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Seeking Lake Superior knowledge

Good afternoon to you all!

I'm in the planning stages for a Lake Superior circumnavigation and am looking for any knowledge about stretches that are unlandable, problem spots, best weather sources, best camping spots (or ones to avoid!) and any logistics like required permits...you name it. I'm also interested in stories about locking back through into the US at Sault.

I've got 2 years to plan and figure it all out.

Cheers,
KayakerBee

Comments

  • There are trip reports here which you might find helpful: https://paddling.com/search/?cx=012804943091097632816:fderlhekzxi&q=lake+superior+trip+reports

    Also, if you're on FB, consider joining Inland Seas, Kayaking the Great Lakes (closed group). Lots of Lake Superior paddlers (and residents) there (US and Canadian), including some guides.

    What kayak will you be paddling?

  • edited February 7

    I've paddled the NE coast within Pukaskwa National Park from the main campground to Cascade Falls and back. I've only been once so definitely not an expert on the area but could probably still walk you through what I can recall of that stretch if you had some specific questions.

    Perhaps since this is your first post on this forum you should also put up some information about yourself and experience in another thread. This may help to provide information that's more relevant to your needs.

  • There are some trip reports and advice over at www.myccr.com
    Canadian Cano Routes. Open to kayakers too
    Many have done the Canadian side of Lake Superior
    I've done some of the Conservation area Rossport West the Slates and from Hattie Cove to Agawa Bay. That includes most of Lake Superior Provincial Park and Pukaskwa NP
    Done it twice. Its that good
    Maps are available for both that show topography and campsites
    Otherwise there is a book about the conservation area that shows sone potential campsites and gives local knowledge but you need nautical charts
    Its pretty important knowing where the cliffs prevent landing for sure and there are many in this stretch
    Sorry I dont have that book handy to give you the title

  • A Paddlers Guide to the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area
    one on Amazon. rather pricey out of print

  • Thanks for the quick replies y'all! I don't really participate in these discussion boards so I wasn't sure what to expect.

    I'll post some info about myself on the other thread - good suggestion - but for now....I'm an advancing intermediate paddler and a navigation nerd. I don't really pursue accreditation but I'm at an L3/BCU3* level. I paddle the Chesapeake Bay, Delmarva, pretty much anywhere up and down the East Coast from Nova Scotia to northern Florida. Ten to eighteen miles is a usual day for me. I built a Pygmy Murrelet 2PD a couple of years ago that is my main kayak but would likely be using my 2002 Necky Tesla NM for the Superior trip. She's 17'10" of pure expedition style and my original kayak. Huge carrying capacity. Bought her when I lived in CA and paddled her between Ventura and Santa Barbara.

    I've been acquiring books and trip accounts for about a year now as well charts/topos for the area and attended Ladies of the Lake in Munising, MI last year. I will definitely look at the links provided and the Paddlers Guide you mentioned Kayamedic! I'm not on Facebook. I may have to get past my philosophical issues about that though if there's valuable contacts to be made.

    I'm interested weather info; things like is there consistent NOAA broadcast coverage, any well known but not obvious to outsiders indicators that portend bad conditions coming, etc. Here in WV for instance, we know that when the clouds drop below the ridges it is going to rain for sure. Local knowledge like that is always useful.

    Also, where are the long stretches that make bailout points hard to come by or mean long days (20 miles or more) past cliffs to find a campsite. Pictured Rocks would be one example that I know of. I know that can be seen on topos but again, local knowledge is always good to have.

    OK, this got really long. Thanks again. Any information is gratefully received and I'll post specific questions as they come up for me - especially for you Sparky961 about that NE coast.

  • edited February 8

    @KayakerBee

    Traci Lynn Martin circumnavigated Lakes Huron, Michigan, and Superior last year. She might be able to answer a few of your questions. If you visit her website you'll find her contact info, including a phone number. https://www.justaroundthepointe.com/

  • @Rookie
    I followed her expedition! What an inspiration that she would do that regardless of her medical issues and in a surfski to boot.

