The Hugh Heward Challenge is
an annual paddling event commemorating British fur trader Hugh Heward and seven Frenchmen’s 50 mile sprint in two birch
bark canoes down the Grand River on April 24, 1790. Michigan Historian and Topologist Jim Woodruff brought
Hugh’s historical trek to the attention of world renowned canoeist Verlen Kruger and asked if the modern paddler could
accomplish such a feat in the same amount of time- from dawn to dusk. Verlen accepted the challenge and invited others to
join; The Hugh Heward Challenge was born. Last year over 100 paddlers participated in the reenactment of all or part of Hugh’s
route from Dimondale to Portland. The challenge evolved to include paddlers comfortable with shorter distances, offering start
locations known as the “Half Hugh” starting in Grand Ledge a distance of 25 miles, and the “Quarter Hugh”
starting at Charlotte Hwy Bridge in Portland a distance of 13 miles.
Marathon racers from all over Michigan
also paddle the Hugh as a warm up launching their race season, although the event is not a “race" per se, given
their competitive nature, we all know they're keeping score. And despite launching three hours after everyone from Dimondale, they
are among the first arriving at the Thompson Field Landing. Everyone enjoys watching the pro’s sprint past like
machinery in sleek canoes, heads down racing the clock. What a sight!
6am, Lions Park 300 W. Jefferson St. Dimondale, 50 miles (Marathon racers start at 9am).
9am, Grand Ledge Dam in Fitzgerald Park, 25 miles.
Charlotte Hwy Bridge, Portland, 13 miles.
(If you are paddling this section and need a canoe, Looking Grand Canoe Rental
will supply one at no cost---as well as drop it off and pick it up, call ahead: Dennis 517-647-7402 or Deb 517-331-7402.)
The City of Dimondale welcomes challengers
to camp at Lions Park Friday night, no fee. The park offers: sheltered picnic tables, bathrooms with running water, and charcoal
grills. Sorry, no pancake breakfast this year due to lack of interest.
Trailspotters of Michigan, Inc. is
donating shuttle service for paddlers Friday for Dimondale starters only & Saturday for Dimondale, Grand
Ledge, & Charlotte Hwy Bridge starters. PLEASE NOTE: The shuttle carries people, not boats/gear. (free
Make a shuttle reservation by
clicking the link below and following the instructions. Note: the difference between trailspotting & carspotting
you will choose your preference, Tom gives good instructions, read carefully.
AS YOU KNOW...
Maps of the route are provided the morning of the
event. Certificates of completion and chili dinner are available to all participants at the finish. Donations accepted
for other hot food & water at the finish. Pre-Registration encouraged $10/paddler. Sorry, no new
Hugh shirts this year, previous years will be available. We now accept Visa/MC.
Email us at email@example.com or call:
(517) 285-7169 -Stacy Krause
(517) 285-6210 -Kevin Krause