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   Listening Point - General Discussion
      2020 MN Border Route Challenges     

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09/10/2020 08:44AM
The Border Route Challenges are set to start early Saturday 9/12. Again there are two different challenges- one starts near International Falls (Kruger Waddell Challenge) and the other starts at Crane Lake and Indian Sioux River North (Voyageurs Challenge). Both routes follow the border and end at Grand Portage on Lake Superior.

You can follow along as they progress by watching their Spot tracking maps here:

Challenge Tracking

Challengers will show on their respective challenge maps. Select either "MNVC2020" or the "MNKC2020" selection under the event tab, and then hit the "regenerate" button for the map to update. The default setting only shows the challenger's current position but if you select the individual Challenger and then select "show tracks, OK, help and current waypoints only" selection under the Display Detail tab then the whole tracking history shows up. Remember to always hit the "regenerate" button anytime you change a setting.



 
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DanCooke
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09/10/2020 09:02AM
Best wishes for all of you paddlers as you canoe to Lake Superior.
 
09/10/2020 09:21AM
Here is a breakdown of Challengers:

Kruger Waddell Participants:


Group of six consisting of:
BeaV
MAKK (Kendra)
Whitewolf
MeatPuppet
Deke
McPipes

Group of 2 Stand Up Paddle boarders (I think they plan to stay together):
Conchistador
Nipper

Group of two:
Chiggins
Birch

Solo Hiawashi

Solo Mzee

Solo Voyager

Solo MagicPaddler, starting one day late (sept 13th)


Voyageur Challenge Participants:

Father-Son team of Laughing Warrior and Son of War starting at EP 12

Solo Clewless starting at EP 14

Solo JoshT starting at EP 14

 
09/10/2020 10:57AM
Best of luck to everyone! Enjoy the trip and stay safe. May the wind be ever at your back.
 
airmorse
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09/10/2020 02:19PM
Good luck to all and be safe.
 
09/10/2020 02:24PM
Pretty sure magic paddler is doing the full challenge. Just starting a day late cause of a permit issue.
 
09/10/2020 03:31PM
nctry: "Pretty sure magic paddler is doing the full challenge. Just starting a day late cause of a permit issue."
Hi Ben! Hope to see you around up there somewhere.

I just reread what magicpaddler sent me...he said he got a permit for 14. I assumed he changed his Entry Point to 14, he must have meant the 14th of September. Glad you are keeping me straight;) I'll edit my post above as noted.
 
Grandma L
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09/10/2020 03:49PM
The tracking systems are all set again this year. I will keep you posted as they make progress across the Border.
 
missmolly
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09/10/2020 04:27PM
This question can be answered by any of you participants: How do you steel/steady/calm yourself for what's coming?
 
WhiteWolf
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09/11/2020 12:20AM
Experience / Trust in team / and ( training) endurance. But I personally think of "endurance" as the steady state of just keeping patience knowing full well things will not go as planned ( though planned and hoped for) and mentally handling and knowing it will, work itself out. Which goes back to training and mental toughness and confidence in Team but, individually , Mental toughness being the biggest- knowing your ready for whatever even when your body physically and mentally starts to break down.

Any team sport shows this- (even Life?) you learn this pretty fast and can pretty much expect it- failure leads to success . In this case, you know your in pretty good company as far as canoeing/tripping ( with BeaV and his team) - which helps your confidence, and that goes a long way when situations become hairy. Trust and execute. Knowing you can from training and executing.

When your properly trained for any event - there is no worries, just unknowns. And that, imo, is fun.
 
jfinn
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09/11/2020 06:59AM
Good luck everybody-what an event!

The weather looks favorable and hope it helps.

When your properly trained for any event - there is no worries, just unknowns. And that, imo, is fun.
"


This is so true. I tell my kids that after many ultra endurance events (and life), I now just get excited, never nervous. Confidence and enjoyment are the rule of the day because I was true to the training plan. Lack of prep builds doubt. Do the work and enjoy-life.

 
09/11/2020 07:30AM
Why does it say cancelled when I go to the website?

2020 Challenge starting 9/12/20
 
09/11/2020 08:29AM
timatkn: "Why does it say cancelled when I go to the website?

2020 Challenge starting 9/12/20 "

WaterTribe officially pulled their involvement from the events this year because of covid stuff, I guess. But the fun goes on anyhow. And WaterTribe is allowing use of their tracking map for people to follow along.

So, yes the events are cancelled. But paddlers are still doing their trips.
 
09/11/2020 09:27AM
missmolly: "This question can be answered by any of you participants: How do you steel/steady/calm yourself for what's coming? "
Good question...I won't directly answer. But I will say the challenge/adventure/camaraderie is real and I think is the reason so many people return to do it again.

When things are hard we say "why am I doing this"?
When things are done we say "when can I do it again"?

This year 11 of the 18 are returnees.

 
09/11/2020 10:12AM
Weather looks like it's warming up again so it should be good paddling.
 
JimmyJustice
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09/11/2020 10:15AM
missmolly: "This question can be answered by any of you participants: How do you steel/steady/calm yourself for what's coming? "

MM,

I'm sidelined and home pouting this year but based on season's past, I think the answer to your question is pretty simple:

Keep your fingers dry and calloused.

Establish and maintain a stretching regiment .

Stay hydrated.

Don't stop to smell the roses.

Mentally prepare yourself for how unbeautiful the BWCA is.

Remember the ends never justify the means.

When it's all said and done, it really comes down to preparation.


Have fun this year challengers! Be safe my friends.

JJ
 
09/11/2020 11:19AM
Good luck to everyone! I hope to be on Mountain when the lead groups pass through midweek.
 
09/12/2020 03:37PM
Good luck to all! I'm watching and cheering, as always. From the tracking map, it looks like the Kruger gang is already on Kabetogama and Namakan, and the Voyager challengers are on Lac LaCroix. Weather looks good and winds look favorable. Go get 'em!
 
09/12/2020 03:45PM
There's at least two hearty voyageurs on Kabetogama, paddlin' away!
 
