In the aftermath of the Krueger-Waddell Challenge, I made a pretty easy recovery. My body and mind bounced back almost immediately except my hands. On the final day, easily the hardest day while slowly trudging down the Pigeon River, I told myself that the trip was stupid and not fun. Even later that day, I realized that the trip was pretty damn cool. That weekend, I acknowledged that had had fun out there in the Boundary Waters. And back to Duluth to my normal life, the trip was certainly amazing. In retrospect, the pain, the struggle, the fear was all worth it.
I got the question quite a bit: would you do it again? And I don’t know that I would. Doing the 250-mile route in a tandem canoe would be really fun, over two weeks or 100 hours. I think traveling through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness on a stand up paddleboard is truly excellent. That will be repeated. Furthermore, my time of 5 days, 10 hours, 30 minutes can be reduced substantially. I can go faster on the “Border Route”. I could go through the night to shave off days. It is feasible, yet practically unfathomable.
For now, I am proud to have the fastest stand up paddleboard time on the historic Krueger Waddell Challenge route from Sha-Sha Point on Rainy Lake to Lake Superior. The spirit of adventurers, voyageurs, and especially the indigenous people who traveled that exact same route thousands of times over thousands of years before me was evident throughout the trip. The intense feeling of connection I experienced over six solo days in the Voyageurs National Park, the Boundary Waters, and Grand Portage will stick with me forever.