  • A weather radio is iffy
    Some of the area has good coverage
    Eastern side of Superior mostly none
    You wont see commercial traffic either
    I carry a marine radio and even tnough Canada requires a license and the USA does not I would not hesitate to use it in case of emergency.
    I carry a PLB
    Weather reading is almost a must
    If the wind is up in the morning it will not get better
    Usually by noon the wind makes too interesting waves
    Paddle early
    Local conditions can be quite different from what you may receive via weather radio
    And the weather is given in French and English. The trouble is it takes many minutes to get through the French

  • I didn't have a PLB when I travelled Pukaskwa. I would absolutely have one if I did it again. I think that's just plain common sense though for the scope of trip being considered here.

    About a day or so south of the put in there's literally NO cell signal. VHF weather radio was spotty at best. Besides, the forecast was always the same and rarely accurate. There were very few other water craft that would hear a call with VHF, and I don't think you'd reach any Canadian Coast Guard towers, though I admit I don't presently know the locations in that area.

  • edited February 9

    @KayakerBee said:
    @Rookie
    I followed her expedition! What an inspiration that she would do that regardless of her medical issues and in a surfski to boot.

    She got off to a bad start, underestimating the Great Lakes and weather, but finished well. A very admirable journey for certain. She's planning a do-over next year, I think, if she can get a support team together.

    If you want to play on Lake Superior again before your trip, consider the Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium, July 17-21, 2019. Coaches include several ACA L5s who know Superior quite well, including Keith Wikle who runs The Gales Storm Gathering on Superior in October.

  • If you are up for a road trip soon you might want to consider a trip to East Lansing Michigan for the Quiet Water Symposium (March 2). Dave Wells from Naturally Superior has a presentation on a section of the north shore and his business has been guiding the north shore for (at least) 30 years. https://quietwatersociety.org/ Trey & Scott from The Power of Water (organizers of Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium) will also be there. Henry Davis is doing a presentation on Lake Michigan paddling however he guides Pictured Rocks and is knowledgeable in the area.

    You might also consider the WMCKA symposium Memorial Day weekend. Based on your skill set it would be more of a tune & make contacts weekend:https://wmcka.org/events/symposium/

    A similar event a couple of weeks later is the Port Austin Kayak Symposium. RKC will usually have the details set by the Quiet Water Symposium weekend: https://riversidekayak.com/events/port-austin-kayak-symposium/

  • edited February 10

    @KayakerBee said:
    Thanks for the quick replies y'all! I don't really participate in these discussion boards so I wasn't sure what to expect.

    I'll post some info about myself on the other thread - good suggestion - but for now....I'm an advancing intermediate >paddler and a navigation nerd. I don't really pursue accreditation but I'm at an L3/BCU3* level. I paddle the >Chesapeake Bay, Delmarva, pretty much anywhere up and down the East Coast from Nova Scotia to northern Florida. >Ten to eighteen miles is a usual day for me.

    Hows your roll? Surf launches and landings? You'll need 2 out of 3 of these, plus the sense to know what the 3rd one is.

  • @qajaqman - of course it's the GL guy asking about the roll! I'm working on it with my paatit. I'm in pool rolling classes with Mike Hamilton all this month. Then this summer I'll be chasing that real world combat roll. Then it's transferring those skills from my wood qajaq to the qajariaq Necky takes a heck of a hip snap to bring up.

    Surf launches don't phase me - love punching out through 3 footers no problem. I'm very good at landing without getting surfed but looking at the charts, I suspect that waves on Superior are frequently dumping right? And it's often pebble beaches from what little I've experienced so far up there. I'll be donning my helmet for launches and landing for sure.

    @rival51 - thanks for all the info! I'm pretty booked this summer with trips through Cross Currents Sea Kayaking to work on skills (like rocks and ledges, currents, surfing, open water crossings) via a series called Unconscious Competence. I'm looking into the Great Lakes Symposium (thanks for the reminder @rookie!). I'm off to look at that March 2nd event for sure though. My plan for Summer 2020 is to spend lots of time at symposia and camping trips on Superior so your list is fab!

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