The Legend of Sleeping Bear (courtesy of NPS)
Long ago, along the Wisconsin shoreline, a mother bear and her two cubs were driven into Lake Michigan by a raging forest fire. The bears swam for many hours, but eventually the cubs tired and lagged behind. Mother bear reached the shore and climbed to the top of a high bluff to watch and wait for her cubs. Too tired to continue, the cubs drowned within sight of the shore. The Great Spirit Manitou created two islands to mark the spot where the cubs disappeared and then created a solitary dune to represent the faithful mother bear.
You can see the two islands in the map to the right.
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.
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.
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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Click the "Read More" link at the bottom of each summary for more photos, to see an interactive map of the route, and to read about the adventure.
Maps in each blog post: Click the icons to learn more about the launch site (amenities) and destinations. Click the square in the bottom-left corner to see an aerial photo behind the route.