A nonprofit’s annual meeting. Attendance suppressed by a pandemic. The keynote a board member’s report on his season of paddling. For most clubs, that’s a formula for “wake me for the chicken.”
But most club boards don’t have a foot-long beard with Josh Gundlach attached. Josh spoke from his experience as a paddle guide in Door County and Bayfield, and that was plenty entertaining.
Paddling Door County means paddling Cave Point County Park. “It’s very cool, but it’s one place,” Josh said.
The real adventure is on Lake Superior, in the Apostles. Or, being more formally introduced, the Apostles Islands National Lakeshore in the Gaylord Nelson Wilderness.
Josh guides there for Whitecap Kayak, including youth programs. Finding themselves with a day off, Josh and his girlfriend decided to take on the challenge of “Devil’s in a Day.” Devil’s Island is on the outer ring of the Apostles, one of the sentinels before the open water of Lake Superior.
Launching from Little Sand Bay and staging on York Island, the couple was looking at 30 miles over 10 hours, 7 hours and 45 minutes of that being solid paddlIng. In a solid fog.
They navigated by map and compass, with the disagreement over whose line was right inevitable in that situation. They aimed for the middle of Devil’s, because to miss it can mean an extremely long detour. Indeed they were about to miss it when they stopped, listened for breaking waves and recalculated. They did have GPS available as a backup.
They planned to stop for rest on Bear Island, but had a favorable wind and decided to run with it.
Devil’s offers magical caves, a lighthouse and — normally — wilderness camping. Because of renovation work being done out there, camping was not allowed last season. That meant this trip was more of a touch-and-go. With limbs aching to the core, they headed back for York.
This trip ended not with freeze-dried stew and a handful of gorp, but rather a desperate drive to Culver’s.
In Josh-speak, it was “swe-e-e-t.”
In annual meeting business, the members present heard committee reports, approved minutes and re-elected Vice President Ken Braband and directors Josh Gundlach, Dan Dallich and Abby Ledvina.
These awards were announced:
Impact Award, Jeff Mazanec
Ambassador Award, Bill Merrick
Paddlers Hall of Fame, Jake Stachovac (posthumously)