MI U.P. - Pictured Rocks/Grand Island

-- Last Updated: Apr-30-13 10:41 AM EST --

Hi Everyone. My wife and I are planning a trip to paddle Pictured Rocks this fall. Looking like Aug 10-?. My wife is a photographer, so she's planning to take pictures.

We're pretty experienced paddlers, but don't venture onto the Big Lakes. I'm well aware of the dangers of Lake Superior and fully intend to take all precautions (NOAA radio, GPS, wetsuits, PFDs, paddle plan, pumps, etc).

We have sit-on-top kayaks, both higher-end angling models. Wilderness Systems Tarpon 12' and a Malibu Stealth 14'. Everyone seems to use sea kayaks for touring, for obvious reasons. Easier to paddle, track straighter, etc. But, I'm not going to invest $3k+ in new touring kayaks for this trip, nor do I want the time/hassle/expense of renting when I can easily pull my own up. Are SOT's do-able? They are significantly more stable than any narrow touring type I've paddled, so I'm surprised they're not used more. Is 12' too small assuming weather is good, minimal wind and swells are 0-2'?

We're planning to make several small 8-10 mile trips, with an entire day "missed" due to weather, which we'll hike, instead. The Great Lakes Sea Kayaking Symposium routes look quite manageable.

We'll be towing our kayaks behind a small fwd car on a custom trailer. Is anyone familiar with the access road to Little Beaver Lake? Passable for small cars?

We’ve been there, but I can’t answer
your questions knowledgeably. We observed long periods when the lake was calm enough for you to do what you want to do, but wind conditions can change very quickly.

So I think you’ll have to scope out weather conditions very carefully, and see that your chosen routes allow you to get to land if necessary.

Rent some
Rent some sea kayaks from the local outfitter in Munising. That way you don’t have to worry about hauling yours and you will have sea kayaks which will give you some protection from the cold water and wave action.

Have a Plan B
We went up there a several times, and have yet to catch the right weather to paddle our canoe in that water. A good other idea is to do the Big Island Wilderness, or Sylvania. We’ve done the Two-Hearted river a few times, but the outfitter’s place burned up a couple years ago, so you’d have to do your own shuttle. I don’t know if the river is worth running after the fire.