He-Man Trip Reports

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1999 by Todd Byrne

It was a dark and stormy night. There were but 10 of us, with but one rookie to initiate. However, this was going to new for many of us, as the route was very different from years past.  But I amgetting ahead of myself. 

The 1999 he-man canoe trip was attended by: Ron, Boyd, Dave,George, Al, Todd B., Kenny, Drew, Denny, and Todd D.  Scott showed up late Friday night to see us off, causing a little concern from Boyd, because we were not expecting him, and we were not sure if he was expecting to canoe.  But Scott just wanted to wish everyone a good trip for the He-man. 

Todd B., Todd D. and Ron participated in the annual Friday golf outing prior to everyone's arrival Friday night.  This outing was at the St. Germain golf course.  It was not a stellar performance, I believeTodd B. did not win, but that is not a critical aspect of this story. 

This was the first year I have attended, where we did not have a volleyball event, but then people seemed to be arriving later than normal.  Eight of us went to dinner Friday night at the Pea Patch, Al and Dave did not make it.   It was a very good fish fry.  There was a specific reason for this trek for dinner, we needed to have several vehicles at the final drop-off point to return us to the cabin at the end of the trip.  This was the first year for this route, it was a one way trip and would not end-up back at the cabin.   

The first event of arm wrestling was still performed onFriday night, but just barely.  The results were as follows: 

Ron beat George (easily) 
Dave beat Boyd (both arms) 
Al beat Todd B. (again) 
Drew slaughtered Kenny 
Dennis outlasted Todd D. 
The duties were then selected as follows: 
Ron: Lumberjack 
Boyd: Morning Chef (and he did an excellent job) 
Dave: Night Cook 
George: Hatchet Man 
Al: Housing Corps 
Todd B.: Scribe 
Kenny: Gen. Housing Corps 
Drew: Supper KP 
Dennis: Breakfast KP 
Todd D.: Pyro 
George made comments that the pyro job should not be intrusted to a rookie, this should be a more senior job for those experienced he-man.  There was also much discussion between Dave and Ron about the ability to find acceptable camp sites on the new route. 

Trip overview: 
We were going a different route because it was thought that Stevenson Creek  would be too low and even more muddy than the previous year.  It had been very dry in Northern Wisconsin this year and this was causing very low water levels. 

The route had us travel across Trout Lake, down the Trout River.  The lake race was on Rice Lake and was performed to the culvert.  The order of the finish for this event was as follows: 
Drew and Dave (The only aluminum canoe on the trip! -ed)
Ron and Todd D. 
George and Denny 
Boyd and Todd 
Al and Kenny 

A summary of Saturday events were as follows: 

Water intake for Saturday was as follows: 
George - over gallon 
Todd B - ¾ to 1 gallon 
Denny - ¾ gallon 
Ron - 1 gallon 
Todd D. - ½ gallon 
Kenny - ½ gallon 
Dave - 1¼ gallons 
Boyd - ½ gallon 
Drew - 1 gallon 
Al - ½ gallon 
Unlike previous year's, the canoe Tug-of-war contest was also held on Saturday with the results as follows: 
Kenny & Al beat Todd B. and Boyd 
George & Dennis lost to Ron & Todd D. 
Dave & Drew took command of Kenny & Al 
The Championship Round was between Ron & Todd D. and Dave & Drew.  It was an intense final round with Dave & Drew in the lead for what seemed hours, until an unfortunate miscue caused their canoe to capsize; at which point Ron & Todd D. drug their prey for the win. 

The Hatchet throw was performed on new (rookie) stump.  The contest this year was more challenging than in the past, a multitude of excuses when people could not make it past the first round.  There were only 3 contestants that made it to the second round: Ron, George and Todd B.  It was a difficult contest, coming down to the last of three throws in the 3rd round before Todd B. made one stick, winning his first ever hatchet throw. 

It was a long day, but we started with a good breakfast of scrambled egg omlet  goolash with potatoes. Boyd confided to me that caterpillars were added as his secret ingredient. 

There was great anticipation for lunch, it was very long in coming.  We had a difficult upstream paddle that seemed to always be into the wind. Many times were heard the famous saying of: "the stop is just around the next bend".   The brownies at lunch disappeared very quickly. 

Locating the campsite Sunday night was a difficult exercise that required our group to separate and scout out the islands of the Turtle Flambeau.  This task was made more difficult with strong winds starting to create white caps on the Flambeau.  The search parties scouted at least 3-4 different island camps, with a vote being taken for a very good site that had a large beach.   It was a small island that had two campsites; we took the southeastern site. 

We were unsure of just how far we had to go to finish our trek.  The sky was ominous as we started in the morning, but it was more pleasant start on the Flambeau compared to the previous night.  Drew became a little annoying in the early morning paddle with his singing, but we all survived. 

The He-Man of the year was awarded at the break-lunchstop.  It was our last portage after the Flambeau.  There was civilization and even a real shitter if someone needed such an amenity.  Dave and Boyd went off for their own special meeting to arrive at a fair and just choice. Dennis was the choice for the year 2000, way to go Dennis! 

After the early break or lunch we started on the last river for the trip.   Not long after the break it started to rain on us.  We paddled through the rain on to the last lake as the rain let up to finish the trek.  We beached the canoes and baptized one another with our final swim as He-Men for another year. 

We finished the weekend's activities at Paul Bunyan's for the traditional \feed, reminiscing about our adventures and looking forward to the stories for the next year. 

1997 by Karl Feind

Summary Data
Dates:        May 24-26, 1997 

Weather:    Highs around 60, lows close to 40, light rain on 
                  Saturday, dry but windy on Sunday and Monday. 

