Suggested: Photo of the Day | David Spiegel

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Leif Anderson showcasing his surf-style playboating steez at Skookumchuck, BC.

David Spiegel

adventurecloud.com
@d_spiegel

David grew up on the rivers of the Pacific Northwest. In college he picked up a camera and began documenting his travels to rivers in the Northwest, the Rocky Mountains, and around the globe. Over time, David’s focus shifted from purely action-based media to the intersection of adventure sports and conservation. Whether it’s a day of Class V creeking or a mellow multi-day rafting trip in the desert, David has his camera in his drybag to capture the intense, meaningful, and beautiful moments.

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Something New About: Legends of Rafting: Bill McGinnis

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Interview by Tyler Williams // Portraits by Rommi Linnik

Bill McGinnis helped take commercial boating from its crude roots to the polished professionalism it practices today. In 1975, McGinnis wrote Whitewater Rafting, the first source on the techniques of the sport. That same year, he started Whitewater Voyages, which grew into California’s largest and most diversified river outfitter. McGinnis’s guide-training programs became industry standard, and his variety of trips offered were unequaled. For decades, if you were a boatman who wanted to guide the hard stuff, you worked for Voyages. A true believer in the potential for inspired growth on commercially guided trips, McGinnis bred a culture of inclusivity. His quest for “Deep Fun,” has been widely emulated. His books on rafting and guiding (he’s written four, and seven books total) wielded broad influence, and the California rivers that McGinnis pioneered for rafting have become standard fare for later generations.

My love for nature was shared with my older brother, Gregor. As kids, we hiked creeks near our home whenever we could. Gregor always came up with business schemes — tool sharpening, donut making. I usually had a role, too, like finding customers.

San Francisco Bay became our playground. We put a sail on a canoe, but it got swamped repeatedly, so we found some huge driftwood logs and made a tri-maran. It had a deck and a cabin, even a stove. We’d sail it to Brooks Island and camp out at a fort we’d built there. We tried to take it beyond the Golden Gate once, but the Coast Guard spotted us and warned us of the shipping lanes, so we headed back. That wasn’t the last time the universe took care of me.

Gregor bought an 11-foot raft for $20. That was the start of our river running. We took it down the Stanislaus before it was dammed.

In the 1960s and ’70s, the Sierra Club’s River Touring Section was where you met river-runners, and I met Northern California pioneer Bryce Whitmore there. He owned a company called Wilderness Waterways, and he asked me if I wanted to be a guide.

On a training trip down the South Fork of the American, the boat I was in popped an oar above Satan’s Cesspool—the BIG portage! We came out the bottom just fine and I thought, ‘this really isn’t so bad.’

After that, I started organizing my own trips with friends at San Francisco State University. We shared the expenses, but I needed a little more money to replace equipment.

One day I propped the 11-foot raft against a tree at UC Berkeley with a sign that read, “Raft trips to wild places — cheap — inquire here.” I wrote the sign in French to give it a little more panache. The cops moved me off campus, so I set up on the street. Then the city police shut me down too, but by then I had a notebook full of interested names.

From that list, I took people rafting all over the West: Eel, Rogue, Salmon. We even went to British Columbia and ran the Clearwater. I had my first big mishap there and nearly drowned. That was an important lesson.

After getting my master’s degree in English Literature, I wanted to write a book and thought, ‘Why not a book on whitewater rafting?’ I interviewed many of the experts: Don Hatch, Bill Center, Dick Linfold. I realized that nobody knew what the next guy was doing. The book really became a collection of knowledge.

The New York Times published Whitewater Rafting in 1975. That was the first of several books I wrote related to rafting, including The Guide’s Guide, and River Signals. But Whitewater Rafting was the bestseller, and it launched me into outfitting. In the book’s appendix, I listed outfitters. I figured that if I ever wanted to be an outfitter, I better put myself on that list. So I did, and that really shifted my intentions.

Whitewater Voyages ran its first trip later that year. The Kern was our bread and butter. Eventually, we started rafting the Class V Forks of the Kern.

We were always looking for the next great trip. Sometimes they turned into good commercial runs like the Cal-Salmon, Burnt Ranch Gorge, and the Middle Fork of the American. Other times, for one reason or another, they were best left as training trips. The Middle Fork Feather, South Fork Trinity, and Giant Gap all fall into this category.

