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I had planned an open-ended trip, because I have never been past Stephan's during the past 17 years I've paddled the Au Sable. Therefore, I wanted to make McMasters for dinner. Parmalee would be a nicer spot for camp but, as the nicest fly fishing persons will tell, my red boat was making good time.
By 4:30, the Mio Dam was under my feet and my campsite was downstream 30 minutes away. After boiling water to prepare mac and cheese, the tent went up and I was inside. Feeling mentally beat, alone and tired, a desperate try to obtain a cell signal and a ride home, left me to gather my goals and sleep for the night.
Morning came with hot coffee, beef jerky and fog on the river. A 7:00 departure was quiet and quick; Mio to the rear. Looking ahead for today, Tuesday, another 50 miles wouldn't be that hard, if I just took my time. Snapping pictures of deer, canadian geese and pilated woodpeckers, left little time to worry about pain. You see, I have 2 stainless rods down the center of my left humerous after a snowmobile accident. The rods have little hooks used for removal that have been irritating most all of my shoulder. After compensating, my left forearm muscles became strained and the tips of my right hand fingers became numb.
Pushing on, the next 4 dams came and went during an 11-hour duration of paddling. OK, I'll say it: The ponds suck! If you aren't paddling, you aren't moving. Tuesday night's campsite was somewhere East of Cooke. Up bright and foggy Wednesday, 2 hours to the Foote, I called my wife at 8:00 A.M. so she could start her trek from our house in Gaylord. I arrived at the marathon finish line at 10:00 sharp; the wife arrived at 10:51.
All total: 24 hours paddling. One man. One kayak. One rarely reached goal. I too felt as if I finished something awesome. My own marathon. A trip most will never make. You should see those pictures!
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