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      Trip Report - Kelso and Matt's 2018 Kruger Challenge     

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09/30/2018 06:07PM
New Trip Report posted by Kelso

Trip Name: Kelso and Matt's 2018 Kruger Challenge.

Entry Point: 12

Click Here to View Trip Report
 
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Mocha
distinguished member(7078)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
09/30/2018 07:21PM
thanks so much for posting your trip story! i've been anxiously awaiting posts from anyone on that challenge trip.
great photos and descriptions of your portages, rests and very little food! you must both be young. LOL...
09/30/2018 09:37PM
Wow... I loved reading this. That paddle will make a nice souvenir. I’m curious about your shoes. We’re they just regular trail runners? How did they hold up? Did you guys have any injuries besides the sunburn? Congratulations on a great trip.
09/30/2018 10:03PM
TomT: "I’m curious about your shoes. We’re they just regular trail runners? How did they hold up? Did you guys have any injuries besides the sunburn?. "

Thanks, we had a lot of fun! Hopefully we have a chance to run this route again someday. We'd like to do a bit of training and get in shape for a record attempt.

I have Brooks Cascadias, the same shoes that I used on my PCT thru hike in 2015 (not the same exact pair, of course!). They held up just fine, and so did Matt's shoes.

We were thankful for no injuries. Just some blisters and lesions on our hands, and the sunburn. God was taking care of us, in spite of our occasionally reckless decisions to keep pushing through somewhat dangerous situations.
HammerII
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09/30/2018 11:17PM
Kelso: "TomT: "I’m curious about your shoes. We’re they just regular trail runners? How did they hold up? Did you guys have any injuries besides the sunburn?. "


Thanks, we had a lot of fun! Hopefully we have a chance to run this route again someday. We'd like to do a bit of training and get in shape for a record attempt.


I have Brooks Cascadias, the same shoes that I used on my PCT thru hike in 2015 (not the same exact pair, of course!). They held up just fine, and so did Matt's shoes.


We were thankful for no injuries. Just some blisters and lesions on our hands, and the sunburn. God was taking care of us, in spite of our occasionally reckless decisions to keep pushing through somewhat dangerous situations."


I can see you guys coming back to this and making a serious run at the record.
Nordstjernen
member (42)member
 
10/01/2018 08:36AM
TomT: "I’m curious about your shoes. We’re they just regular trail runners? How did they hold up?"

Hey look I have a new account with my official name! This is Matt.
I used a pair of approach shoes from arc'tyrex. Arc'tyrex acrux2. My favorite piece of gear next to my powersurge.
They are basically trail runners with removable goretex liners. I bought an extra pair of liners so that I don't have to pack dry camp shoes on my trips. I just swap in the dry liners at camp. Heavenly. This particular trip I was too tired for even this, and the dry liners stayed in my pack. Haha, but normally they are a godsend.
Unfortunately, I think arc'tyrex has discontinued the model with the removable liners.
Driftless
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10/01/2018 10:43AM
Wow! Awesome guys!
cyclones30
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10/01/2018 08:22PM
What is the record? I was looking at your GPS tracker route and was going to ask what was up with your LLC to Iron route. We did that section once but took the Canadian portage both ways. Kind of muddy but short. Did you ever hear if that got you in front of the other group?
Nordstjernen
member (42)member
 
10/01/2018 09:11PM
cyclones30: "What is the record? I was looking at your GPS tracker route and was going to ask what was up with your LLC to Iron route. We did that section once but took the Canadian portage both ways. Kind of muddy but short. Did you ever hear if that got you in front of the other group?"

The "record" and origin of the challenge is the 80 hour benchmark set by Kruger and Waddell 50 years ago. There is also an unofficial claim of 78 hours by a guy a few of the watertribers met in Ely.
@ LLC to Iron
I believe there are two short Portages if you take the Canadian/bottle lake route, but I can't remember.
We definitely got ahead of them at that point, and the US route is definitely shorter as the crow flys. However, we were typically portaging quite a bit faster than the larger group with more gear, so we probably would have passed them at that point regardless. They also stopped to camp on iron lake as we continued on... So it is hard to say how much faster our route was, if at all, if all other things had been equal. But I think we will probably take the US route again next time assuming we are going for speed. I would bet the bottle lake route is more enjoyable if speed is not the prime concern.
OregonDave
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10/01/2018 11:13PM
"wolf traps"

That's just nasty!
smoke11
distinguished member (164)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/02/2018 06:35AM
looks like a great trip!
10/02/2018 06:46AM
Nordstjernen: "TomT: "I’m curious about your shoes. We’re they just regular trail runners? How did they hold up?"