09/12/2020 03:55PM
Magicpaddler is giving everyone a head start. He’ll be starting tomorrow.
 
09/12/2020 08:04PM
BeaV's 6-person crew is stopped at the sand-beach campsite on the south end of Little Vermillion. They've come an impressive 45 miles in 11 hours. In 2018, they spent the first night here and weathered a thunderstorm. Will they sleep a few hours here tonight, or will they press on with good weather?

Meanwhile, the stand-up paddleboarders (Conchistador and Nipper) have reached Grassy Portage from Namakan to Sand Point Lake. This is one of their first portaging tests. I can't imagine carrying a paddleboard on the Grand Portage!

The old guys, Mzee and Voyager in their solo canoes, are just a little ahead on the other side of the portage, starting their way down Sand Point Lake. They have been coming back for more Kruger challenge suffering year after year. Tough guys and a force to be reckoned with!

Meanwhile, Voyager Challengers JoshT and Clewless, who started at 7am at Little Indian Sioux River, are both well on their way across huge Lac LaCroix. Looks like they are camped together on an island in Fish Stake Narrows. Must have been a beautiful day on the water.
 
JimmyJustice
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09/12/2020 08:29PM
Kelso

Good questions about team BeaVer Fever. What is their plan...what will they do next? Well having their float plan in hand, I know. While I'd rather be there with my team, it is fun to play along here at home. Without disclosing their plan...I can safely say, ... they are, well...on pace.

Great work by all the other challengers, from all walks of life, ages, and experience. Fun to see Mzee and Voyager back at it. They have grit. It will be interesting to see how the SUP's handle the portages. I can't be easy taking those 15+ foot boards on portages.
 
09/12/2020 09:20PM
Good to know, JimmyJustice! Looking forward to watching carefully laid plans unfold.
 
scotttimm
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09/13/2020 09:31AM
My son and I hope to do the Voyager Challenge next year - we're checking in each day, doing a little recon to see how far the two Voyager soloists make it each day and pace themselves along the route. While I enjoy watching from home, I hope to be an icon on the screen this time next year!
 
09/13/2020 12:39PM
BeaV's group got a solid 9.5 hrs of rest at the campsite on Little Vermillion, but now they're off on another big mileage day. Conchistador and Nipper camped on the Northwest corner of Sand Point Lake, and are now working their way up the Loon River. Voyager and Mzee are sticking together. They camped on Little Vermillion, within sight of Beav's group, and are now starting their way across Lac LaCroix, passing the Beatty Portage pictographs a few minutes ago. Chiggins and Birch don't have live tracking, but they were also camped on Sand Point Lake and most likely are now somewhere between Voyager/Mzee and Conchistador/Nipper. Meanwhile, magicpaddler is off to the races, starting his paddle bright and early at 5:18 local time (the tracking map shows eastern time for everyone), and now already entering Namakan Lake.

The Voyager Challengers Clewless and JoshT are still together, well ahead of the Kruger Challegers on Crooked Lake Friday Bay. BeaV's group would be hard pressed to overtake them, but we shall see. I don't see any track data for LaughingWarrior and his son. Maybe they are starting today?

 
09/13/2020 03:39PM
MP just got over the Grassy portage and is heading into Grassy Bay and then Sand Point.
 
JimmyJustice
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09/13/2020 07:18PM
Scottimm

If you and your son have an interest, then go for it! The" challenge" for all of us in doing any segment of the KW/VC is whatever we want to make it. It's a great opportunity to see an historical segment of the BWCA, challenge yourself and make new friends. Hope to see you there next year.

Weather being what is, everyone made great progress today.

In looking at the numbers on Spot, I noticed that last night BeaV's crew hit camp 26 minutes prior to the time we had identified on our float plan. Me thinks that after 12 hours of paddling and portaging, that is withing the margin of error. :)

JJ
 
scotttimm
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09/13/2020 08:26PM
JimmyJustice: "Scottimm


If you and your son have an interest, then go for it! The" challenge" for all of us in doing any segment of the KW/VC is whatever we want to make it. It's a great opportunity to see an historical segment of the BWCA, challenge yourself and make new friends. Hope to see you there next year.


Weather being what is, everyone made great progress today.


In looking at the numbers on Spot, I noticed that last night BeaV's crew hit camp 26 minutes prior to the time we had identified on our float plan. Me thinks that after 12 hours of paddling and portaging, that is withing the margin of error. :)

JJ "


Thanks JJ - we’re actively planning, discussing training, and following along thinking about our pace. Our plan wouldn’t be to try and break records - but pace ourselves properly to finish the challenge safely. Sounds like the second half is the harder half, and that’s where I’m most interested in staging the finish correctly. If we save the Grand Portage for our last day, working backwards...seems like we’d need to do around 30 miles per day...hedge our bets in the first half for a potentially tough Granite River and then Pigeon River. Any advice is welcome. My brother lives in The same town as White Wolf, hoping to pick his brain over a beer sometime.
 
skier
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09/13/2020 10:27PM
This looks like so much fun. I want to do it next year. Solo.
 
09/14/2020 02:20AM
skier: "This looks like so much fun. I want to do it next year. Solo."



Better do it in the winter if your doing it on skis... haha! Welcome to bwca.com. The people you meet doing this are very inspiring. I can’t do the thing I love most... paddle. But there is nothing I enjoy now then to watch people achieve things like this. Just do it if it’s your thing!
 
09/14/2020 03:08AM
BTW: Congratulations Kendra!!!
 
JimmyJustice
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09/14/2020 06:40AM
nctry: "BTW: Congratulations Kendra!!!"

Yes Ben, congrats to Kendra (MAKK). Yesterday she completed the route from Sha Sha to Grand Portage (solo). Her plan was to finish on Thursday/Friday and then hitch a ride back to Sha Sha to do it all over again with our crew (BeaV's). I will let her tell her story but the weather, especially the wind, was nasty last week in I-Falls. She was prohibited from advancing very far early on and as a result lost 2 full days. That said, she has a new plan...

Congrats Kendra!

