If you are looking for an adventure this summer you should consider joining me on Lake Superior as we circumnavigate the extremely remote, Michipicoten Island (map link). The Michipicoten Island Expedition (as we've dubbed it) is being organized by Naturally Superior Adventures and is an 8-day sea kayaking adventure for intermediate paddlers looking for a challenge yet still want to be under the care of a guide. The plan is to take a 60 kilometer boat shuttle from Michipicoten Bay out to the mystic Michipicoten Island. We will then circumnavigate the island, make the 18 km perpendicular crossing from Bonner Head to the mainland, then eastwards along the Superior Highlands shore before finishing back at the NSA base in Michipicoten Bay, a total of about 140 km over the eight days. Michipicoten Island has a bunch of caves. This is one of the largest and they used to store dynamite in there when the cooper mine was active. Michipicoten has a very interesting cultural history. Once shunned by First Nations peoples as a place of malevolent giants, Michipicoten Island became one of Ontario's most promising sources of copper and an easy access point to Lake Superior's seemingly endless bounty of fish in the early 1900s. Since then, the copper mine and fishing village have been abandoned. All that remains are old mine shafts, ramshackle buildings and flourishing populations of woodland caribou and beaver. Throw in a couple of lighthouses and a few shipwrecks, rugged shoreline and you've got everything all wrapped up in this island expedition. For those who have always wanted to do a trip on Lake Superior but shied away from a fully pampered guided trip, this is the adventure for you. It's unique in that it's designed as a self-reliant expedition so all members of the group are responsible for their own food & gear. I won't be cooking for you but I'm quite happy to bring you a cup of my famous poor tasting and burnt coffee in the morning. My role in the as leader will be to provide logistical support, local knowledge, a safety net…
It’s been a very, very busy couple of weeks and I realized that I never got a chance to write about my must recent adventure teaching onLake Superiora couple of weeks ago. For the second year in a row, I had the pleasure of being invited up to Naturally Superior Adventures to teach a Paddle Canada Level 2/BCU 3* course. My good friend, Erik Ogaard was also teaching a Paddle Canada level 3 course that same week so I hitched a ride with him. The journey north from Toronto to Wawa is no small trip across town. The 12 hour adventure requires CD playlist ground rules and it was quickly established that we would only listen to greatest hits CD’s by artists from the 70’s and 80’s. With that in mind we made the trip rocking to Bruce, The Zeppelin, The U2’s and Mr. Bowie. Needless to say there was a solid amount of both air guitar and drumming to keep the cars passing us entertained. The original plan was for Naturally Superior Adventures to offer the two courses during the same week. The level 2/3* was going to be taught by Bonnie Perry, myself and assisted by Ray Boucher and the level 3 by Erik but due to some last minute participant drop-outs, we decided to combine both levels and teach everything as a level 3/3* course. Combining courses always has potential pitfalls. There is the potential for level 2 students to be overwhelmed by the level 3 material and level 3 students to be underwhelmed by the paddling conditions. Since we had four instructors we decided to work as a group and split up into smaller groups if necessary to deliver the material at the different group’s skill levels. With very careful planning, it was a working model that ended up being quite successful. Anyways, I had an absolutely fantastic time teaching with my fellow partners in crime, Bonnie, Erik and Ray and I pretty much spent the whole time laughing at and with them. They are both awesome people to hang out and teach with. For teaching…
You might remember a couple of weeks ago I wrote about Dave and Matt Turgeon's canoe expedition across Canada to raise finds for the Sick Kids Hospital here in Toronto. Things were going fine until they reached Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario where they got robbed. Thieves made off with about $500 worth of Dave and Matt Turgeon's gear when they left it on shore by the city's waterfront boardwalk early Tuesday afternoon to make a quick supply run to Station Mall. "We were only gone 15 minutes," said an exasperated Dave Turgeon, 42, shortly after talking to police. Taken was about $500 worth of rain gear, knives, tools, and, interestingly, the GPS tracking unit the Turgeons were using to update the progress of their expedition for the Sick Kids Foundation on their website. Dave said the GPS unit provides current location data only, meaning the thief could do little with it but give away his or her own location on the Turgeons' website. "If they're stupid enough to hit the button," noted Dave. I guess this shows that the woods are safer then the city. More info:
I’m going canoe camping with the family this weekend and I’ve decided to camp like this guy and really get away from it all. See you Monday with good memories and new Nintendo Wii high scores. Photo credit: Fail Blog
I just received an email from my friend Conor Mihell to let us know that along with his paddling partner Craig Zimmerman; they finally completed a substantial 8-day paddle on Lake Superior out from Wawa to Michipicoten Island then due south to Caribou Island and home again. Though the total distance of roughly 300 kilometres isn’t that huge; what’s impressive is that approximately 110 km of it was over open water. You see, to get out to Caribou Island you need to make two major crossings (16km and 35km) then do it all over again when going home. Over the course of 8 days you need four at the right time with good enough weather to make the crossings and that’s rare on Lake Superior. If you haven’t heard of Caribou Island that’s perfectly ok. There isn’t a whole lot out there and it can get confusing due to the fact that there are six Caribou Islands in Ontario alone and two of them just happen to be on Lake Superior. View the Caribou Island Expedition Route in a larger map. The one I’m talking about on the eastern end of the lake is about 35km (22 miles) due south of Michipicoten Island and about 65km (40 miles) west of the nearest shore. The island is uninhabited and often described as swampy and buggy by those researchers who have been lucky to get dropped off out there. With that amazing(ish) sales pitch, it’s amazing that only two other groups have kayaked out to the island in the past. From what Conor and Craig can tell; a gentlemen made the crossing solo in the mid 80’s and another team of Americans did it as part of a three-night trip across Lake Superior in the 90’s. I know there isn’t a great public record of these types of things so others might have done it before and didn’t tell anybody. Conditions of the major crossing south were near perfect (flat, cool and little wind) but it wasn’t long before thunderclouds started building to add some stress to an already stressful day. Luckily the…

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