Charlie Parmalee Reenacts Hugh Heward’s Legendary Voyage

Nancy Anderson passes this message along to LOAPC members. WKAR-FM ran a very nice, detailed feature on the morning news including interviews with Charlie Parmalee and Jim Woodruff: click here to listen.


Jim Woodruff, Historian, asked me to pass this information along to you. Please keep Charlie in your thoughts and prayers. He launched this morning after camping in the snowstorm last night.

Two more messages from Jim will follow in separate emails. We will keep you posted. Jim thinks Charlie may appreciate paddling company here and there for a day or two.


The Ultimate Hugh Heward Challenge
In the spring of 1790 British trader Hugh Heward, together with seven French-Canadian paddlers in two birch bark canoes, departed Detroit on a trip that would take them to the Chicago Portage and then via the Des Plaines and Illinois Rivers to the Mississippi. Instead of following the usual exploration and trade route north through Lake Huron and the Straits of Mackinac then south through Lake Michigan, the Heward party went downstream on the Detroit River into Lake Erie, then upstream on the Huron River. They eventually worked their way to the divide between the Lake Erie and Lake Michigan watersheds, portaged their canoes and goods into a tributary of the Grand River, then paddled down the Grand to Lake Michigan. In effect, they took a short cut across Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. Once in Lake Michigan they coasted the east and south shores of the big lake until they reached the Chicago River.
This spring General Motors retiree and long distance canoeist Charlie Parmelee is going to attempt to duplicate the Heward party’s epic journey from lake to lake. On March 28 he is going to launch his Verlen Kruger designed “Seawind” solo canoe at Pte. Mouille on Lake Erie and start up the Huron River 218 years to the day after Heward entered that stream. His cross-peninsula trip will take him through many Huron and Grand River towns including Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor, Dexter, the famous community of Hell, Eaton Rapids, Lansing, Grand Ledge, Portland, Grand Rapids and finally into Lake Michigan at Grand Haven.
He is calling his trip “The Ultimate Hugh Heward Challenge”. It took Heward and his paddlers a month to reach Lake Michigan after leaving Lake Erie. Charlie intends to take much less time since he doesn’t plan to get lost several days as Heward did while searching for the portage.

Jim Woodruff
On the Grand River
in Delta Township

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