JJ
 
scotttimm
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09/14/2020 09:08AM
BeaV and crew (Wheelbarrow Falls) are hot on the trail of the Voyager Challenge folks now who are just pushing into Basswood. That's an unbelievable pace...catching a pair who are also putting serious miles in each day - that had a 60 mile head start? Wow.
 
09/14/2020 09:21AM
JimmyJustice: "nctry: "BTW: Congratulations Kendra!!!"


Yes Ben, congrats to Kendra (MAKK). Yesterday she completed the route from Sha Sha to Grand Portage (solo). Her plan was to finish on Thursday/Friday and then hitch a ride back to Sha Sha to do it all over again with our crew (BeaV's). I will let her tell her story but the weather, especially the wind, was nasty last week in I-Falls. She was prohibited from advancing very far early on and as a result lost 2 full days. That said, she has a new plan...


Congrats Kendra!


JJ"


Please forgive the novice question, but what or where is Sha Sha? I don't recall reading about it elsewhere and I was just curious.
 
JimmyJustice
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09/14/2020 09:23AM
HND

Sha Sha refers to Sha Sha resort in International Falls. That is the location where the challengers who do the Kruger-Waddell Challenge start as compared to those who do the Voyagers Challenge (Crane Lake/Indian River North) start. Sha Sha is where Clint Waddell and Verlan Kruger started when they did this trip decades ago "just for fun" while training for a much larger excursion. It is from those beginnings that this is derived.

Kendra had wanted to do the full challenge solo and this year her scheduled allowed for her to do the Kruger-Waddell route on her own. She had planned to finish in time to join up with our crew back at Sha Sha before they started and had hoped to do the entire route back to back. She missed that window by a day but has "other plans" now...

JJ
 
09/14/2020 10:40AM
Day 3 has begun, with the challengers now spread out from Basswood to Lac LaCroix. BeaV's group, which camped last night at approximately mile 96 on Crooked Lake, has now caught up with the Voyager Challengers on Basswood. I bet they're paddling together and sharing stories about their adventures so far. There's a gentle breeze out of the south today, the first non-tailwind of the trip.

MagicPaddler is really flying. 26 hrs into his challenge this morning, he was already at mile 80 at the end of Lac LaCroix. Looks like he paddled all night without stopping. Maybe he's getting some rest now?

 
09/14/2020 06:57PM
Thanks JJ. That makes sense given everyone's starting point. Doing the route twice, back-to-back is definitely hardcore. I'd be happy to do it once! I still need to scout the Granite river down to Clove and then Gunflint west through the mountainous border lakes and a few long (and some steep) portages to be ready for this. I have no problem at the moment living vicariously through others and watching them online!
 
09/14/2020 07:37PM
HighnDry: "Doing the route twice, back-to-back is definitely hardcore."

Second that! Congrats Kendra on completing the solo challenge!
 
Mocha
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09/14/2020 08:10PM
Kendra is a nut!! I applaud her doing this trip back to back. Seems like she's joining up for the toughest part of the trip.
 
Grandma L
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09/14/2020 08:37PM
So glad you are all watching our paddlers. I have been super busy tracking and tabulating their progress. There are a couple of more paddlers who don't show on the Water Tribe site. There are a total of 18 paddler this year. Four doing the Voyageur and 14 doing the Kruger-Waddell. Paddlers are from all across the country. Four are from Florida, 1 Oklahoma, 1 West Virginia and the rest are Minnesota.
Four of them are having trouble with their SPOT's not sending well. Makes it hard to track them.
 
Grandma L
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09/14/2020 09:15PM
A rainy morning for the Challenge Start at Sha Sha Resort landing (Dove Point, Rainy Lake) September 12, 2020.
The Kruger Waddell group






The Challengers paddling the Voyageur Challenge were busy with their Launch at Little Indian Sioux North and were not in these photos.
 
Grandma L
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09/14/2020 09:24PM
Kendra is back with her team on the Challenge paddle trail! She is not your typical Challenger. Kendra is a small framed, strong willed, mother of 3 college-age girls. Along with her paddle partner, BeaV, she holds the tandem record for the Kruger Waddell Challenge route set in 2019.
You wonder how she was able to finish the 250+ mile solo route and catch up with her Challenge team mates? Well, with some over-the-top great support from her family, and a couple of friends. They picked up her fresh gear and pre-packed food and clothing in northern MN, met her at the Lake Superior finish line, drove her the 3 hours back to Ely, and helped to facilitate her return to the paddle trail with her team who met her at Prairie Portage!
Some people talk about doing this kind of Challenge. Some even contemplate a solo attempt. Others comment on what paddlers do or don't do but, Kendra did it!! A totally unsupported solo, not paddling a solo canoe with a group of other travelers. She paddled the 250+ mile route, including the 40 portages, totaling over 20 miles. Remember, the last portage of this route is the 9 mile Grand Portage from Fort Charlotte to Lake Superior. She was REALLY solo all the way! She is a determined, skilled and hardcore paddler with an unstoppable positive attitude. She is a great role model for other women and paddlers. I am very proud of my friend!
 
Mocha
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09/15/2020 07:15AM
Plus plus plus! Excellent description of kendra.
Perhaps you could make some short video snippets at the grand portage reunion. It would be great to hear from all participants after this adventure.

You are a pivotal participant, Lori, keeping everyone and things so organized. This is the thread I look at most often.
 
scotttimm
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09/15/2020 08:46AM
Here's a question, pondering both challenges but especially the Voyager's Challenge, where is the approximate half-way between Crane Lake and Lake Superior? I'd guess there are two different half-ways - distance half-way and difficulty half-way. I was guessing half way to be somewhere between Knife and Saganaga. White Wolf mentioned the Granite River section on down is where you see people really start to slow down. Kelso mentioned certain milestones achieved along the route earlier in this thread - anyone have a map of that route specifically showing distances along the way?
 
09/15/2020 09:08AM
scotttimm: Kelso mentioned certain milestones achieved along the route earlier in this thread - anyone have a map of that route specifically showing distances along the way?"