Eventually Whitewater Voyages got spread too thin, and I was ready to retire from the business anyway. I sold the various operations to a few different parties. Now I have time to raft when I like, and work on my latest book. It will be called Gold Bay, a futuristic novel set in the Bay Area. I still live there, go sailing (even out the Gate in a better boat now), and walk the creeks.

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Amazing: 14 Pitches in the Heart of the Middle East

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Photo Gallery: 14 Pitches in the Heart of the Middle East

This January, in the heart of the Middle East, a crew of rock climbers set out to establish an 1,800-foot, 14-pitch, 5.13+ route up Jordan’s Jebel Rum. On the outskirts of Wadi Rum, a region in the southern part of the country, the team composed of Mohammad Hussein, Madaleine Sorkin, Elad Omar, and Eli Nissan linked up with the local Bedouin people who have been working hard to establish a market for adventure tourism.

After three weeks of cleaning and searching for the best routes, the climbing team left without the opportunity or time for a free ascent. Just two weeks later, another team from the Czech Republic free-climbed the route in a continuous two-day effort with the blessing of the establishing crew.

Colorado-based filmmaker Henna Taylor, who is making a movie about the route’s creation, shares her best shots from the initial trip.

Photo: Boulder, Colorado–based pro climber Madaleine Sorkin attempts the fourth and most difficult pitch (5.13d) on the project we named the Sultan ul-Mujahidin, which translates to “Sultan of the Freedom Warriors.”

The view of Wadi Rum from the top of Jebel Rum, the tallest summit in the area, at more than 5,750 feet.
The desert is hard on vehicles. In Wadi Rum, every usable part is salvaged well after its running life.
Local guide Mohammad Hussein (pointing) worries for the future of the Bedouin people and is hopeful that tourism will return.
Israeli climbing guide Elad Omar and Sorkin worked tirelessly to find the best climbing sequences to free-climb the most difficult sections on the Sultan ul-Mujahidin. Omar and Eli Nissan began working on this route in 2014 and have spent countless hours to make it a reality. The rock is delicate sandstone. At times, they added a little glue to critical hand- and footholds to ensure the route’s sustainability for future free-climbing impacts.
Hussein and Omar taking a moment on Burdah Arch, near Wadi Rum.
Sunset in the desert, where the fine red sand felt almost like velvet.
Camels rule Wadi Rum. A Bedouin can send a camel home in the dark of the night, and it will find its way back with ease.
Israeli American climber and carpenter Eli Nissan on a break while establishing the Sultan ul-Mujahidin. During our time on the wall, we could hear the village’s call to prayer numerous times throughout the day.
A local man, Salle, and his son, Naile, adeptly butchered a goat for our dinner one evening. In less than an hour, the goat was slain, skinned, cleaned, butchered, cooked, and served.
Finally, after three years of route finding, cleaning, bolting, and climbing the Sultan ul-Mujahidin, the route is established and ready to be free-climbed from the bottom to the top in a continuous effort.

A few weeks after we left Wadi Rum, climbers Matěj Svojtka and Jáchym Srb, from the Czech Republic, took an interest in the Sultan. After a few days of work on the difficult pitches, the duo managed to free-climb the entire route. They personally thanked the first ascensionist for their work on the line, saying it was some of the best climbing they’d ever done.


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Must See: How to Find Hawaii's Secret Beaches

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Perfect white-sand beaches exist all over Hawaii, but many are filled with sand castles, surfers, beach towels, and oceanfront resorts. Get ready to wander a little off the beaten path on your way to these six blissfully empty beaches.

Kanaio Beach, Maui

The Hoapili Trail starts at a parking area at La Perouse Bay in south Maui and traverses through a barren, lava-strewn landscape for about 2.5 miles to this desolate black-and-white-sand beach. The trail is also known as the King’s Highway because it was once a walking path reserved for royalty. You’ll find remains from an old fishing village along the way.

Kauapea Beach, Kauai

You’ll walk 15 minutes down a steep path before arriving at this flawless strip of gold sand on the north shore of Kauai, bordered by steep cliffs. It isn’t that hard to get to, but Kauapea is often called Secret Beach and is secluded enough that folks occasionally sunbathe naked without anyone noticing. The trailhead isn’t marked, so ask around for directions. You’ll find it near the town of Kilauea, off a dirt path accessed from Kalihiwai Road.

