Saturday, May 24, 2008

River races take place in Holly

By: Anna Troppens, Associate Editor
©Tri-County Times 05/24/2008

Holly - Douglas Lanyk, of Rose Township, doesn't usually get to participate in Headwaters Trails' Holly to Fenton Races and Pleasure Paddle. As a member of the organization, he's helping run the event. This year, Lanyk, who is vice president, was able to take his canoe along the route afterward, cleaning up any trash left behind (there was none) and checking for anyone who hadn't completed the course.

Lanyk's 90-year-old father, Louis Lanyk, (picture) was along for the ride in the same canoe. Louis gave the large canoe to Douglas 25 years ago. Louis taught Douglas how to canoe 41 years ago, Douglas said. His father hadn't been in the canoe for 25 years. "It was nice to get him paddling."

Thirty-eight total canoes and kayaks launched, carrying 47 paddlers. These included the afternoon Pleasure Paddlers. "It was a wonderful day," Douglas said. "You can't beat a day on the water." Participants enjoyed the diverse landscapes along the route and appreciated the trail work and race day support of the volunteers of Headwaters Trails. They spotted animals such as sandhill cranes, blue herons, turtles and muskrat along the way. "Normally, I see lots of critters out on the river," Lanyk said.

Wind was a big factor on the Fenton Millpond, the last mile and a quarter of the course. "It was warmer this year, but much windier," President Sue Julian said.Paddlers struggled against the 30 mph gusts to finish the course. "Nobody really appreciated the big breeze at the end," Lanyk said. Volunteers towed a couple of boats containing children, which were being blown around. But participants were happy. "Everybody I talked to had a big time, and big smiles," he said. "Even the people in the two canoes that tipped over were smiling at the end."
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