Solo Canoeist Mike Smith Entertains Overflow Crowd
- Over near Lansing, Michigan-DeWitt, MI: An overflow crowd packed the community room at the DeWitt Area Emergency Authority in DeWitt Wed night (1.27.10), to hear Portland native Mike Smith's tales and adventures from his 3,000 mile canoe trip that included retracing the Lewis & Clark water trail. 104 people, including avid canoeists/kayakers, outdoor enthusiasts, retirees and even a 5-year old girl attended the 90-minute slide show. Smith's tales included his first mental mistake that cost him his camera tripod (overturned trying to get under a livestock cable strung across the stream just after launching on day one); humorous visits with fellow adventurers and "the local folks" along his three month, ten-state odyssey; wind, mosquito, cactus and rattlesnake tribulations; and several mentions of his beloved mentor Verlen Kruger, who joined Smith for the last leg of the trip before his death several years ago. Smith's 300-plus color slides depicted the kind and talkative people he met along the way, and boundless beautiful scenery - the very same that greeted Lewis & Clark's expedition over two hundred years ago.Smith got the inspiration for his challenging solo adventure while on a 30-day solo winter tent camping trip Ontario. Smith's historic and humorous presentation was one of two annual public education events sponsored by Friends of the Looking Glass. (www.lookingglassriverfriends.org)
Audience questions and comments sprinkled in during the program, and Smith took questions for an additional 15 minutes afterward. He said he was surprised by the audience members' interest in his program, and very much enjoyed sharing his adventures with them. Smith intends to have back surgery soon, then return to his solo canoe adventures. He'll warm up by participating in the Grand River Expedition 2010 from July 14-26, http://tiny.cc/grandriverexpedition2010 from near the Grand River's source in Jackson County, to it's Lake Michigan mouth north of Holland. He next big plans are to return to the wild and scenic rivers of the western US: "That's what I'd really like to do, and that's what I intend to do" he said through a broad smile.