I don’t know why paddleboard travel stood out to me, but after years of a growing desire and formulation of the plan, I set it in action and secured a permit for Little Vermilion River- the western entry point of the BWCAW – for September 5th, 2022.

The Krueger-Waddell Challenge was allegedly spurred initially from the story of Sir George Simpson, who in the 1800’s with speed in mind led a team over an established fur trade route from International Falls to the Grand Portage and Lake Superior in 6.5 days. The route was more firmly established in the 1970’s with a paddling team of the names Verlen Krueger and Clint Waddell. Their revered and stout record of 80 hours stood for decades but has since been beaten by at least one tandem canoe team. Records on the same route technically from Sha-Sha Point at the edge of Voyageurs National Park to the west, and Lake Superior to the east, following the border of the USA and Canada through the Boundary Waters, have been set by solo canoes, maybe kayak, but also stand up paddleboard. The stand up paddleboard record was 7 days, 10 hours, 35 minutes, set in 2020 by Scott Baste and I thought I can do 5 days.

I learned about the Krueger-Waddell Challenge through WaterTribe about racing-style stand up paddleboards around the same time. It took years to put the seed of an idea into action, but I was pretty focused and committed after paying for Boundary Waters permits for three different trips leading up to the trip 9 months out. I had a lot of time to train and prepare, but didn’t do too much specific work until the end of June.

My goal to get in shape was paddle as much as I could on a day-to-day basis and a mileage basis, and some specific efforts like races and BWCA simulations:

Training went good for the time spent. I could have paddled way more, and perhaps to more benefit I could have done supplementary strength training, which I didn’t. I got a good lead-up, though, and by late August felt really good. I had been racking miles on Lake Superior by portaging my board .75 miles straight to the lake, which conveniently is at Leif Erickson Park in Duluth. There is a nice landing and the portage back with tired arms was excellent training. I got it down to one change of the hands, typically between 2nd and 3rd Streets on 10th Ave East. I had my spot.

Logistics came together hastily, but Em and my parents and siblings helped me tremendously.

On to Day 1


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