OUTDOORS: Hoff begins another extreme adventure todayA 2,500-mile hike, a 10,000-mile bike ride and a canoe trip from coast to coast across the United States — these are just a few of the accomplishments on Larry Hoff’s long list of adventures.
By: Emily Kram, Superior Telegram
A 2,500-mile hike, a 10,000-mile bike ride and a canoe trip from coast to coast across the United States — these are just a few of the accomplishments on Larry Hoff’s long list of adventures. In the last decade, the former Superior High School teacher and coach has pedaled, paddled and walked distances most others would only dream of covering in a car.
Now in his mid-60s, Hoff is looking to take on lighter challenges this spring and coming summer. In the world of Larry Hoff, a 465-mile canoe voyage from Detroit to Chicago constitutes a “light” trip.
The Ultimate Hugh Heward Challenge begins today and runs through May 9. This is the first year of the event, which is a reenactment of the route 18th-century British trader Hugh Heward traveled across the lower peninsula of Michigan.
Among other things, the challenge includes a 50-mile day on the Grand River, an 8-mile portage and jaunts on Lake Michigan and Lake Erie.
Once Hoff finishes his current endeavor, he has three other challenges in mind. Just after the Heward Challenge or in the fall, he plans to paddle the length of the Wisconsin River from Wisconsin’s eastern border to the Mississippi River. In all, the distance will be about 430 miles.
On land, Hoff is looking to hike the Superior Hiking Trail (244 miles) and get back on his bike to take on the Great Divide Bike Route, which runs about 2,709 miles along the backbone of the continent. Along the route, Hoff has climbs of a very grueling nature, with several 10,000 to 12,000-foot passes in Colorado.
Hoff set off for his Detroit to Chicago canoe adventure Wednesday and hopes to keep a blog as he moves along. The following is a recent segment of Hoff’s journal entries. For more about his current adventure, visit Hoff’s Web site: www.lhoff.com.
The trip was starting out just a little too smoothly for my liking. I’d already had my gear put together two days in advance rather than an hour before leaving and most of the honey-do list was done. Just didn’t feel right being so prepared. Anyway, at 9 a.m., after saying my goodbyes, I headed down the driveway only to turn around about a mile down the road and head back to the house. Half an hour later, after searching all over the house, my mother-in-law, who’s 94, found my glasses and I started out again. Thanks, Glenys! Things were getting back to normal real quick.
Thursday, Jim (McIntyre) and I will head to Detroit where I will hook up with 7 others who plan to do this challenge starting on Friday at 8:30 in the morning. The challenge is actually a fundraiser for The Verlin Kruger Memorial, which is being built in Portland, Mich. along the Grand River, one of the rivers we will be paddling. Verlin is considered the guru when it comes to long distance paddling. It is a Kruger canoe which he designed that I used to paddle from the Atlantic to the Pacific and will be using on this trip.
When I was doing research for what type of canoe to use on my cross country trip, a friend told me about Verlin Kruger and his adventures and canoe designs. The day I called I found out he’d passed away the night before. Bad timing, but I was intrigued and continued to learn as much as I could about this man and his adventures. Needless to say it’s an amazing story, and I suggest you take a look at www.verlinkruger.com.
So, it is in honor and memory of Verlin that I decided to participate in the Hugh Heward Challenge, in the hope I can be of some help in drawing awareness to the project so the many friends of Verlin’s will in the near future see the memorial become a reality.