Kapukahehu Beach, Molokai

Also known as Dixie Maru Beach, after a Japanese ship that wrecked near here in the 1920s, this half-moon-shaped favorite sits in a tiny cove on Molokai’s isolated western shore. It’s a well-protected beach flanked by a reef, making it an ideal spot for swimming and snorkeling. You can drive here via a roughly paved road that looks a little like someone’s driveway, accessed from the endpoint of Pohakuloa Road.

Pololu Valley Beach, Hawaii

Drive to the very end of the Kohala Coast’s Highway 270, and then hike the short but steep Awini Trail down a couple of dirt switchbacks to this striking black-sand beach surrounded by sharp lava. The trail to the beach is less than a mile, but if you want more of a trek, the path continues onward to the Honokane Nui Valley Lookout. Water currents are strong here, so it’s best to avoid swimming, and camping isn’t allowed, but you can linger on the beach as long as you’d like.

Halepalaoa Beach, Lanai

The only way to reach Lanai’s Halepalaoa Beach is with an off-road vehicle on a rugged dirt road. (If you’re staying at the Four Seasons Lanai, you can rent a 4×4 Jeep from the adventure center and staff will direct you to the beach.) Located on the eastern side of this sleepy island, this glittering sand beach is named after the whales that once washed ashore here. Once you get there, you’ll likely have the place to yourself.

Alan Davis Beach, Oahu

To get to Alan Davis Beach, you’ll park at the lot for the Makapu’u Lighthouse and walk the mellow Kaiwi Shoreline Trail for about 15 minutes to reach this secluded spot. You’ll spend your day swimming in a protected cove, cliff jumping, and exploring the towering rock formation above the bluff called Pele’s Chair.


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A Must Read: Souris River Quetico 17 Review

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Bill and Gail O’Neal. Paddling in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Northern Minnesota.

Review by Darren Bush

Photos by Aaron Black-Schmidt

 

Souris River makes a fine canoe. It’s true that the Quetico 17 is not going to win any beauty contests. It’s not a question of build quality, but construction method. The Quetico 17 is made without a core, but with a series of flexible ribs that are laid in by hand. The flexibility in the hull is presented as a feature rather than a drawback, so the hull will bend around objects encountered below the waterline.

Souris uses epoxy resin in their construction, with the claim that it makes a stronger than vinylester resins. There seems to be conclusive evidence that epoxy is stronger, but it has its disadvantages, such as its toxicity for people building the canoe. It’s all a balancing act, and Souris has chosen. It’s not a bad things, necessarily, but it’s worth nothing. Because they’re laid up by hand rather than vacuum bagged or infused, there may be stray fibers here and there. Again, nothing structural.

All that being said, here’s the good news: If you have ever owned a mid 60s Land Rover or Toyota FJ40, you’ll understand that the beauty of a thing isn’t always in the little cosmetic details. The paint drips on a Land Rover would make Jackson Pollock blush, but that never diminished my love for it. The Quetico 17 comes from this bombproof, rugged, but not perfect aesthetic.

The Quetico 17 is surprisingly quick. I was expecting something fairly barge-like due to the aesthetics, but I was dead wrong. It has gobs of stability, both empty and loaded, and it kept up with and even beat some of the slower canoes in the bunch. I don’t know how much the flexible core would make a difference once loaded down.

One feature I really liked was the curved thwarts, which are arched to allow for easier stowage of gear. At first I thought, “What’s the difference? Can’t be that big a deal.” Well, that little arch allows the Quetico 17 to swallow gear like a starving python swallows a goat. We fit four portage packs without even trying. It’s a simple and ingenious little touch.

The Quetico 17 is popular with outfitters. Indeed, we borrowed the one for our trip from a livery off the Gunflint Trail on the edge of the BWCA. They’re beefy, and if you’re hard on your canoes, the internal skid plates are a nice feature.

The canoe came standard with a yoke-shaped object, but it worked great with a pair of huge portage pads about the size of a small ottoman. They made the portages easy.

