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WOONSOCKET â€“ It was always a crazy idea.
There may be no better proof of it than what happened last year after Chuck Horbert and his buddies launched their canoes and kayaks into Burrillvilleâ€™s Branch River, amped up by 5 inches of rain from Tropical Storm Andrea. Hobart crashed his canoe in the rain-swollen waters, and his far-flung dream of leading a waterborne trek the length of the state, by river, was over as soon as it began.
But some crazy ideas are just too tempting to drop. And so, after the ill-fated attempt of 2013, Horbert and his pals will take another shot at paddling the length of the state on meandering, inland waters, doing it as much for the glory of the Ocean Stateâ€™s rivers as the chance to do something thatâ€™s never been done before.
â€śItâ€™s a challenge for me personally,â€ť said Horbert. â€śItâ€™s also a good way of showing thereâ€™s a different way to connect the recreational dots of our communities through the blueways and water trails that run through them.â€ť
This year, the trek known as Paddle Across Rhode Island is slated to begin in the Blackstone River, at the North Smithfield-Blackstone line, this weekend.
It may be hard to believe, but Hobart, 47, is the youngest to sign on for what is sure to be a physically grueling journey. The North Scituate resident will be accompanied by Jim Cole, 67, of Charlestown; Bill Luther, 62, of Seekonk, Ma.; and David Smith, 57, of Westerly â€“ all accomplished boatsmen who will be paddling solo craft.
Read the rest of the story in Tuesday's newspaper.