33 and windy, who wants to play in Lake Michigan?

Posted under wilderness tripping since it looks wild and these dudes must be tripping.

I know several who may be out there but it is well above my skill set.

No canoes out there?

Well above my skill set as well and as I watched it made me wonder just how far off I might be in terms of skills, strength, endurance, ability to generate adrenaline, risk tolerance,…?

And a touch of insanity or more than a touch of testosterone.

There may be string. (Canoes out there!) No problem with wind either because the wind doesn’t blow at all under water,

I hope to go to the Great Lakes in the coming few years and do some kayaking. I get wind here, but the lakes are very small in comparison to the Great Lakes. I and my brother as well as 2 friends thought a 3 week to month long trip on one of them would be fun. But I can’t do that yet. Someday I hope to, -------- and I hope it is not too many years away.

I think you’ll figure out a way to make it happen. You seem like someone who will find a way to reach your goals. Good luck.

If you want to hang out in the St Joseph area for a week or so we could provide accomodations.

You might need 3-4 weeks to get a variety of weather conditions.

When I worked in automotive and travelled I’d get amazing views of different Great Lakes depending on where I was headed and I’d look at miles and miles of deserted shoreline in farm country and it seemed so special to me that I still think about it. Here in western Michigan I worked right on the coast and one thing that strikes me is how different the color(s) of the lake are from day to day (from every shade of blue to every shade of green and sometimes tan from the churning sand)…sometimes solid colors and sometimes bands of color. It’s hard to see in the windy pics but one can also see exactly where the water from the St Joseph River goes as it enters the lake.

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Careful tomL…i may just take you up on that offer. :grinning:

I had thought about Superior more just because it’s closer and having NO idea of where to go to get away from people I was thinking it might be easier for me. I and 1 or up to 3 others want to go, but not a one of us really knows anything about where to start out. What we want is shore line that is not restricted so we can camp when we need to and paddle when we are not forced off the water. The 4 of us all can go 15 to 25 miles pert leg depending on winds and waves so if we were to make a trip out from our launching point about 150 to 180 miles and then come back along the same course, I am sure it would be a trip worth remembering. Some places are restricted outside the USA and even inside, like what we see in Yellowstone Park. There the law requires me to camp at a camp gourd and those have to be reserved. I prefer to stop when and where I like. But not knowing anything about the great lakes, I don’t know if the shores are mostly private, or government regulated and any such things. i really need a good source of information and someone that knows the ins and outs of a longer trip.
Because of our plans I and my friends would not be much of an intrusion. We’ll need a place to park a few trucks, and know where to go to find resupplies. We can pack enough for 3 weeks and need no resupply but it’s not as comfortable as getting foods that are not like field rations (I have eaten more of those than I can calculate, so real food is nice for me) we had talked about seeing if we could find camp showers in a few places along the way but I don’t know if such things are in existence on the Great Lakes. I and my brother are OK with living out of a pack (or a kayak0 for weeks at a time, and I have done that for many years professionally so I am comfortable enough with the idea, but 2 of the 4 would REALLY like to get cleaned up every few days. As of this minutes I have NO idea what to expect and even which lake would be the best one for our adventure.
Please advise1
(anyone else who knows, please chime in too)

Would you be interested in being our advisor?

I’m from Milwaukee, WI. Mostly a day tripper. The west coast of Lake Michigan has a water trail, but I’m not familiar enough to speak about it. Check it out on line. I think it goes from Kenosha to Green Bay. There are camping spots too.

I’ve driven up the east coast of Lake Michigan and they have beaches all up and down. I just don’t know the rules on camping on them. That would be ideal if you can camp “anywhere”.

I’ve paddled in the Apostle Islands in southwest Lake Superior. You have to reserve your spots and such, but there are a bunch of islands (20?), sea caves, lighthouses, etc. It is an amazing area for kayaking.

I’ve also canoed around and in Isle Royale in Lake Superior. A fabulous experience. Again, it is a national park so you have to plan and reserve. The island is 40 miles long by 5 miles wide with fiords, large moose population, inland lakes, history, etc.

As I understand it, the north shore of Lake Superior is good for the type of trip you are looking for with the exception that there were spots where you cannot get out of the lake.

I’m going to have to do some research I am sure. What I’d like may not exist anymore, but that’s a trip where contact with other people is very very rare, and the shores are largely wild. Stepping back into the early 1900s so to speak. Such places on the great lakes may not even exist anymore for all i know. i have driven through all the surrounding states and the population is pretty dense for the most part from what I’ve seen. but maybe there is still some long stretches of shore line that are mostly as they were 100 - 150 years ago. (???)