Yep, I'm looking at the Kruger-Waddell Challenge route map, available here:
https://blog.canoemaps.com/p/more-canoe-maps.html

Note that since everyone is starting at Sha-Sha this year, you have to subtract 9 miles from all the distances (which I forgot to do in my posts above - I've corrected them now).
 
09/15/2020 09:11AM
I don't have an answer to that question but I wondered if anyone notice where BeaV and his crew camped last night? The last time I checked, they were moving up-lake on Knife just north of Thunder Point. I see that they are tackling the Monument Portage right now (9AM) so they are moving along at a good clip.
 
missmolly
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09/15/2020 09:36AM
Wonder Woman is make-believe.

Kendra is real!
 
scotttimm
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09/15/2020 09:40AM
HighnDry: "I don't have an answer to that question but I wondered if anyone notice where BeaV and his crew camped last night? The last time I checked, they were moving up-lake on Knife just north of Thunder Point. I see that they are tackling the Monument Portage right now (9AM) so they are moving along at a good clip."

Last I checked - yesterday afternoon - they appeared to be camped (or resting) on Knife where I put the blue arrow.
 
scotttimm
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09/15/2020 09:43AM
Kelso: "scotttimm: Kelso mentioned certain milestones achieved along the route earlier in this thread - anyone have a map of that route specifically showing distances along the way?"


Yep, I'm looking at the Kruger-Waddell Challenge route map, available here:
https://blog.canoemaps.com/p/more-canoe-maps.html

Note that since everyone is starting at Sha-Sha this year, you have to subtract 9 miles from all the distances (which I forgot to do in my posts above - I've corrected them now)."


Perfect - this is exactly what I was looking for, thanks Kelso!!
 
09/15/2020 10:58AM
Day 4, the challengers are spread out from Saganaga to Basswood. BeaV's group has reached mile 147 on Sag. They'll have plenty of daylight today to tackle the challenging Granite River down to Gunflint. Wind and weather are still cooperating nicely, although the challengers have had to deal with some chilly nights in the low 40s. Coffeemonkey appears to be on the way out from Seagull lake to meet challengers on Knife... bringing everyone hot coffee, I hope!? Meanwhile, Magicpaddler is taking a shortcut portage across the Canadian peninsula on Basswood, shaving off a mile or so and stretching his legs. Keep going strong!

 
09/15/2020 02:05PM
scotttimm: "HighnDry: "I don't have an answer to that question but I wondered if anyone notice where BeaV and his crew camped last night? The last time I checked, they were moving up-lake on Knife just north of Thunder Point. I see that they are tackling the Monument Portage right now (9AM) so they are moving along at a good clip."


Last I checked - yesterday afternoon - they appeared to be camped (or resting) on Knife where I put the blue arrow. "


Thanks scottimm. That was where I thought they might have at least paused. I was curious if they pushed on over the short portage into Ottertrack and maybe made it up towards Benny A's old cabin site. There's a good, spacious campsite there near the portage into Ester.
 
scotttimm
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09/15/2020 02:09PM
HighnDry: "scotttimm: "HighnDry: "I don't have an answer to that question but I wondered if anyone notice where BeaV and his crew camped last night? The last time I checked, they were moving up-lake on Knife just north of Thunder Point. I see that they are tackling the Monument Portage right now (9AM) so they are moving along at a good clip."



Last I checked - yesterday afternoon - they appeared to be camped (or resting) on Knife where I put the blue arrow. "



Thanks scottimm. That was where I thought they might have at least paused. I was curious if they pushed on over the short portage into Ottertrack and maybe made it up towards Benny A's old cabin site. There's a good, spacious campsite there near the portage into Ester."

I've been switching between the VC and KC folks - but I THINK I remember seeing BeaV and crew moving through Ottertrack this morning - so I believe they stayed there.
 
09/15/2020 02:31PM
He stayed on thunder point for a bit... now navigating the granite river. Lawrence in closing in on voyager as he took a rest on table rock. GrandmaL was worried about Judy in her prism in the rear of everyone, but now on or nearly on Basswood. Seems like the winds have calmed a little not sure about there. Boy the team out front is going good too. I feel bad they just eat that powder stuff while I think I’ll have a big juicy hamburger tonight. Haha. Then maybe head up and catch people coming through partridge falls...
 
Mocha
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09/15/2020 07:25PM
What’s up with coffee monkey?
 
09/15/2020 08:28PM
Mocha: "What’s up with coffee monkey?"

He was on Vera earlier this evening. i thought he was going to do that long portage into Knife. I've only walked it once with no gear and there are a few spots on that stroll that head down some rock faces, plus it's long :).

Anyway, he seems to have turned around and is now on Newfound heading south?

There are a lot of folks still on the water and not in camp. They're really pushing.
 
Grandma L
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09/15/2020 10:16PM
Kelso: "scotttimm: Kelso mentioned certain milestones achieved along the route earlier in this thread - anyone have a map of that route specifically showing distances along the way?"

Yep, I'm looking at the Kruger-Waddell Challenge route map, available here:
https://blog.canoemaps.com/p/more-canoe-maps.html

Note that since everyone is starting at Sha-Sha this year, you have to subtract 9 miles from all the distances (which I forgot to do in my posts above - I've corrected them now)."

Peter,
I use you maps all day every day - while tracking timing the paddlers. I have made them into loose leaf books. Oh, and we have 4 paddlers doing the voyageur Challenge. For that route subtract 50 miles from the printed numbers.
Thanks for the great tool for tracking!
 
Grandma L
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09/15/2020 10:20PM
missmolly: "Wonder Woman is make-believe.
Kendra is real!"

You said it Molly! You should do some writing about her?
 
Grandma L
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09/15/2020 10:24PM
Coffee Monkey is not paddling the Challenge this year. He might cross paths with our paddlers on his personal journey. Schedules and circumstances didn't allow him to have the time to do the Challenge. I look forward to having him join us next fall. And yup, we will be doing it again in 2021!
 
