It always seems that no matter how much preparation you do beforehand, the last few days before a big (or even little) trip are filled with more lists, last minute purchases and some anxious moments when you fear you must’ve forgotten something.
I’ve been contemplating a river record for quite some time now and I’ve decided on the Wisconsin River for this spring. Between May 21st and, hopefully, early on May 26th I’ll be paddling the 430 Mile length of the Wisconsin River. The existing Solo record is 6 days 10 hours, set about 20 years ago. This will be the first attempt in a kayak and I’m hoping to break the record by about 20-24 hours.
The river begins as a trickle in the Upper Penninsula of Michigan and runs, pretty much, the entire length of the state of Wisconsin. The river also drains over 1/4 of the state’s area, hence the name Wisconsin River. The Wisconsin is known as the “hardest working” river in America, so I’ll be portaging around 25 human made dams and who knows how many beaver dams in the upper reaches.
In preparation I spoke with Mike Schnitzka, who is one of the tandem who hold the current tandem record on the Wisconsin River (4 days 2 hours). He gave me a pretty good idea of the punishment my body will take while paddling 20 hours a day for 5 days straight. I chose to do the entire river in one boat, so a compromise was necessary. In the upper stretches of the river, I’ll find whitewater up to class III and on the many resevoirs created by the dams I’ll find the open water conditions of large inland lakes. I chose to paddle a plastic Capella 160. Although I’ll lose some flatwater speed, I won’t have to worry about breaking my boat on the whitewater sections.
I am doing the record attempt with a support vehicle and my friend Joel Knutson is joining me for this endurance fest. The attempt will be made into a short video for KAYAK JOURNAL and LVM, so you can watch for that in the near future. KAYAK JOURNAL and LVM are two video magazines that show the state of sea and whitewater paddling today.
Joel will probably be posting some additional blogs WHILE I’m paddling on the record attempt, so please watch for the posts over the next 5-6 days. He’ll also be posting photos, so give a holler if you like what you see.
See you all in a few Days,