A two-day event for kayaks and surf skis through Northern Michigan’s Chain of Lakes, a water trail starting in Ellsworth and ending in Elk Rapids on Lake Michigan, about 45 miles of paddling through some lovely protected natural areas and a few of the north’s dynamic inland lakes, Torch and Elk Lakes being the most challenging. September 15-16.
Paddlers decide how far they paddle on one day, or both days. It’s not a race; it’s a paddling celebration. Boats are left in Ellsworth the evening of September 14. Nifty kayak valet service: when you unload your boat there’s a couple of guys waiting to carry it to the starting line. Just make sure you tuck a towel in a hatch as nights cool nights of autumn make boats dewy in the morning. Overnight security provided.
There’s a current from the start to the finish as these waters lead to Lake Michigan. First 15 miles are easy, provided the Headwind Gods are benevolent.
Fresh water at every checkpoint, lots of safety boats on the water, lakefront residents cheering on the paddlers, and if a paddler tires earlier than anticipated, they can get to the next checkpoint where they and their boat will be taken care of and the paddler shuttled to where their vehicle’s parked (a volunteer watches over the kayak).
Food, music, and refreshments all great. A very well organized event that benefits paddlers through the creation of new launch sites and improving existing ones.
I believe this grew out of Shorts brewing’s “Shorts to Shorts” paddling event. It does go through a couple large lakes, mainly Torch and Elk lakes. The 2 times I did the paddle waves were an issue as were people that really didn’t have any paddling experience and were there for the party…
It would be safe to assume this is the reason for “kayaks” only. Although I see they do allow surf skis which is interesting…are they any more safe than a canoe ? What about decked canoes, set up for expedition paddling, are they allowed?
Am guessing the prohibition against canoes and SUPS is for safety reasons. Kayaks with sails are a no-no as well. They do have other (shorter) paddling outings where all small vessels are welcome. If you have a decked expedition canoe, send a photo of it to the organizers and ask if it will be accepted. People with little/no experience don’t paddle decked expedition canoes and I think it’s the inexperienced they’re most concerned with.
I recall one surf ski last year, paddled by an elite racer. First place in her class at the MR340 and Chattajack, etc., etc. There are very, very good paddlers who show up.
The folks who want to drink and paddle can hook up with Traverse City’s kayak pub paddles. Think there’s now two outfits offering that.
I received a response from Paddle Antrim and decked canoes or any canoe for that matter are not welcome. I’m thinking I’ll save the $100 registration fee and paddle the water way that weekend, I don’t need another T-shirt anyways.
Registration for this weekend’s event has been extended to tomorrow (Wednesday, 9/13) at noon. The trees are beginning to flare with color here in the north woods, the monsoons and frost warnings have ended, and the weather and wind gods are blessing us with temps in the 70s with light wind and sunny days. Even the water temps remain somewhat warm. Best of all, the summer people have left so lake traffic is just about nonexistent.