Just down the road from our site is a little gem of a place called Old Woman Bay in Lake Superior Provincial Park. Hwy 17 runs straight past and offers some great views as you come down the hill. One of our locals is featured in the video (as is our kayak). Nice to see Ontario tourism promoting the north.
Rocks and trees, trees and rocks. When you paddle Lake Superior- you see lots! I guess the advice is that if you don’t like either rocks or trees, maybe paddling Lake Superior is not for you. However, if you are a closet geology geek or just enjoy scouring the beaches for pebbles, you’ll soon love Lake Superior Beaches. We’ve put together a little slideshow of some of the fantastic geology you can encounter in our area.
Pronounced: Mish-i-pe-cotton. The floating “Mystic Isle” is aptly named since depending on the clarity of the atmosphere- the island does in fact look like it is floating. Some days it appears very close, other days far away and sometimes you can’t even see it at all. It can appear as one island or three and occasionally looks like it has amazingly tall cliffs.
We haven’t offered this trip in a few years since we have had difficulty getting a boat shuttle out to the island. We’ve got that sorted out for this year now but have to limit the number of participants due to boat constraints.
This trip is a good one to do as a guided trip since there are a few more logistics involved with getting out to the island and not everyone wants to do the 14km crossing. Here are a few reasons why this is one of my favourite trips to do on Lake Superior:
Every beach you land on is different than the last
there are 2 lighthouses (one has the only flying buttress on Lake Superior)
the cool history- abandoned fishing villages and the legend of the cursed copper mines
tons of caribou, beaver and other wildlife
shipwrecks and more.
It has everything all wrapped up into one island package
It’s located about 60km (40miles) off the shore from our base at Michipicoten. If you were to paddle out to it, you would travel west along the Superior Highlands coast until about Floating Heart Bay and make a diagonal crossing over to the East End Lighthouse.
Guided trip details: Dates are Sunday July 17th to Sunday July 24th.
Skill Level is set at intermediate since this is a very remote trip with no quick evacuation strategy. Participants need to be self-sufficient and having some experience wilderness camping will make your trip that much more pleasant.
Itinerary- arrive at NSA by 2pm Sunday for on-water training, stroke review, rescue review. BBQ dinner at our Rock Island Lodge. Monday morning boat shuttle will take the group out to the island for 6 fantastic days of sea kayaking around Michipicoten Island. The following Sunday the boat will pick up the group and head back to NSA.
Pricing- $1695 includes all taxes, meals, shuttles, full guiding. Sea kayaks and tents additional.
The storm of the decade is here. Winds are recking havoc here on Rock Island. A few trees came down already. One on the road to our place. I had to park the car and walk the last 15 mins in. Guest staying in the lodge couldn’t leave in a rush this morning- luckily they were all about watching the waves too. We’ve lost 2 supports off the front deck. Hopefully the rest doesn’t get washed away.
A few folks from town have been down to check out the wave action. Winds recorded on our weather station reached a max of 113km/hr (or about 60 knots)- gusts though, not sustained. It took a while for the waves to build since the winds started in the southeast and we are pretty sheltered from that direction. Once they swung around to the southwest the waves built and as the day progressed they shifted even more to the west.
Here are some photos- not a great day for photography since the lens kept getting wet and it was hard to keep from blowing off the rocks.
We hosted a Paddle Canada Level III Skills course here last week. Erik Oogard, from Harbourfront Canoe & Kayak Centre was our instructor du jour. As part of the course requirements, the group headed out on an overnight journey on to Lake Superior. On their way home, they got to contend with some 20knot winds and over 1 meter waves.
The group did a fantastic job contacting our NSA base to determine the best landing spot for the group. NSA staff stood out on the point directing them in and helped folks surf into Government Beach.
Here is a video of Ray surfing in doing some cartwheels and back surfing along the way.
Every day is different here at Rock Island. Some days we are blessed with a peregrine falcon or lynx siting. This past weekend was a little something out of the ordinary. I was looking out over the lake, enjoying my lunch, watching a kayaker decide whether or not to travel up the mouth of the river; when I noticed a very odd site indeed. This poor whale was sitting high and dry up on the beach near the deck.
Perhaps it was trying to escape the oil spill in the gulf, or heard that we have good fishing up here on Lake Superior. How it managed to negotiate the 17 or so locks of the Great Lakes St Lawrence Seaway system is a good question (customs might want to have a word).
The story ends on a positive note though since the little guy, despite being beached for an unknown amount of time, is still full of life’s air and will be enjoyed by many a visitor. That is unless the winds of change or the lake currents don’t take him on another adventure to some far off exotic place… like Minnesota.
As we are anticipating this year’s Gales of November photography workshop with pro Rob Stimpson, Lake Superior decided to give us a little show of what she can dish out. Winds were from the west at about 30knots (gale force) and gave us some good wave action. Here are a couple of shots plus a short video taken from the front of the lodge.
This is the view from my window. Every day (well most days) I stick my camera out the window on the ledge and take a picture of the Michipicoten River as it flows into Lake Superior. I started in May before there were even leaves on the trees so you can see the foilage grow as well as the sand spit change shape over the course of the season. I hope to continue right up until November so I’ll be adding another post at the end of the season.
We don’t have an official opening day. We just plug away, getting stuff ready for the season while more and more staff trickle in. Since we’ve already had one group out on a 4 day trip on Lake Superior and have also ran our first Sea Kayak Level I Paddle Canada Skills course, had a handful of people stay at the lodge plus shuttled some folks up to the Dog River so they could paddle back. I’d say we are officially open for business.
The paddle shop/office has got a fresh coat of paint and most of our gear is back on the shelves. We’ll send some folks down the Agawa River later this month, host a Wilderness Medical Associates advanced first aid course and start our Sea kayak Level II skills course before the month is out.
So far it looks like an average busy summer- not bad considering the down turn in economy everyone keeps speaking of.
Spring has been taking its sweet time up here on Lake Superior. The last week has been nice and sunny with temperatures just above freezing (highs around 4 degrees). Snow has been slow to melt so we could use something in the 15degree range for a couple of days.
This past Good Friday, a couple of the crew from NSA and friends decided to venture out on to the big lake. There were a bunch of chunky icy bits floating out not far from shore and we were worried that they were going to blow in with the wind so we turned around and headed up river. Here are some shots:
Sorry for the purple hue- shot was taken with the sun behind me.