82 year-old solo paddles Lake Superior

I had the privilege of meeting Bud, from Michigan, at the end of his 11 day solo paddle along the coast of Lake Superior. He didn’t paddle the coast of Lake Superior Provincial Park but he paddled the more remote section of Lake Superior from Hattie Cove (Pukaskwa National Park) to Michipicoten Bay (near Wawa). This is 100 miles/160 km of the most remote shoreline anywhere on the Great Lakes.

Did I mention that Bud is 82 years old?

Bud told me that both of his shoulders are messed-up. He can’t paddle like he did when he was 78 years old. So he has rigged up a sail for his Klepper kayak. He sails when he can and he paddles when he has to.

The first 3 days of his trip was into a head wind and he had to endure lots of rain. He would have given up the trip if he could – but he had no choice but to continue. The rain stopped and he started getting a wind that he could use for sailing. He prepared for a 14 day trip and completed the trip in 11 days.

I was told by a friend of Bud that his Klepper kayak wood frame was made in 1957. This is the fourth “skin” on the kayak.


I was too late to take a picture of Bud and his kayak, but I did see some of his gear. He uses plastic pails with screw-on lids for some of his gear. I noticed that there were 2 pails nestled together – and the outer pail had a hole in the bottom. I asked Bud about the second pail. He said that he turns it upside down and uses it as a toilet seat (because at 82 years of age if one bends down you might not get back up). What a great idea!