Special Report: Henry Dorfman First to Kayak on Five Great Lakes in Five Days

Dorfman, 62, started the week on Lake Superior and hit the Lake Erie shores on Friday morning to finish the aquatic feat. He passed Lakewood on Friday morning.

Henry Dorfman, 62, a Cincinnati outdoor recreation enthusiast, decided it was time to do something that’s never been done before – paddle all five Great Lakes in five days in a kayak. 

He passed Lakewood's shores Friday morning.

Dorfman said he wanted to take on the somewhat perilous feat to build public interest in kayaking and canoeing and to cross off yet another item from his bucket list. 

He also wanted to underscore the 10th anniversary of Paddlefest, a three day, eight-mile event that takes 2,000 paddlers down the Ohio River in Cincinnati. 

To kick off his Great Lakes expedition, he started in Munising, Michigan on Lake Superior. The following day took him to Lake Michigan, then onto Lake Huron on Wednesday. 

Yesterday, he crossed into Canada and navigated his way across Lake Ontario. This morning, he launched at Whiskey Island’s Wendy Park and did some sight-seeing as he passed the Great Lakes Science Center and Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he said. 

When Patch caught up with Dorfman on Friday, the aquatic adventurer said it’d been a pretty smooth and exciting ride, but that the long kayaking stretches and 2,000-mile road trip to get from lake to lake was catching up to him. 

“It’s pretty rigorous,” he said. “You burn off a lot of gasoline, a lot of energy and a lot of soda. You’re either driving, paddling or drinking diet coke pretty much nonstop for five days. 

“But honestly, after paddling about 30 miles in the last week, I can truly say it was the experience of a lifetime. The folks I met, and the sights and the experiences add up to something really memorable. For people who have never kayaked, they should give it a try and see what I’m talking about.” 

Paddlefest, the nation’s largest on-water paddling event, is co-organized by Dorfman and will extend from June 23-25. 


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