Sun - November 13, 2005

All Things Are Possible - Verlen Kruger Books



One Incredible Journey - Verlen Kruger I was introduced to Verlen Kruger (1922-2004) and his paddling journey through the Lake Superior book by Gary and Joanie McGuffin. I was intrigued by strange looking kayaks shown in the book and started to search. A weird looking kayak appeared to be the Monarch canoe designed by Verlen Kruger. After some further searching I found One Incredible Journey book taking the reader along on the record-breaking 7,000-mile journey of Verlen Kruger and Clinton Waddell in their home-made canoe as they crossed the North American continent during the summer of 1971.

After that book I was ready to order my Sea Wind.

Later, I discovered on used book market Keep It Moving: Baja by Canoe by Valerie Fons, Verlen's paddling partner and later wife. A somewhat different perspective on his paddling journey. The book covers the Baja leg of Ultimate Canoe Challenge from Long Beach to Yuma. Keep It Moving. Baja by Canoe Valerie Fons book

Baja was the most exciting - and dangerous - portion of my 28,000-mile canoeing odyssey around the North American Continent.

By the time I met Valerie Fons, Steve Landick and I paddled 20,000 miles of out 3-1/2 year journey. IN all those miles across continent, I met what I consider to be some of this country's most interesting people - those who are full of life and have the courage to live their dreams. Unique even among those was Valerie, who had boundless energy and a great boldness.

This book tells the story of our Baja journey in a way the every adventure cane share, and Valerie's story proves that skill and strength are less important than spirit when facing the unknown.
-- Verlen Kruger

Recently, a new book was published: Ultimate Canoe Challenge: 28,000 miles through North America presenting another part of Verlen's journey: Ultimate Canoe Challenge

Verlen Kruger and Steve Landick came up with the idea of a canoe trip that would surpass all others, and they did it. Paddling their canoes or carrying them on the connecting land passages, they toured North America, from Montana to Manhattan, from New Orleans to the Arctic Ocean, from Baja California to home in Lansing, Michigan.

They mastered wild storms on the ocean, often paddled 75-100 miles or more in a day, shot through deadly rapids going downstream, and paddled up several major rivers, reaching the climax by going up the Grand Canyon. Again and again they were warned, "It can't be done" or "You'll never make it", but each time they rose to the challenge and kept going, finally completing a canoe trip of 28,000 miles that lasted three and a half years and was appropriately named The Ultimate Canoe Challenge. This is the story as Verlen lived it.

The entire story is told from the Verlen's perspective. It's a pity that Brand Frentz didn't try to include any views of other participants of the ultimate canoe challenge. A short interviews with Steve Landick and Valerie Fons would be really interesting.

The recent book is available in different formats: paperback, hardcover, even as an e-book ready for downloading. But, this is not all. We will receive soon (well, in January 2006) Verlen's biography by Phil Peterson: All Things Are Possible - The Verlen Kruger Story: 100,000 miles by Paddle.

If you are interested in the pictures of Kruger's boats you can still find a copy of Keep It Moving book for a dollar or two. It is the only book with good color illustrations. Unfortunately, the recent Ultimate Canoe Challenge has only poor quality black and white reproductions. I was lucky to get pictures of the very first Monarch canoes paddled by Steve Landick during the ultimate challenge. I added some quotes from the book and from my e-mail exchange with Steve to that blog entry. Of course, you can find numerous pictures and video clips featuring the last version of Kruger solo boat, Sea Wind, on my website.

Verlen Kruger biography
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Posted at 06:38 AM    


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