Posted by: kimmeroo | April 7, 2012

Paddling Interlude

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that spring is full on here (snow is once again in the forecast), but in mid-March we did have almost two weeks of near summer weather (I’m talking 25+ C). It was ridiculous. However, if you can put aside the frightening implications for global warming, it was pretty darn nice for biking and paddling. So, we planned a short sea kayaking trip for March 25-27. Unfortunately the warm weather ended before that so we missed the ideal window, but it was still sunny and above 0C…

The plan was to paddle on Lake Huron from Thessalon to Blind River. Mike and Bruce joined us as well. It was rainy and kinda nasty when we left town on Sunday morning, but it was okay by the time Bruce and I got dropped off at the put-in (Conor and Mike carried on to leave a vehicle at the take-out), and nice and sunny by the time we got on the water around 1pm.

It was also WINDY. It was windy but reasonable when we started, but it continued to get windier as the afternoon went. Conor and Mike were loving it, of course. I alternated between enjoying it and once in awhile feeling a bit over my head. We pulled off for a break after rounding one point of land – which are always the trickiest in terms of wind and waves – and debated whether or not to continue. A pro for continuing was that Bruce thought he needed sand to set up his teepee, and Mike was sure that the island site he had in mind had a beautiful sandy beach. A con (for Bruce and I anyways) was more windy paddling, but looking at the map it looked like we would be paddling in a somewhat sheltered cove for awhile, with maybe one significant point to go around, so we all decided to carry on.

Seal launch after lunch

As it turned out, Mike was not entirely sure what route to follow through the mess of islands leading to our campsite, and we ended up paddling around what seemed like a gazillion headlands. At one point we ended up in a dead end and had to turn around and paddle into the wind for a few 100m. I hadn’t realized just how strong the wind was until I had to paddle into it! Felt like a watery treadmill.

The final headland was pretty intimidating (or fun, depending on who you are!), but we all got around it and shortly thereafter pulled up into our cove. I actually thought it wasn’t the spot we had been planning on for a few hours, since there was hardly a speck of sand to be seen! Turns out Mike’s memory had been less than perfect… It ended up being a good thing though, because Bruce learned that he can indeed set up his teepee on rock, and that it’s actually much nicer that way.

Campsite on Burton Island

Bruce’s teepee lovin’ the rock

It cooled down quite a bit that evening and overnight, but Bruce’s teepee has a little woodstove so we hung out in that all evening before bed and were nice and toasty. The next morning there was a little bit of shore ice, but nothing too serious. It was also much calmer in the morning, so we had a more peaceful paddle (or boring, depending on your perspective…) and an easy crossing over to Tonti Island where we had lunch. This was an incredible spot – looked like we were in the Caribbean (well, apart from the drysuits and whatnot).

After a relaxing lunch we carried on to the take out in Blind River. Originally we were planning to take a second night, but the weather forecast for the following day was terrible so we decided to quit while we were ahead.

A good start to the paddling season!

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