That’s a really interesting question/quest. I suspect you’d be more likely to find that feeling on the north shore of Lake Superior or Huron, though the south shore of Lake Superior might satisfy the itch as well.

Your post sent me down a little bit of a rabbit hole looking at 1900 and 1930 USGS topo maps on GaiaGPS; that might be a useful resource for planning.

I’ll throw this out there too. Canada. If you watch some YouTube videos by Jim Baird he does some really remote stuff. I’m thinking you could zoom in on some large bodies of water in central Canada and plan a circumnavigation that would last a couple of weeks.
I’m moving to the upper peninsula of Michigan this summer. I’ve been exploring semi remote areas for fishing/camping. Again, more of a day tripper, but the UP is fairly remote compared to the lower 47 (did I just say that?).
If you are driving through or want to stay a bit give me a holler and I’ll see if I can help.

I am a few summers away from this adventure as of now. I still have a few years of back-log to complete in my work before I can go on such a trip, but it’s on my bucket list.

Canada has crossed my mind a few time. Is there a lot of hassle with crossing the border in a kayak? Searches or inspections. And more importantly what is it like coming BACK into the USA from Canada? From what I was told by friends driving into Canada the cops that give the hardest time to people are those on the USA side of the border. I have a friend who took his family into Alberta and going north was easy fast and friendly but coming back to his own country he was treated like a criminal. Is that same true for kayakers?

Generally, that’s my experience. You’re likely to get hassled more crossing back into the US. That said, years ago, after living 5 years in Ontario I moved back to the US. Crossing from Niagara Falls (ON) to Niagara Falls (NY) in a station wagon absolutely packed with everything from house plants to a cat (I was prepared with all the necessary paperwork), the agent said “Welcome Home” and that was it. It depends who you get and how they’re feeling!
One tip: I’d take kayaks and canoes made in the US, Canada, or Mexico if you can. They are exempted from duty by the tri-lateral trade agreement so you’ll not be suspected of bringing them into Canada (where they are more expensive) to sell. Also proof of ownership if you have it.

Do they require passports for paddlers? Also what would they consider to be valid as proof or ownership. I have bought and/or resold 32 kayaks so far and only 2 were bought new. All the rest were used so there are no receipts but I do have Wyoming State stickers on them. Such stickers might be thought of as a “paper trail” (??)

An “enhanced” driver’s license (like the TSA accepts) is sufficient, but I would go ahead and get a passport. It’s not terribly expensive and lasts a long time (10 years, if I recall), and it won’t be questioned.
For proof of ownership, a receipt with HIN or boat description is best, but for obviously used boats I suspect your Wyoming sticker will suffice. They (US or Canada) don’t really care about the boat, it’s all about the money. If they perceive it to be of lower value, they likely won’t bother. I’ve been only questioned once. I was entering Canada with a paddling partner who had an expensive, almost new Swift kayak. Canada Border Services worried that it would be sold in Canada. After some discussion of where we were going and how long we’d be, they said “OK”. Again, if your boats show some battle scars, I would expect no questions other than the usual ones about birthplace, home town, purpose and destination, firearms, self-defense sprays, drugs, etc… Please note that I’ve not crossed the border since before COVID so things may have changed.

I think Buffalo Alice nailed it with border crossing advice. One other thing to prove ownership might be to photo your car/kayaks upon entry and show the dated photo upon exit. You never know…

Photos can help. Though I once stopped on the US side at Ogdensburg NY before crossing into Ontario to show our people an itemized list and photos of antique furniture I was taking west. They looked at my documentation but did nothing else. Then crossing back into the US at Sault Ste Marie, I was taken aside and given the 3rd degree for an hour by a particularly nasty pair of customs agents. As I said before, who you get and how they’re feeling is always a roll of the dice. Just answer the questions, briefly and truthfully, and offer nothing else.

I have paddled several sections of Lake Superior in two week trips. Much of that will have you paddling without seeing many people, except maybe where you want to camp in the more populous sections. The most remote section is between Wawa and Marathon, Ontario where there are no roads or population centers of any size for about 100 miles. It can also be difficult to get VHF signals to get weather reports in that section. Even paddling the Michigan shore from Wisconsin to Marquette, you really only pass two population centers (Houghton/Hancock and Marquette) in about 200 miles.

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