Hey look I have a new account with my official name! This is Matt.
I used a pair of approach shoes from arc'tyrex. Arc'tyrex acrux2. My favorite piece of gear next to my powersurge.
They are basically trail runners with removable goretex liners. I bought an extra pair of liners so that I don't have to pack dry camp shoes on my trips. I just swap in the dry liners at camp. Heavenly. This particular trip I was too tired for even this, and the dry liners stayed in my pack. Haha, but normally they are a godsend.
Unfortunately, I think arc'tyrex has discontinued the model with the removable liners.
"


I initially thought you guys were crazy for this choice of footwear but without big loads and being on well worn portages I guess it turned out ok. Just don't try this in Quetico with all of those rock gardens.

One boot you might look into is the Chota Superlight Portage Hiker. They are real light, have exceptional traction and drain fast. Not cheap but it will give you better protection and traction on slick surfaces for sure.
Superlite portage hiker

I really think you guys have a shot at the record. I hope you go for it. One thing I would do is take a spring trip and do the route during daylight hours and make lots of notes and pics.



Nordstjernen
member (42)member
 
10/02/2018 09:27AM
TomT: "Nordstjernen: "TomT: "I’m curious about your shoes. We’re they just regular trail runners? How did they hold up?"



Hey look I have a new account with my official name! This is Matt.
I used a pair of approach shoes from arc'tyrex. Arc'tyrex acrux2. My favorite piece of gear next to my powersurge.
They are basically trail runners with removable goretex liners. I bought an extra pair of liners so that I don't have to pack dry camp shoes on my trips. I just swap in the dry liners at camp. Heavenly. This particular trip I was too tired for even this, and the dry liners stayed in my pack. Haha, but normally they are a godsend.
Unfortunately, I think arc'tyrex has discontinued the model with the removable liners.
"



I initially thought you guys were crazy for this choice of footwear but without big loads and being on well worn portages I guess it turned out ok. Just don't try this in Quetico with all of those rock gardens.


One boot you might look into is the Chota Superlight Portage Hiker.


"


I used to think it was dangerous to go without a supportive hiking boot as well... However one serious backpacking trip and I was convinced easily. Your feet are so much more comfortable in a quality shoe, you end up being safer in your foot placement and just lighter on your feet in general even on rough terrain. Real trail runners and "approach shoes" have very good traction, just lack dedicated ankle support.
Those Portage boots look really great tho! especially if they are truly light weight. I might look into them, especially since I won't be able to replace my discontinued arc'tyrex. I like the option of going truly water proof when the temperature really plummets.
10/02/2018 10:49AM
I guess I'm too cheap! I'm ok anywhere in canoe country with just about any old pair of shoes, as long as they are comfy and have decent traction.
muddyfeet
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10/02/2018 12:18PM
Congrats on a solid effort, guys!
This was a fun read: I liked imagining what it was like running the pigeon in the dark and fog. After that, I’m sure the grand was relatively enjoyable!

I was just south of LaCroix during the storm on Saturday night- and glad that I was dry in a hammock in that rain. How did it go in the bivys that night? Also- did you just sleep in wet clothes each night? It certainly gets cold fast once you stop moving- especially with wet clothes on.

You saw an incredible amount of wildlife. I have paddled the same route and saw nothing larger than an otter.

That’s quite the test of yourselves and your friendship. Again, well done!
Nordstjernen
member (42)member
 
10/02/2018 01:04PM
muddyfeet:

How did it go in the bivys that night? Also- did you just sleep in wet clothes each night? It certainly gets cold fast once you stop moving- especially with wet clothes on.

"


Thanks! Muddyfeet!

Bivys on Saturday. We found some additional shelter that "helped" and we stayed dry in the Bivys.
They are not 100% waterproof but they are pretty close, we also had a sill-nylon tarp along that would have been enough in combination with them to keep us dry in a true downpour.
I slept in my skivvies. haha. The down Marmots + Bivies were actually incredibly warm and were just the ticket as long as I got rid of the wet clothes first.
10/04/2018 04:19PM
Again, AWESOME job getting down to 98 hours! Very much enjoyed reading your report and seeing things through your eyes.

