Having just posted to this blog yesterday morning whining about how kids today are having all the fun, I got a calm but needy call from Erik Simula. This is the gentleman paddling his 13-foot birch bark canoe around Minnesota’s Arrowhead. The canoe has about an inch of freeboard, so just a little wave will roll over the gunnels. He’d completed the entire Minnesota North Shore, with ten days windbound.
As detailed in today’s Duluth News Tribune, Erik got swamped by the wild waves coming through the Duluth Ship Canal. No small craft should be in that canal, ever. A crew from the Duluth Fire Department came out and rescued him, his dog Kitigan, and his boat, sort of in that order.
Erik needed a place to dry off and to regain his senses. He remembered that I’d offered him a stopping place and, through a mutual friend, called me up.
We got his clothes in the dryer, got some coffee and turkey sandwiches in him, swapped some tales, then sent him on his way.
His canoe was at the Coast Guard station, which is just two blocks from our house. Here he is, with Kitigan, getting ready to take off again after some canoe repair:
Erik is MY AGE. He’s 44. He’s not some young punk. He’s not putting his trip in YouTube. He needs that extra time to apply more pitch to the seams of his canoe.
Fair winds, Erik…enjoy it, old man!
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