A Wausau man who kayaked 5,700 miles around the eastern third of the United States will travel to Mosquito Hill Nature Center on Oct. 14 as this year’s Charlotte Bates Fenlon Memorial speaker.
At age 34, Jake Stachovak launched from Portage, Wisconsin on a frigid December morning in 2009 and spent 177 of the next 280 days paddling down the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers, through the Gulf of Mexico, around Florida, up the Atlantic coast, through New York’s canal system, through the Great Lakes and up the Fox River to return to Portage. He traveled in a 17-foot kayak, carrying everything he would need stowed in its cargo hatches or strapped to its deck. Along the way, he met people who generously invited him into their homes and to their dinner tables and, twice, others who wanted to rob him.
“With a bumpy start, and many ups and downs, it was an experience of a lifetime,” Jake said. “It was a treat to be able to bring everybody along for the ride with my blog. I will never forget the feeling of arriving back where I started in Portage.”
Jake has been a barn builder, paddling guide, kayak instructor and carpenter. His trip, he says, shows that we are all connected by water.
His presentation will run from 7 – 8 p.m., followed by a reception and the opportunity to meet and speak with Jake. Tickets are $15 for adults, with children 16 and under free if accompanied by an adult.
The speaker series is named for Charlotte Bates Fenlon, an early volunteer at Mosquito Hill. It is funded in large part by the Charlotte Bates Fenlon Memorial Fund within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, which was established in her memory by her husband, the late Dr. Charles “Chick” Fenlon.
Take a canoe ride with Jake
Jake Stachovak will lead a family canoe and kayak paddle on the Wolf River the morning of Oct. 15. Paddlers will depart from the Riverside Park boat landing in New London and paddle downstream for approximately 2 hours. Vehicles will be driven to the take out point and the drivers shuttled back to Riverside Park. Bring your own canoe or kayak, or reserve a seat to help paddle a 28-foot replica voyageur canoe. A limited number of standard canoes will be available for those who do not have their own, but would like to paddle a standard-sized canoe.
The cost is $10/person and includes insurance, shuttle service and light refreshments. All participants must wear a personal flotation device. In case of inclement weather, Jake will offer an indoor program at Mosquito Hill Nature Center. The $10 fee is not refundable. Reservations are required as soon as possible.
To purchase tickets for the evening program or to make reservations for the canoe trip, call Mosquito Hill at 920-779-6433 or download a ticket order form at http://www.mosquitohill.com/fenlon.htm.