Greetings fellow paddlers, I hope your paddling season has been a good one and will continue into November. Fall is my favorite time to paddle (except for the shortened days) because the weather is a little cooler, fall colors adorn the shoreline, and the summer crowds are mostly gone. I usually plan a kayak or canoe camper for this time of year, but my initiative has run dry the last few years. One of my bucket list paddles is the Pictured Rocks National Park on the southern shore of Lake Superior on Michigan’s upper peninsula. Recently a 200-foot-high section of Pictured Rocks sandstone cliffs gave way very close to a group of kayakers, with one report indicating they were as close as 50 feet – cool to see, but way too close for comfort. Pictured Rocks has a series of sea caves and sandstone cliffs that line the shore for 42 miles. Along the eastern half there are a few widely spaced sand beaches you can land with plenty of campsites, but the western 15 miles has only a few rocky beaches. If you ever consider paddling this stretch, I recommend a good chart so you can plan an exit when the weather turns bad. Notice I said “when,” not “if,” since my experience tells me it will change frequently.
Several years ago, I paddled the Sand River in Lake Superior Provincial Park on the northeast shore of the largest Great Lake. It was the last week of September into the first week of October, so the weather changed from one extreme to the other several times a day. The trip had 29 portages. I can remember starting each portage with either a T-shirt or a sweater under rain gear and wishing I had the opposite on by the time the portage was complete. When we started the trip, the last of fall colors were clinging to the trees, but by the time we left the park, I noticed the trees were mostly bare and ice was forming on small ponds. The Sand River trip started as a series of lake-to-lake portages with several waterfalls and un-runnable rapids before we reached the river itself. The second highest waterfall in Ontario, Lady Evelyn Falls, was one of the falls we had to portage. The trip ended at the top of a 2.5-mile cascading waterfall that plunges into Lake Superior. There are two routes you can follow on this trip, either the Old Woman route or the Agawa Canyon route. Because an outfitter told us that, due to low water levels, the Agawa Route would be a wet hike instead of a paddle, we chose the Old Woman route. The Agawa route is accessed via a train that runs daily. It hauls your boat, gear and person to any spot along the route; when you want them to stop, you pull the cord. The Old Woman route starts from Mingy Lake (Mijiinemungshing Lake) via Old Woman, Hard Time and Wildcat Lakes before finally reaching the Sand River. The scenery with plenty of wildlife is beyond excellent. We did not fish, but I was told the trout fishing is excellent. Despite being one of the hardest trips I ever did, it was also one of the most satisfying.
Sea kayaking along the rugged shoreline of Lake Superior Provincial Park is excellent but requires the same precautions for weather and limited places to land. Some of the wildlife you can expect are black bears and moose and, if you are extremely lucky, caribou and wolves. On one car camping trip in the park, I encountered six black bears over a three-day period. I once visited the park in early April to do some hiking. It was a warm, sunny day but it had snowed over a foot overnight, so we had clumps of snow falling on us as we hiked and the waterfalls were overflowing.
The CPA annual meeting and elections are coming soon. If you would like to run for office or nominate someone, now is the time. Nominations are open during the month of September followed by elections, which take place in October online or at the annual meeting November 3rd , where paper ballots are counted and the newly elected officers are announced. We are in the process of securing the Howard Duckett Center in Laurel for the meeting with a morning paddle on the Rocky Gorge Reservoir.
The officer positions are as follows:
- Steering Committee (six members)
All incumbents are standing for reelection, but challengers are welcomed, so if you would like to run for office or nominate someone, please submit your nominations to me before the October 1 deadline.
We are also seeking editorial and desktop design assistance to insure continuation of this newsletter. If you value The Chesapeake Paddler and possess these skills, please consider joining the editorial team. Contact Lois Wyatt or Beth Boyd firstname.lastname@example.org. Whether in far-off places or closer to home, I hope you enjoy some fall paddling. I hope to see you all on the water and at the annual meeting November 3rd.
~ Bill SmithShare This