Saturday, April 28, 2012


Short’s To Short’s Cut Short

The East Coast Paddlers were well represented at the 2012 edition of the Short’s to Short’s Paddle event that occurred on April 27. The event is a 27 mile paddle from Bellaire to Elk Rapids in Antrim County.

Organizers announced that 323 people showed up for registration on the brilliantly sunny, crisp Friday morning. I’m glad that I took the day off from retirement to enjoy the spectacle of all those boats launching and heading down the river. Folks were paddling everything that floats, from 10’ long rec boats to 20’ long Epic surf skis, with a few dozen canoes thrown in for good measure.

The day was particularly well organized this year and everyone seemed to get shuttled, parked and launched okay. Paddlers had the option of four takeout points. Some paddled ten miles and took out at the Dockside Restaurant in anticipation of the strong winds and two foot waves sweeping across Torch Lake. Others made it three miles further down the lake to the little village of Alden and called for shuttles to pick them up there. Still others decided to paddle a total of seventeen miles and take out at the west end of Torch Lake where it enters the Torch River.
 
Those who planned to go the entire distance down the Torch River and across Skegemog and Elk Lakes were disappointed to learn that organizers were pulling all paddlers off the course before they headed into the strong winds that were wreaking havoc with the safety boats on that homeward leg of the trip. Payback for abbreviating the event turned out to be an earlier visit to the hospitality area set up at Short’s Brewery in Elk Rapids. We arrived at the brewery to pick up our souvenir shirts, mugs and stickers and sample some of Short’s fine microbrews.
 
Short’s has hosted the event for the past four years as a gift to the community for supporting Short’s brews. Short’s believes that we all are very fortunate to live in Michigan and to have beautiful places such as the Chain of Lakes to enjoy. They charge nothing for participating in the event and arranged for twenty support boats to patrol the route They paid to have Porta-John’s placed at strategic locations along the route, and they engaged dozens of volunteers to make sure that we all were safe.

Please give Short’s a round of applause and give their beers a try; they are supportive of kayaking, clean water, and beer. As their tagline states, “Life is Short’s, drink it while you’re here”.

Submitted by George Granlund

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