I think this is a great all-around canoe for folks who carry a lot of gear and tend to be on the rough side with that gear.

Length: 17′  |  Width: 35″  |  Weight: 44lbs.  |  Depth: 13.5″  |  Price: $2,995.00


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Wenonah Spirit II Nova Craft Cronje Northstar Northwind 17 Swift Keewaydin 17 Souris River Quetico 17
“Wenonah “Nova Craft “Northstar Swift

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Approved: Tripping Out: 5 Do-It-All 17-foot Canoes Reviewed

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Our fleet of canoes in Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Northern Minnesota.

Review by Darren Bush

Photos by Aaron Black-Schmidt

It’s a little embarrassing to admit this, but I own a baker’s dozen of canoes. That number fluctuates up and down a little, as I will not own a canoe I don’t paddle, and it hurts their feelings to get dusty.

I love them. I feel like a golfer, except I have boats instead of clubs. Doing a long trip? I grab my 18 ½ foot E.M. White. A little run down a local twisty river? How about a fifteen foot Prospector? Solo paddle with Alice, my Great Pyrenees? I’ll grab my Kevlar Nova Craft Pal. Solo paddle on a quiet pond? Maybe my old Blackhawk Covenant. Yep, just hand me my 8-iron, please.

I fully recognize that I have a unique situation (and a very understanding and supportive spouse). I also recognize that most folks have resources and space for one canoe to do everything. For many of us, the 17-foot omnibus canoe is the way to go.

Canoes are and were made in sizes from 10 to well over 20 feet. I’m not sure why 17 was the magic length. Maybe because Grumman built countless 17-footers and that became the standard length, as much by accident it was as on purpose. In any case, that’s what we have.

Portage, pack, paddle, unpack, portage – just another day in the BWACW.

Since it’s the size of canoe that most trippers would choose, we chose to review five 17-footers, good for a week in wilderness lake country. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness was the testing ground, and September the testing time. Because your reviewer is a smart guy when it comes to time and place. Because these boats would be portaged between lakes, we chose lightweight composite construction.

Author’s Note: Building a canoe is more arts than crafts. The men and women who build these boats are artisans. With a lightweight canoe, every single flaw is exposed to the naked eye, and you can’t see some of them until you pull the canoe out of the mold. The maker is sometimes flying blind and has to go by feel, born from their experience.

While it takes skill to build a composite kayak, a composite canoe builder is exposed to the world. No hiding a sloppy seam in a boat with no gelcoat or pigmented resins. Considering the artisans have less than a half-hour from start to finish when laying up a canoe you can begin to appreciate the skill it takes.

There will always be imperfections in a canoe; there should be. These are individual boats, made by many hands in a very short period of time. There is a Persian saying about woven rugs, that they are “perfectly imperfect, and precisely imprecise, as only God is perfect.” I think the imperfections in ultralight canoes are what make each one unique. In the days of mass-produced, soulless consumer goods, it’s a good exercise to think about the artisans who put their skills into making the boat under your seat.

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Wenonah Spirit II Nova Craft Cronje Northstar Northwind 17 Swift Keewaydin 17 Souris River Quetico 17
“Wenonah “Nova Craft “Northstar Swift

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Suggested: Photo of the Day | Ryan Creary

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Unknown paddler, Industrial Wave, Columbia River, Trail, BC

ryan creary

Ryan Creary

ryancreary.com

@ryancreary

After getting a taste for paddling during his university semesters in Ontario and summers spent guiding sea kayak trips back home in New Brunswick, Ryan Creary headed west to the Canadian Rockies, got a Dagger RPM, and never looked back, committing to photographing mountain sports full time for the past 15 years. A stalwart shooter for C&K’s publishing group partners at Bike and Powder, the Revelstoke, B.C.-based shooter never misses a chance to shoot on the water. “Nothing beats whitewater kayaking B.C. rivers during the warm summer months.”

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Must See: Why Lake Superior Is the Country's Most Overlooked Playground

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It's 12:56 a.m. and I’m spiraling down a rabbit hole of fear. There are the yellow ATTENTION: BEARS IN THE AREA. USE CAUTION signs plastered everywhere. Through my tent flap, lightning is illuminating swaying pines, which are bending with such ferocity that they sound like crashing waves. But my biggest worry lies a 15-minute walk away, down a mossy forest path—Lake Superior, a body of water with an average yearly temperature of 40 degrees, notoriously strong currents, fickle weather, and 25-foot waves that can sink massive ships.

