Archive for September, 2010

Full Circle

Author: Ruth

Circumnavigation of Lake Michigan complete.

Monday, October 27, 2010. On this uncharacteristically calm day, Stephen (center, above) and two friends, Wayne Blomberg (green kayak) and Zach Champion (blue kayak) paddled the last miles of the trip around Lake Michigan and into Petoskey Harbor. They were met with hugs (and champagne) from excited friends and family members who were both proud of the amazing voyage and happy to have Stephen back in their lives again!


L to R: Tim Calloway, Kat Biddle, Wayne Blomberg, Cindy Mom, Ryan Bentley, Gabe Paterson-Hatton, Katie Burns, Zach Champion, Karen Clark, Matt Pierle, Kristy, Perry D. Clark, Babette Stenuis, Timmo Skallerup. Front: Stephen Brede, Ruth Paterson Brede.


Author: Stephen

Stephen at Fisherman's Island State Park on 9-25-2010.


Day 95 of voyage.

Day 60 of paddling.

850 miles around Lake Michigan, not counting today, the final leg.


Spent six hours on Sunday battling headwinds  with Michael Everts. We put in at Fisherman’s Island State Park, and paddled about 11 miles to a DNR boat ramp a couple of miles west of Nine Mile Point. We stopped for a half hour at McSauba Beach to catch our breath, have some lunch, and stretch on the warm sand.

Today, about 1 p.m., I’m headed out with Wayne Blomberg, and anyone else crazy enough to join us, for what should be the final 11 or so miles back to the mouth of the Bear River, in Petoskey. Should be arriving there between 5 and 5:30 p.m. I’ll immediately portage from there to a bar stool at the Noggin Room.

It took a lot more than a canoe and paddle to get around this big, beautiful lake. Thanks and love to everyone who gave such wonderful support along my way. May the winds forever be at your back!

Beach Bum

Author: Ruth

Self portrait of Stephen with wireless keyboard and iPhone, demonstrating how he occasionally sends a post for the website.

Sept. 16, 2010

Three miles north of Manistee, and I’ve spent yet another day on the beach. Radio yesterday said cold, rain and wind would be rolling in and they were right. I just managed to get Seaweed snuggled next to a stand of cedars and the tarp from her starboard to the trees before the rain came. Propped up the center of the tarp with a paddle, and huddled under it to cook a delicious packet of curry, complemented with shallots and a jalapeno pepper Ruth harvested from the Community Garden. Slept well but was awakened a couple of times by lightening, and an unknown critter shrieking at, I believe, me.

It’s been very windy all day, but the sun burst through for a good portion of it, and I managed to give the sleeping bag, tarps, rain gear and damp clothing a good drying out. I spent the day reading “The Boat Who Wouldn’t Float”, by Farley Mowat. A story I can relate to. Hopefully I’ll be able to get on the water tomorrow.

(ed. Stephen reached Frankfort last night, pulling into the harbor from eight foot swells out on the lake. Around one hundred miles to go.)

Gales of September

Author: Ruth

West wind and wild waves.

Stephen told me earlier this summer that he had adopted a motto he heard from canoeist Stephanie Parks, who paddled the Great Lakes Canadian coastline with her husband. “It’s better to be on land wishing you were on the water, than on the water wishing you were on land.”  He’s been doing a lot of wishing to be on the water lately. The back to back to back storm systems of late August and early September have kept Stephen on shore for 12 of the last 20 days. He has had time to repair gear, read a book or two that I brought him on my occasional resupply visits and practice patience and good judgment. So far, all of us who care for him are happy to know that he is using one of his favorite values, safety first.

Maybe if we all together wished for calm seas….

Returning to Grand Haven at sunset.

Riding the beach

Author: Stephen

View from the bluff north of Muskegon where Stephen is waiting for the wind to let him back on the water.

Let's see, I'm going on my fifth night here. And the wind and waves are
only getting bigger. There's been a small craft warning since I pulled over,
and today they said gale force winds would be whistling in from 2 p.m.
today until 2 p.m. Saturday.

The little notch in the wooded dune where I've rigged the tarp and
hammock is as good as I can expect, but there are only a few thin trees
between me and the beach below, and the wind is howling like
jets blasting off an aircraft carrier. Last night it rained torrents.
Thunder and lightning punctuated the pitch black sky. The two trees
the hammock is suspended from swayed to and fro, and I felt like
I was trying to sleep on a trampoline between a couple of gorillas.

I spend the day tying and retying the tarp lines. I fiddle with the straps
and clips on the rucksack, move this to that pocket, and that to this.
I wade into the lake and scoop a pot of water to cook with.I take photos
of the waves, which is like taking photos of the Grand Canyon.I climb
the dune, and look down on the gulls and vultures. I finish"The Wild Trees,"
a fascinating book about majestic trees, passionate people, and the rope,
and hope, that brings them together. A really great book.
Maybe I'll read it again tomorrow.


Stephen Brede
314 Rush St.
Petoskey, Mich., usa 49770
h: 231.348.5499
c: 231.633.3345

Gale force winds coming...


Author: Ruth

During his travels along the shoreline of Lake Michigan, Stephen has been busy documenting, when not busy paddling. Thousands of photos have come into GreatLakesCanoe Central here in Petoskey. One could sort some into categories if one had enough time, and the inclination, for instance: natural phenomena, flotsam and other trash, birds, monarch butterfly rescue, beach architecture, campsites, industry at water’s edge, watercraft, new friends, lighthouses, the lake. Here are a random few of the beautiful lighthouses Stephen has met and photographed. Around 100 lighthouses still look out from  Lake Michigan shores.

Algoma Pierhead Lighthouse on the Door Peninsula, Wisconsin

St. Joseph Pierhead Light, Michigan

Chicago Harbor Lighthouse

Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal North Peirhead Lighthouse, on the Door Peninsula.

Wind Point Lighthouse, located in Wisconsin south of Milwaukee.

Rawley Point Lighthouse, north of Manitowac, WI