Author to recreate Douglass Houghton’s canoe trip

KEWEENAW PENINSULA — The Keweenaw Peninsula is known for its opportunity of adventure. Thrill seekers come from all over to experience our trails and slopes in the winter, with the addition of fishing and water sports in the summer.

Author Steve Lehto is going to make the journey from Duluth, Minnesota to Detroit in a canoe.

“I’m going to be living out of a canoe for a distance of about 1,200 miles, or maybe two months. I’m going to be doing a lot of camping at night. I will need to shower from time to time although, the lake is also good for that too,” he said.

Lehto is taking the journey in honor of Douglass Houghton, who made the trip several times. He’s going to drop the canoe in Duluth on July 1st, head over to Sault Ste. Marie and then down to Detroit.

However, he won’t be paddling the entire way. He will be using the modern day amenities of a small outboard motor capable of propelling his vessel up to 8 miles per hour.

“I plan on being in the canoe maybe 40-50 miles a day, which could be any where from 5 to 10 hours a day depending on how fast I’m going,” said Lehto.

As he makes his way along the southern shoreline of Lake Superior, and begins around the Keweenaw Peninsula he will make a stop in Houghton or Hancock to visit family and rest before continuing.

“I’ve got roots in that area. I’ve got to see the bridge, ya know. So, I will come up the canal, visit, and then head back out and I am going to go around the peninsula,” he said.

Lehto’s roots run generations deep in the Keweenaw, his grandfather served as a dean of Suomi College over 50 years ago.

Although the inland sights, policies, and day to day activities have changed since Houghton and his colleagues have last set sail, Lehto believes that this spiritual journey will put him in touch with a distant time.

“The shorelines haven’t changed that much, and I thought, ‘You know something, I’ve got records of what it looked like back then, so if I travel it today, I can actually compare it to what it looked like back then and that’s got to be fascinating,'” said Lehto.