Trips

I just got word from the folks at Naturally Superior Adventures that trip I'm guiding this summer enough people signed up to ensure that it's a go. But I'm on the hunt for 1-2 more people to make it even awesommer. Taking place July 31 to August 8, we are going to catch a boat shuttle who will drop us off our on the elusive, mysterious and hardly ever visited, Michipicoten Island on Lake Superior. Over the course of seven days we will circumnavigate the island then make the 16 kilometer crossing north between the island and the north shore. Once that adventure is complete we will turn right, keeping shore on our left and paddle back to Wawa. So who is this trip for? Well, due to its extreme remoteness and long crossing, this trip is aimed towards the intermediate and above paddler. You should have a firm grasp on self and group rescue as well as the physical stamina of a crossing of this nature. The thing that makes this trip unique is that it's a self-sufficient trip in that you are responsible for your own camping gear and meals. I won't be cooking for you but instead we will work as a group on decision making, risk management and route planning. It's perfect for those who have kayak tripping experience so doesn't need a guide to pamper them but appreciate the extra security blanket of somebody who has paddled the route before a couple of times. So what's out there to see? On a scale of 1 to wicked awesome, I would rank Michipicoten Island in the high fantastic to super cool awesome range. It's got: Wild Caribou Shipwrecks (at the water's surface) An abandoned fishing camp to explore Three lighthouses Sea Caves An abandoned copper mine from the 1880's. Extreme remoteness So for me the two real gems of the place are the wild caribou (which there are about 100+ head) and the abandoned copper mine on the northwest shore of the island. Back in the 1880's the mining company packed up and went home leaving…
Last week I had the amazing privilege to guide an eight-day sea kayak expedition on Lake Superior for Naturally Superior Adventures. The route started with a boat shuttle out to Cozens Cover at the eastern end of the very remote Michipicoten Island. From there we worked around the island clockwise before making the 18km crossing to the north shore and back towards Wawa and Naturally Superior Adventures. Here is the full route map (new window). This trip was different than a typical guided trip in that each participant was responsible for their own food, camping gear and boat. My role throughout the trip wasn’t to do the cooking (they would have starved to death if they did) but rather to get everybody back home safely. Lets cut to the chase, Michipicoten Island is wicked awesome. If it isn’t already on your bucket list of trip destinations, you need to add it. Even if you just plan on circumnavigating the island as the vast majority of visitors do, you will die a happier person (hopefully long after the trip is done). Here is what makes the island special: The island is home to over 400 caribou wandering around the place. In our case we only saw four but another guided trip out the week earlier reported seeing 15-20. The geography on the island is quite unique since a lot of the rock is volcanic in nature and most of it is over 470 million years old. Geologists believe that the island was part of an ancient vent in the earths crust that got filled with magma. Over the years there has been extensive exploration for minerals from everything like copper, gold and diamonds. You can still find agets on the island if you know where to look. There is an old copper mine ready for your exploration. Quebec Mines was a copper mine that was abandoned back in the 1880’s. Since then the trees have reclaimed it but walking around you can find lots of old machinery including old boilers and massive iron gears scattered about. Exploring the area you realize that…
  Well I'm off to Lake Superior for the next two weeks to guide a sea kayak trip with Naturally Superior Adventures. We are going to be circumnavigating Michipicoten Island then making the 18 kilometre crossing to the north shore before working our way back to Wawa. If you want more details, I wrote about the trip earlier. The whole adventure should take eight days if everything goes well. I'm really excited as inReach Canada sent me their new inReach SE to test while we are out there. The inReach SE is a two-way satellite messenger with a built-in keyboard to easily send and receive custom messages. It's a nice improvement from the older model as it doesn't require me to pair with a smart phone. If you want to follow along with our adventure, I will be posting regular updates to the Paddling Headquarters Facebook page. You can also follow along via the DeLorme map page here. Have a great couple of weeks!  
This is not a story you want to have happen on your trip. Students on a class canoe trip paddling down the South Saskatchewan River in Saskatoon got a shock last Tuesday when they discovered a body in the river. The chief coroner is working to identify the remains and foul play is not suspected. The local public school board has offered counselling to any student on the trip who needs it. More info: nationalpost.com Flickr Photo Credit:  Some rights reserved by damiengabrielson.com
I got news over the weekend that Amy and Dave Freeman finally completed their massive 3-year, 11,700 mile expedition called the North American Odyssey which included traveling by kayak, dogsled and canoe. Back in April, 2010 they started their afternoon adventure in Bellingham, Washington paddling the entire coastline of British Columbia, then across the Yukon and eventually working their way back to Lake Superior. The last leg of the trip included kayaking to the Gulf of Saint Lawrence then down the eastern seaboard and eventually ended up at the southern tip of Florida. The expedition was a partnership with their non-profit organization, Wilderness Classroom whose mission is to “increase students' appreciation for the environment while improving core academic skills by introducing students to the wonders of exploration and wilderness travel through live, web-based expeditions and school assemblies.” We interviewed Amy and Dave last year just before starting the final leg of their trip. Photo credits: Bryan Hansel and Wilderness Classroom
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