to Chi town and more outrigger paddlers!

Eric Haas, who had paddled with me and hosted us for two nights in Frankfort last week obliged my request for a guest blog entry.  Here’s his:
Eric Haas here with a “guest blog”.  We were absolutely delighted to host Margo & Jessica for the two nights they stayed with us last week.


Margo is quite an incredible young lady.  When we paddled together last week, she had paddled roughly 40 miles or so, the last 12 with me.  It took me about four miles to “catch up” to her (she had to wait for me) — so I paddled a total of 16 miles — equalling my lifetime longest-ever paddle.

Near the end of the day’s paddle (which again was after about 40 miles for her and only 16 for me), she was enthusiastically sprinting onto swells to “surf” as we approached our destination.  Afterwards, while I was quite “pooped”, she remained bubbly and vigorous — none the “worse for wear” after quite a long paddle.

Paddling with her was quite delightful.  Her cruising pace was quite comfortable for me.  When I occasionally sped up a bit, she seemed to have limitless reserves to pick up her pace too.

The best thing about having Margo and Jessica here is the inspiration that she unconsciously emits.  The worst thing was having to say goodbye this morning.  Am disappointed that I will probably never see her again.

It was quite fun for all of us, though, to be a small part of her amazing adventure.  We will all be recalling her and her exploits in stories to others for many years …

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