I made up my mind to never have another bad day in my life. ~Patch Adams
The day was going perfect. The sun was out. The waves were huge, and I had just remembered how to be a kid in Lake Michigan. Snorkling, swimming and diving in wave after wave…it gave me a rush…and the attitude of…hey, let’s go paddle in this.
OK, ok. I know you are thinking the worst. He went out in 4-7 foot waves and capsized? Quite the contrary. I had a great day 39 paddling in every big wave that came my way. There were definitely a few eye widening waves that made you feel alive…but it did just that…it gave me a rush of sweet freedom.
My reality check would soon come though, as I saw a park in Goodhart. I had heard from my mom how nice Goodhart was, so I decide to turn towards it. The waves are coming hard, and fast. I saw rocks ahead so I make the decision to remove my fin from the paddleboard. I put it right on my neoprene jacket and then I even think to myself, “Boy, that’s a dumb place for it Matthew.”
And boy was it.
About 5 feet from shore, a huge wave hits me, the Kaboose and my board from behind. I look up to see my jacket floating in the water, and the last glimpse I would ever see of my fin right on top of it. Another wave comes…and…It was gone!!!
Panic struck. I’ve paddled without it before and the board always wants to spin 360….now I have to tow something!!! I was panicked. I was nervous. I was ticked off at myself most of all. I knew not to put it there…and this was the result of my dumb decision.
All my posts and all my talk about strangers to the rescue…here the credit goes 1st and foremost to my family. My mom is looking up places and replacement parts while taking my frustrated abuse, my brother is texting me numbers of Kayak shops, police departments and anyone and everything that can help, while my Aunt Amy…again swoops in to make a few connection calls she may have.
I owe them big time. For always putting up with me, for dealing with me, and most of all for always being there.
In the on deck circle, and next up to the plate were Bob and Barbara. They lived next to the park and not only were kind enough to chat and greet an emotionally drained and desperate paddler, but also gave me a lift into town on Day 40 to pick up a replacement fin. I owe them big time for helping me get back on the water…without them…who knows what I would have done.
Hitting that water on Day 40, I was still drained and stressed from the day before. I had set my sights on getting to Charlevoix, but now I changed my thought to just get somewhere short and head to Petoskey.
More bad luck…I pull in and the harbormaster says…sorry buddy…no camping.
Dang…rotten luck again.
Until I meet Bill and his family. They are getting ready to take off on their boat, but 1st start chatting with me about my adventure. Upon hearing I couldn’t pop up my tent, Bill comes to the rescue and welcomes me aboard for the night. Bill saved the day!!!
The same way Brian and Sue swooped in on my rough day getting to the County Lighthouse Park in the thumb…here again I was saved by the kindness and generosity of a man and his family to lend a helping hand. Neither knew how much their help would mean to me…but their help, and all the support I’ve received along the way has been what has kept me going.
The love of family, friends and those new friends I meet, has fueled my paddle. It has given me a drive to keep going, keep fighting and most of all…to keep smiling.
Thank you all! Still a long way to go…but each and every mile, I couldn’t do without you guys!!!