Trip Reports

Apostle Island Sea Kayaking Trip Report

Kayaking the Apostle Islands

Yesterday, I went over to the Apostle Islands with Stephen Regenold and TC Worley of Gear Junkie. They were filming a travel piece and needed some kayakers to help out, so I recruited my friend John Amren, and we all trekked over to the islands. For those that don’t know, the Apostle Islands are often called the premier sea kayaking destination on Lake Superior. The National Park Service, which manages the islands, calls them the “Jewels of Lake Superior.” They are about two hours east of Duluth, Minnesota, four hours from the Twin Cities and about 30 minutes north of Ashland, Wisconsin. A peninsula juts out into Lake Superior and the 21 islands that make up the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore radiate off of the top of the peninsula. If you think Lake Superior looks like a wolf, which is how it’s often described, the peninsula is the wolf’s mouth and the islands its teeth.

kayakers on a sand beach in the Apostle Islands.The islands themselves are wooded mounds of sand and sandstone. In areas where the sandstone is exposed to the explosive power of THE great lake, the wave action has created caves and arches and sandstone pillars. The rock is generally rounded smooth. Many sand beaches dot the shorelines, and for historic buffs, many old lighthouse crown the islands. Some are still in use. There’s a long history of habitation in the islands that dates back to Native Americans, then the European invaders, commercial fishing, logging and eventually park status. If you’re into islands and don’t want to drive just north of Lake Superior to the 50o islands of Lake Nipigon, then the Apostles are your destination.

On this trip, we converged on John’s house in Duluth before heading to the Apostle, and because Gear Junkie was filming a piece we went to Bayfield and the park headquarters to film before heading to Meyer’s Beach on the west side of the peninsula. Meyer’s Beach in Squaw Bay provides almost instant access to the mainland sea caves, which was our kayaking destination. After suiting up, attaching lots of GoPro HD HERO cameras (which are totally sweet), we were ready for kayaking. While we launched and then paddled through the tight caves passages and into large amphitheaters, TC filmed us. The caves go on for a mile or so and end in a nice beach. We stopped, shot some more film, and then TC and Stephen went to a top of a cliff and had me paddle under and do some rolls while they video taped me.

Lake Superior sea stackWe got off the water just as the sun set a bright saturated orange over a mirror calm lake. Once packed, we drove to get a beer and pizza at the Thirty Pagan in Superior, WI. I got to my campsite on the north shore at about midnight thirty and then woke up for the sunrise at 5am. And ended up with a shot that I’ve wanted to get for years.

It’s really fun meeting people involved in the outdoor industry, and it’s even more fun going kayaking with them. Great trip.

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