April 6, 1998:
The first journal entry by rights should come at least a month before the trip because "in spirit" I have already begun paddling in my mind. Yes, those of you that paddle know exactly what I am talking about. That magic time in doing final preparations for a trip that marks the time when you are actually starting, this is the time when you pack your gear it stays packed until the first night on the trail. Dont forget, of course the two weeks of work you do the night before the trip.
I have been busy this winter preparing for my May 2 departure from Duluth. See below putting the decal on the side of the kayak. Putting on that decal was a milestone of sorts. It was really the point that I knew exactly where I am going, "Duluth to Hudson Bay." You will notice no words describe all that will take place between those two geographical points on the map. When I get down after hundreds of miles and I start to lose steam I can look to either side of the Kayak and see exactly where I am going, but it will be those special moments that I will remember the real goal. You know those times, when you watch the moose with her young walk along the shore or the loons that know you are no threat to them and swim so close that you can see the pupils of their eyes. And when you look into their eyes they are communicating. You may not know exactly what at the time, but with practice you will understand.
I did find time to attend the Minnesota Canoe Association annual meeting last February. I brought my kayak to display along side the many other exhibits. I talked to many people about the specialized equipment that I will use. Many people want to do similar video and were able to get some ideas from my setup.
As you might guess, the last six months have involves physical training. This includes weight training and recently I have started portaging my kayak around town. My first Portage will be the 8 ½ mile Grand Portage. I will find out then if I worked hard enough in my pre-training. Because of the video and camera equipment I will have with I am forced to make a two trip portage. That means that Grand Portage will be 25.5 miles long 17 of which I will be carrying a load.
Training for a kayak expedition cannot be complete without getting on the water as soon as the ice goes off. Here my training partner Chris Bartz and my self are paddling on the Chippewa River that goes through my home town in Benson.