Grandma L
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09/15/2020 10:27PM
Dang it! We still have 2 paddlers (Mzee and Voyager) out on big Sag! It is getting late (now 10:30 pm). Hope they are making good time with the wind being down! And by the way these two guys are both in their early 70's and going strong.
Tomorrow I start baking the pans of brownies to take to the Casino for munching on around the campfire that overlooks Lake Superior. This afternoon, we put the finishing touches on the Bear Claw necklace awards to be given to the paddlers who complete their entire Challenge. Busy behind the scene and closely watching the dots on the computer screen.

Start planning now for Challenge 2021. I am!
 
MNGreene
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09/16/2020 12:11AM
Grandma L: "Dang it! We still have 2 paddlers (Mzee and Voyager) out on big Sag! It is getting late (now 10:30 pm). Hope they are making good time with the wind being down! And by the way these two guys are both in their early 70's and going strong.
Tomorrow I start baking the pans of brownies to take to the Casino for munching on around the campfire that overlooks Lake Superior. This afternoon, we put the finishing touches on the Bear Claw necklace awards to be given to the paddlers who complete their entire Challenge. Busy behind the scene and closely watching the dots on the computer screen.

Start planning now for Challenge 2021. I am!"


a. Hi Grandma L!
b. No worries. Looks like they may have located a campsite. Got across the worst of Sag!
c. Yum!
d. Nice
e. We are too!
 
JimmyJustice
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09/16/2020 08:30AM
A few random thoughts this morning as I continue to sit in my office and pout that my torn MCL kept me from participating this year.

Did you know that Mzee is Swahili for Elder? Makes sense since he is in his 70's, although I think he claims it means warrior or profound one or something like that. Go get em Mzee.

As you may know, this all started in 1968 when Verlan and Clint traversed the border route "just for fun" from Sha Sha to Grand Portage MN in 80 hours 40 min. Their time was the gold standard for 50 years. Clint was kind enough to share some great pictures with us, showing what and how they packed. Obviously their definition of "packing light" is way different than today's version. Clint's recall of their adventure now more than 50 years ago is sharp and oh so entertaining. He has been great to talk to and learn from.

Since then:

BeaV did a solo fishing trip that took 15 days. I think he used that time to commit to memory every rock, tree and bend along the route. It was his "just for fun" trip.

2015 - BeaV, MeatPuppet and White Wolfe did the VC in 155+ hours. They brought fishing gear and maybe a camp chair.
2016 - BeaV, me and WW did the VC in 126 hours (who knew I'd be a near 20 hour upgrade from MP? :))
2017 - BeaV did the KW solo from further west than Sha Sha in 91 hours. Yup, a longer trip that anyone does now, solo in 91 hours. Tip 'o the cap.
2018 - Our crew, now 6 strong (BeaV, Kendra, MeatPuppet, White Wolfe, Deke and myself) did the KW in 122 hours.
2019 (May) - Peter (Kelso) and Matt did the KW in 69.29 hours. Outstanding effort on their part! Happy for them but angry at the same time. Felt like the Packers won the NFC. :) Seriously, they did a great job and earned our respect for sure.
2019 - (August) BeaV and Kendra set the record at 63.16 hours. Not much sleep on that trip. We have a great picture of Kendra finishing with a smile on her face and nearly clean clothes. 63.16, wow.
2019 - (Sept) Our crew (now at 8 with the addition of McPIpes and Esteban) does the KW in 94.33 hours. We left a couple hours on the bone, in my opinion. A near perfect execution but a couple of small strategic errors (a small navigational misstep, racing across South Fowl and burning too much energy - swamping a canoe on the Pigeon etc) kept us, in my opinion from touching 90 hours. None the less we had fun (if you can call it that) and answered the only question we had...how long does it take 8 people to get across the BWCA? Now we know.
2019 - The three man rookie crew from Shakopee did the KW in roughly 88 hours. Nice job newbies. Nice job.
2019 - Muddyfeet did the KW solo in a very fast boat he made himself in 84 hours. Excellent work MF!
2020 - Kendra does the KW solo and then turns around and starts paddling from Prairie Portage to GP all over again. Fun.

Everyone is roughly 97 hours into this year's adventure, with team BeaV leading the way by having Gunflint behind them. In prior years, folks would be done by now. WOW. Last year we hit Gunflint at roughly hour 65. We rested on Cove and did the last 30 hours from Cove to GP in one push. As you may have surmised, this year our crew is on a pleasure cruise. No night paddling, lots of time in camp, fishing gear...smelling the roses so to speak.

Others, too numerous to mention here, have for a variety of reasons (some well known and some private) undertaken the challenge to go from Sha Sha, Crane, or Moose to GP. In any event, each took upon themselves the task of trying. Not everyone completed the route they set upon, nor have we all met the goals we set for ourselves. None-the-less all have tried, all have failed in some respect, all have triumphed, and now all have a story to tell.

Stay safe and have fun! I for one am looking forward to multiple trip reports.

JJ
 
skier
member (6)member
 
09/16/2020 10:17AM
This is really fun to watch the progress of the paddlers. I am getting inspired. I happen to be doing a trip next week with my Dad from Loon lake to Basswood on the border route. Just a trip for fun, but now it might be viewed through my eyes as Reconnaissance!
 
Grandma L
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09/16/2020 10:59AM
Morning SPOT dot watchers! Happy to report that Hiawashe, Judy from Florida, is safe and in Ely. Sadly, she dropped out at Prairie Portage this morning. The rest of the Brigade are on the water and moving fast!
Humm along, "I'm a dot watcher, I'm a dot watcher, here comes one now....."
 
Grandma L
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09/16/2020 11:04AM
MNGreene: "Grandma L:
Start planning now for Challenge 2021. I am!"

a. Hi Grandma L!
b. No worries. Looks like they may have located a campsite. Got across the worst of Sag!
c. Yum!
d. Nice
e. We are too!
"

Hey there MN Greene, so good to hear from you!! Looking forward to having your "super trio" back in the Challenge. We will have to keep in touch over the winter.
 