I grew up in Duluth, Minnesota, within five miles of the world’s largest lake by surface area, and it has always seemed bipolar to me—sometimes serene, sometimes ­deeply destructive, always unpredictable. Summertime is as hospitable as the lake gets, and for the past few days it has been exceptionally mellow. I’m on the lake’s northeast shore exploring Ontario’s 725-square-mile Pukaskwa National Park, hiking empty backcountry trails, eating smoked trout on sand beaches backed by wave-sculpted granite, and camping at Hattie Cove Campground. Tonight’s electrical storm came out of nowhere. 

Morning brings relief. I zip out of my tent and greet an unusually hot and calm day. For the next few hours, three park employees, author Ruth Fletcher, her husband, Ward Conway, and I follow the 84-mile park shoreline in a powerful 30-foot search and rescue boat. It has shock absorbers on the front seats to withstand a pounding from waves. Today, however, the water is so placid that we’re speeding effortlessly past fjords, thunderous waterfalls, empty beaches, and defunct lighthouses. 

“You can’t get here unless the lake lets you,” says Fletcher when we land on a crescent-shaped beach at the mouth of the Imogene River. This is Lake Superior’s most ­remote point. There are no roads for 50 miles in any direction. It’s also the site of ­Fletcher’s book, The Puckasaw Diaries, an account of the 1920s logging camp where her ­father lived as a boy. More than 200 residents logged thousands of cords of timber in this area, until the stock market crashed in 1929 and the camp was abandoned. All that’s left is a decaying log cabin ­surrounded by daisies, disintegrating leather shoes, discarded glass bottles, and mounds of bear scat. 

Fletcher is here to familiarize the park’s staff with the area’s history. As she and Conway search the bush for a memorial plaque, installed by the park in honor of her father, I wade up to my knees in water so cold that it makes my calves spasm. I’ve felt that chill since I was a child splashing around on Park Point, a seven-mile sand beach in Duluth. I’ve spent the past 20 years writing about far-flung places, from Tasmania to Bhutan, and here I am awed by one of the most pristine, wild, and hard-to-reach regions in my own backyard. 

lake-superior-map.jpg
A map of Lake Superior and its surrounding towns.   Photo: Lucy Engleman

“If someone were to live here now, in some ways it would be even more remote than in my father’s time,” Fletcher tells me. “The only way out in the winter would be to dogsled 70 miles inland to White River.” 

Pukaskwa is the only wilderness-designated park in Ontario, an impressive distinction in a province that has about 1,000 polar bears, more than 250,000 lakes, and one person per square mile in its entire northwest region. With a single road in, surrounded by backcountry so dense that few people other than its original Anishinabek inhabitants have seen it, the park is a favorite of expert kayakers who paddle Pukaskwa’s raw coastline and backpackers who know they need at least ten days to hike the out-and-back 37-mile coastal trail. 

That kind of toughness sums up the steely character of most folks who have lived along Lake Superior over the centuries—from the Ojibwe to the French voyageurs to Nordic immigrant fishermen. 

Everyone except, perhaps, me. I can count on two hands the number of times I ventured off Lake Superior’s shoreline growing up in Duluth. In the winter, when the air temperature dropped below zero, steam would rise from the lake, shrouding the city in magical puffs of white. But on the dreariest days, the lake would reflect the lightless, bruised sky, so dark and heavy that I felt like it was crushing my spirit. My family didn’t have a boat big enough to safely navigate such a dangerous body of water. Its inaccessibility made Superior that much more mysterious—like a giant mood ring reflecting the temper of the universe. Even on the most benign summer days, its power was omni­present. Once, while landing my sister’s kayak on a rocky beach in five-foot waves, I capsized and hit my head. It made me wonder if the lake was a living entity, actively trying to kill me.


As an old high school buddy told me before I set off, “Looking into Lake Superior is like looking into the eye of God.” 

