There are 21 Apostle Islands in Lake Superior (on the southwest corner), which were named by French missionaries after the 12 apostles (they clearly couldn't see all 21 islands). The islands were formed by wind wave erosion between ice ages, and were glaciated repeatedly after that. Terraces and wave cut platforms suggest that water levels used to be higher in Lake Superior. Of particular interest are the sea caves found on many of the islands. The Devils Island Formation geology is a red sandstone that formed from rivers depositing sediment thousands of years ago. The sea caves form when waves erode and undercut the base of the cliffs.
Early morning #5 billion. After a near miscommunication mishap with the Bismarck baggage agents, I successfully picked up (stole? it was so easy...) Jeff’s luggage before heading east to Fargo. We arrived within a few minutes of each other and booked it across the state of Minnesota in an attempt to arrive at the kayak shop by 4pm. 9 hours later, we arrived at Living Adventures Inc kayak rentals in time to pick up Pierre, the yellow Canadian Current Designs Storm. In Bayfield, we grocery shopped and discovered that Wisconsinites don't eat hummus or pitas (disaster!!!). We noted the intense humidity to which neither of us is accustomed. We went for a 2 hour evening paddle, launching from the Apostle Islands Marina and paddling south along the peninsula to Pikes Bay. The sandstone cliffs here are nearly vertical and bright red.
After a quick bagel breakfast with Devin and Ginny, during which Devin attempted to make espresso with a broken machine (no luck, resulting in another steamer), I hopped in the car and headed east: destination Bismarck. I only made a brief stop in the Badlands (Medora, ND), where the gas station attendants were amused by my inability to operate an old-fashioned gas pump.
Bridget and I started the day with some english muffin/eggs/avocado/tomato sandwiches before heading out for an epic kayaking trip. We rented a stubby Otter recreational boat from Peak Sports in downtown Corvallis. The put-in was allegedly a block away, so Bridget carried the boat while I drove to meet her. 5 blocks later, I found her staggering along, half dragging the boat through the grass. I parked to help her carry it the next 4 blocks. We launched onto the Willamette River and soon realized that paddling upstream would not be the relaxing morning paddle we had envisioned.
Last weekend Alice and I made an expedited road trip up towards Redding to dip our paddles in freshwater for a change. She'll be writing a post about our first day of paddling on Lewiston Lake, so stay tuned (Alice is a teacher and tomorrow is her last day of school!). Around 6:45am on Memorial Day we departed our lovely hill-side campsite at Lewiston Lake and headed back towards Whiskeytown Lake, stopping only for coffee/CheezIts/Ritz crackers at a gas station (surprisingly open at 7am on a holiday). Alice humored me as I cranked up the Whiskeytown (a country band that I discovered during my Friday Night Lights phase, and the real reason I wanted to go on this paddle). We launched from a little scarp adjacent to Oak Bottom Marina around 8:30am and began a relaxing morning paddle...
Clear Lake, in Lake County, California, has been on my to-paddle list since I discovered it on a map and learned about its fascinating history a few months ago. More than a few friends responded with apathy at visiting the lake, alluding to its reputation for motorboats, rednecks, and water quality issues. While I certainly love a remote, undeveloped lake, I also enjoy exploring other flavors of paddling! Alice agreed to join the long day trip. We left the Bay at noon, drove about 2.5 hours (after accidentally "meeting up" at two different park-n-rides in Novato), and put our boats on the water around 4pm. Within 5 minutes we jumped out of our boats to refresh, ignoring the algal bloom that filled the water around us.
My little brother's high school graduation in June brought me back to Boston for a long weekend. As usual, my visit home provided my mother and stepfather the opportunity to ask boat-related questions and favors. Last time it was "can you help us buy canoe paddles?" This time it was "can you fix the canoe seats? My brothers and I spent an afternoon measuring and drilling holes in the new canoe seats, bringing the old green canoe back into service.
Moeke (= "mom" in Flemish) and I took the boat on it's maiden voyage, version 2, down the Sudbury River near our house in Lincoln, MA. Here's a map:
To be honest, it's been so long since we did this short paddle that I can't remember much more. Oops. But here's my mother in her funny hat :)
Brief vent (happier discussion below): California Parks like rules, fees, and regulations.
I sometimes think that moving here has made me more conservative (in the fiscal sense). I don't remember paying for park entry, parking, or launching during the summer I paddled on the 11 Finger Lakes. If we encountered someone who told us to pay, we could drive down the next dirt road and find a free spot to put-in. Also, night paddles are not illegal in NY. What I really wanted to do on Saturday was to have a peaceful sunset paddle on the reservoir, but I had to be off the water by 6:30pm (1.5 hours before sunset)...
This is a blog about exploring the outdoors (mostly by kayak), traveling, trip planning, and coastal engineering. It currently focuses on kayaking in the Netherlands and Belgium, but previous posts cover Upstate New York, California, and much more. See the Complete List of Blog Posts for a history of the site. Looking for something specific? Search the site here.
In addition to the blog, check out the Water Nerd section, where I write about coastal engineering and hydrology.
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