09/16/2020 11:37AM
What a great writeup, JimmyJustice! Thanks for putting this together - including some details I didn't know. Being compared to the Packers is a supreme insult! But seriously, no one has more respect for BeaV and Kendra's accomplishment than Matt and me.
 
09/16/2020 12:52PM
Fascinating to see Jimmy's synopsis of the history of the challenge. Really thinking hard to taking part one way or another next year.
 
Grandma L
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09/16/2020 01:22PM
Cricket67: "Fascinating to see Jimmy's synopsis of the history of the challenge. Really thinking hard to taking part one way or another next year. "
We would love to have you join the group. They are a great group of folks. Friendly and dedicated to the event.
 
MNGreene
member (15)member
 
09/16/2020 03:42PM
Cricket67: "Fascinating to see Jimmy's synopsis of the history of the challenge. Really thinking hard to taking part one way or another next year. "

Go for it, Cricket! MNKC gets in your blood like other adventure races, long bike treks (e.g. RAGBRAI or MS150) or other endurance events you do with a group (even if you do it solo). You think about the Challenge fondly, even though you hurt at the time, and you have a special bond with the other challengers. Hope to see you in 2021.

Agree, JJ's summary was fun!
 
Mocha
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09/16/2020 05:26PM
Way to go those using stand up paddle boards, wow, they are keeping up really well.

Thank you, just, for your heartfelt and descriptive review.
 
Twins87
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09/16/2020 08:19PM
Thank you everyone... I follow and enjoy every year. I am in awe of everyone who attempts and finishes this challenge. It is a great deal of fun to watch. Especially in a year that I didn't take an overnight canoe trip. Congrats all. Incredible accomplishment. Look forward to hearing more from all involved.
 
09/16/2020 08:38PM
Day 5, and everyone is nearing the home stretch. Seems like JoshT, Clewless, Voyager, and Mzee have met up at a campsite on North Lake (mile 176). It would be neat if they were all able to camp together tonight. Not shown on the map, Voyager Challengers LaughingWarrior/SonOfWar started tracking this morning at South Lake and were on South Fowl at 5:33 pm.

We haven't had an update from Chiggins and Birch for 9 hours, so it's safe to say that they are probably not far behind BeaV and company. BeaV and Kendra's group was on Mountain Lake (mile 193) a couple hours ago. Looks like they've been taking the time to enjoy the sights today - they even pulled out of the water for a couple hours this afternoon and hiked the Border Route Trail to the top of the spectacular cliff on Watap Lake. Good for them! Keep going strong.

 
Grandma L
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09/16/2020 10:01PM
The 2 Stand Up Paddle Boarders are doing well! They worked pretty hard today crossing Big Sag. Their boards will deflate for the Grand Portage. The boards weigh 25+ pounds and will be strapped on top of their pack for the 9 mile Grand Portage trail.



 
09/17/2020 06:44AM
Grandma L: "The 2 Stand Up Paddle Boarders are doing well! They worked pretty hard today crossing Big Sag. Their boards will deflate for the Grand Portage. The boards weigh 25+ pounds and will be strapped on top of their pack for the 9 mile Grand Portage trail."

That's Awesome! I've been pulling for these guys!
 
paddlinjoe
distinguished member (394)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/17/2020 08:29AM
Grandma L: "The 2 Stand Up Paddle Boarders are doing well! They worked pretty hard today crossing Big Sag.
"


I can't fathom doing a paddle board in windy wavy conditions. Hats off to them. Very impressive.
 
Grandma L
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09/17/2020 09:13AM
paddlinjoe: "Grandma L: "The 2 Stand Up Paddle Boarders are doing well! They worked pretty hard today crossing Big Sag.
"

I can't fathom doing a paddle board in windy wavy conditions. Hats off to them. Very impressive."

Hey Joe, great to hear from you. You in for 2021? It would be great to have you with us again!! Once a Challenger always a Challenger!

2017 Start at Piragis-Mzee (David), BeaV, Muddy Feet (Kevin), Paddlin Joe!
 
jfinn
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09/17/2020 09:53AM
Thanks Grandma L for the updates and info. I love watching from my PC every year and am truly envious of those able to participate.

My kids are big soccer players and I hate missing anything. The timing of this just doesn't work for me so please keep it going for another 5 or 6 years!!!!

Thanks for the perspective and history JJ.
I did paddle the route from Crane Lake in June in 144.5 hours solo and it blows my mind that these guys and others on the board have pushed so much harder and farther. Hats off to them all, true wilderness waterman (and women)

And the paddle boarders, seriously? Imagine being on Sag and the wind kicking up? Um no thanks.

John
 
Basspro69
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09/17/2020 10:40AM
Good luck everyone stay safe !
 
missmolly
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09/17/2020 11:08AM
Grandma L: "missmolly: "Wonder Woman is make-believe.
Kendra is real!"

You said it Molly! You should do some writing about her?"


It would be an honor. Ask her if she's interested, please, and let me know.
 
09/17/2020 12:22PM
BeaV's group is on the Pigeon River, closing in on the long portage.
 
09/17/2020 12:28PM
Some of these folks... reminds me of something I heard once about a guide, to the effect that he had "transmission fluid instead of blood in his veins". Clearly it also applies with "she" and "her"...
 
09/17/2020 02:59PM
HighnDry: "BeaV's group is on the Pigeon River, closing in on the long portage."

Looks like Chiggins/Birch have joined BeaV's group, portaging around Partridge Falls right now.
 
Grandma L
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09/17/2020 03:13PM
Looks like we will be missing the Rendezvous party at Fort Charlotte tonight.
 
Grandma L
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09/17/2020 08:08PM
Our first paddlers are at the Grand Portage Fort.
Isaac, Laughing Warrior and his son, Son of War finished the MN Voyager Challenge and Chiggins and Birch crossed the finish line for the Kruger-Waddell Challenge.
Pictures coming tomorrow.
 
Mocha
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09/17/2020 09:26PM
So, do you think everyone will make it by Saturday? Is that the deadline?
Looking forward to pics and stories. Did Ben make it to partridge falls to see anyone?
 
