One Cape, Two Challenges

How sweet the month of July has been for this paddler.  Cape Ann (in the northeast corner of Massachusetts) provided human-powered boaters/boarders not one, but two challenges to participate in on the same weekend.  The Cape Ann Rowing Club's Blackburn Challenge was held in Gloucester on Saturday the 13th and the Misery Challenge was on Sunday the 14th.  Both events provided participants ideal Cape Ann conditions.

During the Blackburn I'd paddled about 8 miles when I heard the theme song from the movie "Rocky" blaring from a shore-side house near Andrews Point..."feeling strong now, won't be long now, getting strong now...".  Don't know about others but I enjoyed hearing it...in fact I couldn't get it out of my head for the next 10 miles or so.   Humming the song along with some helpful currents propelled me across the long and seemingly endless stretch between Thachers Island and Eastern Point.  For me, this is the point in the event where my mind wanders to everything from Howard Blackburn's ordeal to wondering if I just saw Samuel Champlain as he followed the same route while looking for the entry into the harbor he called "Beauport" way back in 1606.

After completing the 20 mile circumnavigation around Cape Ann, participants left their boats on the beach and strode, or perhaps stumbled, towards the tent where food, beer, and music awaited...

This year's T-shirt attests to the variety of watercraft...



The following morning I left my tent at Cape Ann Campsite and headed to Manchester by the Sea where my daughter and I participated in the Misery Challenge...


In addition to rowers and paddlers this event includes swimmers.  Prior to the start participants were treated to the "sound of the pipes" emanating down from the gazebo at Tuck's Point...
Then we headed out on the scenic 4 mile course to and around Misery Island and back...
My daughter soon left me in the dust and I couldn't help but enjoy seeing how effortlessly she covered the course as I fell further behind.

This year's Misery Challenge T-shirt...


One especially appreciated aspect of this event was the ample shade afforded participants after finishing...


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