We’re looking for info from anyone who has done this (or part of this) trip. Any information appreciated.
What do you want to know?
There is a good paddling guide from the Friends of Pukaskwa as well as a waterproof map.
I will be doing it again next summer.
We’d be interested in knowing about your trip - we have the map and have ordered an additional topo for once we’re out of the park. We are planning on taking 14 days - we would be interested in hearing about your experience - things to keep an eye out for (good and bad).
go to myccr.com
and type in Pukaskwa under the search engine.
14 days us plenty of time. Last time we did it in a week, but we had only one wind day.
We used Naturally Superior Adventures for our car shuttle and the vehicle was at the base on our arrival. We also stayed there on our last night.
After Aug 15 is risky as the west winds pick up then. June and July and early August are best. The old adage of figuring out one day in four will be a fog or wind day is good planning.
We found that getting on the water at sunrise and off by noon beat the worst of winds. I have heard of people paddling in the evening after dinner but Superior always continued its waves after dinner for us.
lets get you started
I advise that you be able to negotiate following seas to six feet without broaching. The west winds will bring up water waves that high even with a light breeze. Its not usually advisable to paddle right along the shore. Where there are cliffs there are reflecting waves which can easily upset you close in. Farther out a few hundred yards the effect is less. You might consider a drysuit and have rescue skills up to date.
Your food has to be in bearproof containers. You WILL see bears.
Thanks for the great link! Very helpful. Yes, we plan on using NSA the same way and had planned on doing all our paddling early morning and off the water around lunchtime. We are in no hurry.
Thanks for the tip about the bears - we do not have bear proof containers - guess we’ll put that on the shopping list…along with good dry suit tops. We will wear neoprene tops and bottoms.
The idea of following seas of six feet gives me the willies…we got caught in a brief squall on Lake Superior last summer with following seas of 2 - 3 feet and it seemed like we covered half a mile without ever paddling in about 30 seconds!
Thanks again for the info.
I highly recommend
getting a hand on Exploring the Coast by the Friends of Pukaskwa. It covers finding campsites and danger areas, starting with Campbell Point (if its rough there retreat, it does not get better) and the White River mouth which can kick up high waves with a west wind. The guide is only 30 pages long not including maps (which require a magnifying glass!) but well worth it.
You will want a weather radio too.
We did the entire coastline (around 110 total nm) a couple of years ago and made the trip in August. The winds were brutal and constant the entire trip. Also very cold. Make sure to pack warm clothing and good rain gear.
I would say following seas of up to 6 feet is a little much. With 14 days alloted for your trip, you can sit it out if need be. 4 ft waves are actually fairly large for most paddlers and that’s what you would encounter most of the time out there. Problem with that coastline of Superior is there are tons of nooks and crannies and small bays that are fairly wide across. When we paddled there, the wind was actually out of the southeast most of the time at approx 16-20knts consistent. So it made everyone of the those small crossings a huge chore once you pealed out from the protection of the shoreline and made you way across.
But I’d have to admit, the first day we set out from Hattie Cove was ridiculous. Seas were around 7 ft and wind gusts of 30+. We barely made it down the shore 1 mile and ended up surfing back for another round the following morning. But again, with your 2 week trip, you should have enough wind/weather days to chill at camp.
Pukaskwa is one of the most remote areas up there so definitely think self supported and don’t rely on anyone to bail you out. We didn’t carry bear containers…too bulky. We hung our food away from camp and didn’t have a problem. And yes, there were bear around almost daily.
All in all, one of my favorite areas of Superior for sure. David up at Naturally Superior adventures runs a top notch operation and will take care of you and the shuttle. Plus he has a little slice of heaven at his base of operation at the mouth of the Michipicoten.
I think Pukaskwa gives you a little taste of most shorelines on L Superior, from the beautiful sandy beaches, towering cliffs, glaciated rock formations…you name it.