And we had fun with wondering what was happening to you or where you were at, at times. The mind can get bored on long paddle days and our back and forth near the beginning helped us create stories of what was happening to you guys. We had an InReach and could've found out where you were but we agreed we didn't really want to know.
10/05/2018 06:37PM
Your right! I was totally amused at your late night food trimming party. I'm sure the group of nine that came through that forgot their food went in well supplied. Haha.
Great effort, and you WILL do better next time. Two very fine young men that will make a big mark in this world. Side note... Probably the only person ever that reflected on changing diapers during a race like that... Just saying...
10/08/2018 10:59AM
Thanks BeaV and Nctry! It was a pleasure to meet both of you through this challenge. Your humility and encouragement made us feel very welcome in this great paddling community.
WhiteWolf
distinguished member(4202)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
10/13/2018 06:14PM
Great accomplishment Peter and Matt!!! (I just know their real names). Other Team BeaV members can support my following claim, if they want- but after meeting you the night before the start of the Challenge - I knew you guys were a "serious challenge" to Team BeaV finishing first and even when other members of Team BeaV thought we were well ahead of you after day 1 or 2, -- I had serious reservations. Reasons for this are better held for private conservations but I have competed in my day (or back in it) at the highest level. (and seen plenty of people smoke me). You guys fitted it to a "T" and followed through. I was not surprised that you finished ahead of Team Beav- just surprised at the amount of time ahead you finished!!! Youth and stamina in this type of challenge only go so far.


How you guys did the Pigeon ( and port from S.Fowl before) in the dark is amazing. Really no words can describe it or doing the Granite River in the dark (mostly)- Especially in the very low water. You just have to do it to understand it- even in sunlight. You guys are truly Northwoods Men and have earned all my respect and likely the respect of all my teammates on team BeaV!! Congrats ALL AROUND!!!


Records are records. And they are only "records" because they are "there" and have been "done" by others. But- they are meant (records, mostly personal) simply put- to be broken. Or they wouldn't be "records". More deeply - I would like in the future to see a team (someone's) break the 80 hr (or 78 hr) record, preferably from this group of challengers. If it's been done before - it can be done in the future. I know there are members of the teams in this challenge - that if put together- would stand a chance. Or other people reading this? Let's get more people involved to potentially break personal barriers to push their mind and soul to what they think is not possible!!! ALL IN ALL --- It's such a great feeling to sit with others (at the end) who have been through the same trials you have been through and say we conquered it also!!! Such a great challenge is this and has such GREAT support in Water Tribe and it's support team ( GrandmaL and others) . Give it a try next year!!!
Nordstjernen
member (42)member
 
10/16/2018 08:35AM
Give it a try next year!!! "

Thanks so much for the kind words, WhiteWolf!
I really enjoyed talking with team Beav in the brief time I was still around.
Wish I hadn't missed out on the weekend festivities!

We hope to give it another good run! Hopefully next year... if our schedules work! We'll see. Kelso has some things coming up next year, so I might be a free agent...
Just sayin.
11/05/2018 10:15PM
WhiteWolf: "It's such a great feeling to sit with others (at the end) who have been through the same trials you have been through and say we conquered it also!!!"

You bet, WhiteWolf. I was glad that I got to stick around for a few days after the challenge to get to know you and the rest of the gang. There was hardly time before the start to even learn everyone's name! But the shared experience of the challenge brought us all together.

Like Matt indicated, I might not be able to participate in future Kruger Challenges because of possible upcoming life changes, but Matt and I have tossed around the idea of giving the route another shot maybe early next summer. Higher water, warmer weather, and longer daylight hours could all be key factors in helping us shave off some time. Whether or not we break the record really doesn't matter. We just enjoy the challenge of pushing ourselves to our limit. In our many BWCA trips together Matt and I have developed a firm trust in each other's abilities and judgement. We know our limits and we take care of each other through the ups and downs. These tough challenges have only strengthened our friendship.

I'd love to read a trip report by Team BeaV or any of the other challengers. Are you planning to put something up?
AverageAmerican
 
02/13/2019 01:36PM
Ive been on the message board for years and this is by far my favorite, you two are beasts! If you are interested send me an email I would love to connect to have you two on my podcast!
 
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