Houghton, MI, September 30, 2009 --(PR.com
)-- Adventurers Hannah Williams and Matt Abbotts launched their kayaks on June 9, 2009 with hopes of circumnavigating the world’s largest body of freshwater. The couple’s motivation for the trip stemmed from a combined interest in endurance adventuring and to see Lake before the ecological impacts of global climate change, invasive species, and shoreline development further alter the very unique ecosystem of the lake they currently call home. One of Matt and Hannah’s goals on this trip was to gain some skills and experience in kayaks seeing as they were no experts in the field of paddling upon their departure.
Abbotts, who grew up in Beaverton, MI is a recent graduate of Michigan Technological University where Williams, of Rochester, MI, is working on her B.S. in Forestry. Matt and Hannah met during the winter of 2008 and formed a relationship based on outdoor adventure. Their connection grew stronger during many ice climbing and snowshoeing trips. In the spring of 2008 Matt thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail. After completing the trail in early July, Matt headed back to Michigan and joined Hannah in her work with the Great Lakes Center for Exotic Species. Shortly thereafter, Williams and Abbotts decided that another large-scale adventure was in order. Lake Superior was right out their back door and seemed like the perfect venue for the trip of a lifetime.
The couple spent the winter months preparing for the trip. They began by building their website, www.asuperioradventure.com as a vector of communication with their friends, families, and the public throughout the trip. Preparation has also included researching towns on the Lake, compiling gear, putting together a series of maps for navigation, planning meals, dehydrating food and paddling their boats at every opportunity – even among chunks of ice in February.
The pair paddled out of Houghton, MI heading west for what would be a 75+ day journey. The details of the trip’s course along with the paddlers’ accounts of their journey can be found at www.asuperioradventure.com. The first days of their trip brought sunshine and flat water. The paddlers’ luck soon changed as the weather on Lake Superior this summer turned out to be some of the worst in recent memory with colder temperatures, stronger and more erratic winds and bigger waves than usual. The bad weather wore on the paddlers, but the occasional day of sunshine or flat water helped rebound morale after days of paddling on big waves or being tent-bound.
Despite long, cold days in the boats, Matt and Hannah were both very happy to have had the experience of viewing Lake Superior, in its entirety, from the water. The shoreline of Lake Superior offers countless vistas from the rocky shores of Minnesota to the islands of Ontario and the cliffs of Michigan’s Pictured Rocks. The couple was repeatedly surprised by the variation and magnificence of Lake Superior’s coast and felt privileged to see so many places that are rarely touched by the presence of humans due to their limited accessibility.
The personal component of the trip could have turned out to be a challenge. It doesn’t matter how well matched and comfortable two people are together, 75 days of communicating almost exclusively with one other individual, sharing food, sharing shelter, and enduring the hardships encountered in the wilderness can really wear on a relationship. Fortunately in Hannah and Matt’s case this was not an issue. The two were able to appreciate how special it is to have someone to share this type of adventure with. They found comfort in each other’s passion for the trip and strength in each other’s willingness to deal with the hardships that were involved. Both Matt and Hannah feel that they were really lucky to find each other.
Hannah and Matt paddled back into Houghton, MI, triumphantly crossing beneath the town’s lift bridge on September 6th, 2009. The trip ended up taking a total of 77 days and covering a little over 1,200 miles of shoreline. If you’d like to learn more about Lake Superior or Matt and Hannah’s adventure you can visit their website at www.asuperioradventure.com The site currently hosts a short biography of each of the paddlers along with both Matt and Hannah’s journals and pictures from the trip. Both journals and pictures are still being updated so be sure to check back regularly.