09/17/2020 09:31PM
Mocha: "So, do you think everyone will make it by Saturday? Is that the deadline?
Looking forward to pics and stories. Did Ben make it to partridge falls to see anyone?"


He did. I got a text from him. He's in the casino now gambling :)
 
paddlinjoe
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09/18/2020 01:25PM
Grandma L: "paddlinjoe: "Grandma L: "The 2 Stand Up Paddle Boarders are doing well! They worked pretty hard today crossing Big Sag.
"

I can't fathom doing a paddle board in windy wavy conditions. Hats off to them. Very impressive."

Hey Joe, great to hear from you. You in for 2021? It would be great to have you with us again!! Once a Challenger always a Challenger!


2017 Start at Piragis-Mzee (David), BeaV, Muddy Feet (Kevin), Paddlin Joe! "


Hi Lori,
You have me thinking about it :-) Thanks for all you do to promote the event and support the paddlers and their families. I think the growing numbers of paddlers is a testament to your hospitality.

Joe
 
09/18/2020 03:27PM
Mocha, made it twice now to Partridge Falls. Magicpaddler is now n the grand portage. I’m at Cowboy Rd waiting. I want to be sure he is okay...

Here’s Kira at Partridge Falls...







She’s wondering when everyone is coming!
 
Mocha
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09/18/2020 07:00PM
That’s great, Ben! Did u see the paddleboarders? Do they need to finish but tomorrow?how is the party going?
Beautiful puppy!!
 
Mocha
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09/18/2020 08:08PM
So who is still out on the route?
 
Mocha
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09/19/2020 12:48PM
I see the paddle boarders are at ft charlotte! Wow. Wonder if they and the last paddler sitting there will hike out together
 
Grandma L
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09/19/2020 04:03PM
Wow, busy day meeting paddlers! Only the SUP guys to finish.
This year has been the best. Pictures to come - after the award ceremony and shenanigans. the shenanigans went a little late - sorry I didn't get back to this sooner.
 
Grandma L
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09/20/2020 07:50PM
The paddlers are all in, accounted for, the awards presented and celebrations are complete. Several of us are already home and reluctantly facing another Monday morning back in "civilization". Each paddler has their our own story. I hope we will have some trip reports to shine light on this year's event. For me, it was wonderful, more than usual! It was great to see old friends and just as mush fun to meet the new paddlers and watch the group bond and support each other. Here are some pics of them as they finish!

Chiggins and Birch - This year's first crew to come across the finish line!




Laughing Warrior and his paddle partner and son, Son of War. At 15 y.o., Son of War is the youngest paddler to ever join the Challenge. this is our first father/son team. Congratulations on completing your route!






Team BeaVer Fever




Magic Paddler at the Grand Portage Fort. Magic was our only night time finish arrival. here he is chatting with Nctry, Ben






Voyager and his paddling partners. Mzee, Prospector Josh and Clewless. All seasoned travelers







Conch and Nipper finished just in time for the awards ceremony. They can straight from the trail to the festivities.





Packing and heading out this morning. Families together, shuttle back to Ely and road trips back to the East coast and Florida. Time to start looking forward to next year!




 
paddlinjoe
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09/21/2020 09:32AM
Thanks for the pics GrandmaL! Lots of smiles.

Son of War, 16? and still smiling. Wow that is great. Very Impressive.
 
dentondoc
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09/21/2020 10:20AM
Just thought I'd add a recent picture of Magicpaddler since the shot above was a bit fuzzy.

This pic was taken during a tow ride across LLC in 2018 at the beginning of a two-week southwestern Quetico trip. I might add that Magic was a well-established septuagenarian even then (we have birth dates not very far apart).

dd

 
Grandma L
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09/21/2020 11:40AM
Thanks Dentodoc,
It was fun to have some friendly banter at the award ceremony, between our youngest paddler and our oldest. Magic, at 73, heads the brigade in that department. As a note, Magic started from Sha Sha a day later than the pack, due to permit issues. He then proceeded to catch the pack and passed the other "senior" gentleman and finished well ahead of them.
 
Grandma L
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09/21/2020 11:46AM
A special "Thanks" goes out support crew members Marcie Anderson and our own BWCA.com NCTRY (Ben).
Marcie, Mrs. Voyager, helped with "dot watching" and being in Ely to help both Kendra and Judy with support, and shuttle to and from Moose Lake and Grand Portage!

Nctry-Ben for his shuttle assistance for Magic Paddler at the Start for the Challenge. Ben also volunteered to shuttle Nipper, a SUP guy, from Grand Portage back to I. Falls to pick up his vehicle. And, if that wasn't enough, Ben met paddlers at partridge Falls to cheer them on as they maneuvered the last miles of the Pigeon River before the Fort Charlotte check point.

A great support team to say the very least!!
 
09/21/2020 12:27PM
Congrats to all the finishers and thanks Grandma L for all the updates and the great pictures.
 
09/21/2020 04:22PM
Grandma L: "Kendra... is a determined, skilled and hardcore paddler with an unstoppable positive attitude. She is a great role model for other women and paddlers. I am very proud of my friend!"
I wanted to highlight parts of Grandma L's post for emphasis.

Just showing up for her solo attempt was difficult- juggling time between work, family, and the upcoming Kruger Waddell Challenge. When faced with a last-minute crappy weather outlook for her launch, she left home ahead of schedule arriving at Sha Sha at midnight ready to launch on no sleep and the dead of night. But, winds were already dangerous and a thunderstorm was nearing. She waited in her SUV until the thunder and lightning passed and winds seemed to dip a little before launching at 1:30 am knowing that strong winds gusting to 35 mph were coming. Holy smoly!- picture yourself standing on a shore of a huge lake, in the pitch blackness, thunderstorm just passed, no sleep, cold windy weather blowing the stiff lake reeds back and forth...the kind of conditions that would make most run for a motel room, and dangerous winds are coming. A tough way to start an adventure trip.

Then it got tougher, quickly...