Partners:     Dave Becker and Scott Ullenberg 
                  Boyd Roloff and Tim Greger 
                  George Mattson and Todd 
                  Al Siegl and Kenny 
                  Karl Feind and Ron Roloff 
                  Joshua Bengston and Drew Bengston 
                  Bob Clack and Mike Stenklyft 

Friday evening

Tim was last to arrive from Michigan at 11:00 PM.  It was a pleasant evening spent playing volleyball and watching bonfires.  The bonfires were burning the last rubble from the shed which had collapsed under the weight of snow during the winter. 

A neighbor stopped by to talk to us about the impending He-Man trip during one of the volleyball games. 


We put in at the usual place, at the old Leo's (sp?) cabin.  It was under new ownership this year, with a very large new cottage recently built there.   The new owners kindly permitted us to put in at their beach.  The paddle across Trout Lake was smooth and easy.  There was a light mist which persisted much of the day.  But the temperature in the 50-60 range was comfortable for paddling.  We switched partners often during this day's paddle, and that afforded us the chance to talk one-to-one                 with several He-Men we hadn't seen in a while. 

We had a couple mishaps in Al's Kevlar canoe.  Josh and Al tipped once, and Kenny and Al tipped another time.  Witnesses said that the latter tip-over appeared to happen in slow motion as Kenny reached a bit too far for another canoe. 

Much wildlife was seen, including five bald eagles and one bald eagle nest.  Todd and Karl had a muskrat swim within two feet of their boat. 

Lunch was at the bridge over Stephenson Creek. During lunch three He-Man smokers (who will go unnamed at their request) were suddenly in a panic because none of  them could find matches.  George (a non-smoker) came to the rescue with a light for them. 

We set up camp at our favorite location, the second campsite past Fishtrap Dam.  That evening the Beaver Island Race was run.   In an attempt to make the race a little more even, we used a staggered start.  The first tier was the relatively slow aluminum canoes.  The second tier was fiberglass, and the third tier was the lightning fast Kevlar canoes.   In the end, the race was won by Bob and Mike in a fiberglass canoe.  Their victory was a heroic one because they swamped twice during the race but still went on to win.  They had to out-sprint Ron and Karl to the finish, winning by two boat lengths.  The aluminum canoe contingent scored this close second place by Ron and Karl as a moral victory for aluminum canoes in general. The two Kevlar canoes came in third and fourth in the race. The rest of the evening was spent razzing the owners of Kevlar canoes (Al and Boyd) because Kevlar lost to fiberglass and aluminum on this fateful evening. 

When asked to comment on the Beaver Island Race victory, Mike said, "Nothing paddles like a Sawyer."  He went on to speak highly of the Sawyer canoe customer support person to whom he had spoken on the phone in the past. 

After the race we enjoyed an excellent meal of mushroom-onion cheese burgers cooked by evening He-Man chef Dave. 


Breakfast was french toast and sausages cooked by morning chef Ron. 

When we headed broke camp and headed out, we saw some of the canoes portaged around Fishtrap Dam and some of them pulled down the rocky rapids.   We coasted down to Boulder Lake, where we lined up for the lake race.  On this day,  Kevlar had its revenge as Al and Kenny paddled their Kevlar canoe to victory.  There was a staggered start,  with top-seeded paddlers starting after the others.  Al  and Kenny were the winners of the race for the second year in a row.  Coming in second place was George and Todd and third place went to Bob and Mike.   The three aluminum canoes placed fifth, sixth and seventh. 

We were amazed to see large schools of suckers on the Manitowish River.  This was a sign of a late spring as the sucker run is normally complete by Memorial Day weekend. 

Other wildlife seen that day included more bald eagles and great blue herons.  Tim and Boyd saw a deer. 

The day was windy, with temps around 60 and a stiff east wind.  Bob fashioned a nifty sail using a tarp and a paddle on one of the down-wind stretches. 

That evening there were two contests, canoe tug-of-war and hatchet throw.  Ron and Karl won the tug-of-war competition.   Afterwards Ron gave their canoe a celebratory tipping, much  to Karl's surprise.  This year it seemed that nobody really got worn out from the tug-of-war competition due to tugs which went on for very long. 

In the hatchet throw competition, former champion George again won with his deadly aim and spin control. 

That evening around the campfire we quizzed each other with trivia questions on many topics. 

One joke was told and retold and is declared by this writer  as best-clean-joke-of-the-trip: 

If a man says something, but there is no woman  there to hear him, is he still wrong?

An east wind kept blowing, and some of the front paddlers got pretty wet when crossing Wild Rice Lake directly into the wind. 

The water was unusually high, but this made the culvert under highway 51 easier than usual.  Several canoes chose  to have the front person paddle while the rear person used a push pole. 

Paddling up to Trout Lake was very tough against the faster-than-normal current.  But we got there and took the usual cold dip in the lake.  We paddled to the campsite on the point in Trout Lake where the  pecial recognition ceremony occurs.  This year, to honor Bob and George on their tenth He-Man trip, the festivities were to include dunking them into the ake.  They had other ideas;  they rushed to tackle Dave and Boyd.  Boyd got away but Dave was held by both of the honorees.  So Bob, George, and Dave all went for a dip in the lake. 

Then it was time to announce He-Man of the Year.  Karl was named, and he proceeded to jump into the lake to avoid being thrown in. Then we paddled the last stretch to the take-out point. 

Twelve of the fourteen He-Men stopped at Paul Bunyan's for dinner after we were all packed up. 

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