 
LindenTree
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09/21/2020 04:58PM
Great job paddlers and support crew.
GrandmaL, wish I could have helped out, this event catches me on my Fall camping trip every year but 2018 when I went down to the southwest in October.
I'm in the UP of Michigan now.
 
Marshamallow
member (13)member
 
09/21/2020 10:26PM
He's actually 15.
 
skier
member (6)member
 
09/22/2020 07:50AM
RESPECT to all the paddlers, looks like so much fun.
 
airmorse
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09/22/2020 08:13AM
Congrats everyone. Glad everyone stayed safe.

Some day I would love to participate in this.
 
09/22/2020 09:03AM
This year's recap-

It was the best year ever for good winds, either slight tailwind or calm. Nice cool temperatures, maybe a bit cool for our southern guests with one night dipping down in the 20's. Almost no rain. Portages dry. Pigeon River was low flow so this made for an obstacle.

17 of the 18 Challengers finished. 17 of the 18 Challengers told me they're coming back next year (and the one who said "no" or "probably not" always says that:) )

First year for stand up paddleboarders to attempt the Challenge. Made it!

No one really planned on setting speed records but many probably set personal records. It would have been the perfect year for speed records minus the Canadian border crossing prohibition.

My team's goal was to go our slowest ever >150 hours but this was hard for us. We took more rest breaks to stretch our legs, we had campfires almost every morning and night, we ate our food slowly (even chewing before swallowing), almost no night time paddling, and took a side field trip up to the Rose Lake cliff (pic attached). Still we finished under 150 hours....dang it!

Looking forward to next year!!!!
 
09/22/2020 01:47PM
Grandma L: Paddlers are from all across the country. Four are from Florida, 1 Oklahoma, 1 West Virginia and the rest are Minnesota."
Grandma L - oops, you better get a spreadsheet going...

I can think of 1 from Michigan, 2 from Wisconsin, 3 from Illinois, 1 from Connecticut, and 1 from Iowa. But all seemed to be MN nice.
 
09/22/2020 02:32PM
Kelso: "HighnDry: "BeaV's group is on the Pigeon River, closing in on the long portage."


Looks like Chiggins/Birch have joined BeaV's group, portaging around Partridge Falls right now."

Hi Kelso!
I think early on, team BeaVer Fever pulled out in front of them because they were eating fancy table fare such as steak and hamburger for supper. Much later on, they passed us while we setup an early camp on Mountain Lake at the site with the giant white pine tree. I recognized them as they paddled on, hard and fast, using the tailwind to their advantage. I thought "that's the last we'll see of them, they are on a mission to finish strong" and they went on paddling long into the night, camping on one of the Fowl Lakes.

However, as I understand it, they ignored their alarm the next morning choosing the warmth of their sleeping bags over that of progress. We did catch up to them at Partridge Falls and then at Fort Charlotte. They chose to continue down the Grand Portage while my team took our turn at having fun.

It's fun to see other challengers along the way.
 
LindenTree
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09/22/2020 03:31PM
BeaV: "
Grandma L - oops, you better get a spreadsheet going...


I actually caught myself laughing out loud with that one BeaV.
 
Grandma L
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09/22/2020 05:02PM
BeaV: "Grandma L: Paddlers are from all across the country. Four are from Florida, 1 Oklahoma, 1 West Virginia and the rest are Minnesota."
Grandma L - oops, you better get a spreadsheet going...
I can think of 1 from Michigan, 2 from Wisconsin, 3 from Illinois, 1 from Connecticut, and 1 from Iowa. But all seemed to be MN nice."

Are you publicly teasing me??? It never stops - you boys! Sure are a fun bunch!
AND, I have more spread sheets than you do! I was working on your stats this afternoon.
 
09/23/2020 08:37AM
Grandma L: "BeaV: "Grandma L: Paddlers are from all across the country. Four are from Florida, 1 Oklahoma, 1 West Virginia and the rest are Minnesota."
Grandma L - oops, you better get a spreadsheet going...
I can think of 1 from Michigan, 2 from Wisconsin, 3 from Illinois, 1 from Connecticut, and 1 from Iowa. But all seemed to be MN nice."

Are you publicly teasing me??? It never stops - you boys! Sure are a fun bunch!
AND, I have more spread sheets than you do! I was working on your stats this afternoon. "

Sure am!

Yes, I know my team spent a lot of time in camp this year. That was the plan- move fast and efficient while traveling and have time for some camping when not moving. Quite the opposite of last year's trip. 2019 trip report
 
09/23/2020 01:16PM























A few of the paddlers I saw at Partridge Falls... sorry Kendra, I didn’t realize how dark you’d be...
 
GoWhenYouCan
member (14)member
 
09/25/2020 09:01AM
What a great event. I enjoy following along every year.
Congrats to all the participants and thanks to everyone that posted updates, information and pictures.
My daughter, son, brother and I did the route from Crane Lake in the fall of 2018. What a special and memorable trip it was.
Joining this group in the next couple years is on my bucket list.
 
Conchistador
member (18)member
 
09/25/2020 01:37PM
here is our video trip report. next year I'm going to drop a few pounds of gear and do a little more portage training - by a little more I mean do some portage training :-) All in all I'm real pleased with the performance of the boards and the tail winds were nice. 2 SUPs conquer the Kruger/Waddell Challenge



 
Grandma L
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09/25/2020 02:28PM
Conchistador: "here is our video trip report. next year I'm going to drop a few pounds of gear and do a little more portage training - by a little more I mean do some portage training :-) All in all I'm real pleased with the performance of the boards and the tail winds were nice. 2 SUPs conquer the Kruger/Waddell Challenge



"






Hey Scott, thanks for posting your video. I was just going to put it out for the BWCA.com folks to view! Great job!!
 
GoWhenYouCan
member (14)member
 
09/26/2020 08:31PM
Hi Scott, Just finished watching your trip video and enjoyed it very much. Thank you for sharing.
Congratulations to both of you for completing the challenge. That's quite an accomplishment!
 
09/26/2020 10:22PM
Cool video Scott, thanks for documenting for us.
 
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