After 20 years living out west, I re­cently moved home to Duluth, and I’m fi­nally ready to embrace Superior, no matter her mood. I plan to spend three weeks circumnavigating the lake, driving clockwise up ­Minnesota’s north shore, camping in the national and provincial parks along the Ontario coast, then driving Michigan’s south shore back to ­Duluth, for a total of 1,300 miles. I’ll camp, kayak, and catch rides on sailboats, research vessels, fishing skiffs, and powerboats. It’s more than geography that drew me back north. I also missed the rugged authenticity of the people. No one can fake a love for the outdoors in a region where temperatures dip below zero for weeks each year.

Canada
Wilkie’s Volkswagen bus.   Photo: Jen Judge

Surfers Greg Isaacson and Erik Wilkie would agree. Before leaving Duluth, I meet up with them on a drizzly, 50-degree June morning. They’re in Wilkie’s Volkswagen bus in a parking lot at the mouth of the Lester River, waiting for a storm to firm the soupy chop into rideable waves at the Rock, a popular left break. But the chop isn’t cooperating. 

“Surfing on Lake Superior is a spiritual experience,” says Wilkie, a contractor who grew up in Anaheim, California. “That’s why I registered my surfing page on Facebook as a religious organization.”

“The best waves are in the winter,” he says. “I’ve surfed in December in ­negative-30-degree weather with windchill. We had icicles on our beards. As soon as the water hits, I get ice cream headaches and feel like I’m going to die.”

It’s reasonable to question these surfers’ sanity: I’ve seen the lake shatter skating-rink-size slabs of ice against the rocky shoreline in winter storms. 

The volume of the four lesser Great Lakes plus three more Lake Eries combined, Super­ior may be only 10,000 years old, but the bedrock along its north shore dates back 1.2 billion years. The Anishinabek and their descendants have been living around the lake almost as long as it has existed, mining copper deposits from Isle Royale to the ­Keweenaw Peninsula, paddling in birch-bark canoes, and trading furs with the Euro­peans soon after French explorer Étienne Brûlé arrived around 1622. Today fewer than a million residents live within its basin. By comparison, Lake Michigan’s has a population of more than 12 million. 

Because it’s so pristine, Lake ­Superior is increasingly valuable—for both its water and its recreation potential. With 2,726 miles of shoreline (including islands) stretching across three states and one Canadian province, it borders five national parks in the U.S., one in Canada, and ­roughly two dozen state and provincial parks. Isle Royale, the 893-square-mile strip of forest in the lake’s northwest corner, is the least visited national park in the lower 48. In ­Ontario, the Lake ­Superior National Marine Conservation Area, approved in 2015, will place 13 percent of Lake Superior water­—including the fish and more than 600 islands—under protection. 

  • Paddleboarding Caribou Lake.  Photo: Jen Judge

  • Dinner at the Lutsen Lodge.  Photo: Jen Judge

  • Hiking in Ontario’s National Marine Conservation Area.  Photo: Jen Judge

  • Shredding at Copper Harbor.   Photo: Jen Judge

  • Picnic at Gooseberry Falls State Park.  Photo: Jen Judge

  • Lake Superior Provincial Park.  Photo: Jen Judge

Lake Superior’s shoreline contains every­thing from thousand-foot cliffs, miles-long white-sand beaches, and vast, empty wilder­ness up north to deciduous forest and caves carved from 500-million-year-old limestone on its southern side. All ­together it’s a giant, world-class playground for hiking, trail running, mountain biking, kayak­ing, sailing, backcountry camping, and open-water swimming (for anyone crazy enough to try). 

“Duluth has a legend that Lake Superior doesn’t give up its dead,” Isaacson tells me.

Actually, it isn’t legend. It’s scientific fact. Lake Superior is so cold that if a person dies in it, his or her body is unlikely to resurface. The bacteria that makes a body float grows too slowly here. 


July and August are Lake Superior’s most serene months, so I pull out of my driveway at 5:01 a.m. on July 14. As I drive north on Scenic Highway 61, the lake is flat. That’s good, because at 5:30 I meet fisherman Stephen Dahl at the Knife River Marina, and we putter a half-mile out in his 18-foot, handmade, steel-hulled fishing boat powered by a 25-horsepower Yamaha. 

Dahl has a robust build and a bushy beard that makes him look like a Viking in flame orange waders. He holds one of only 25 highly coveted commercial fishing licenses for the lake’s 189-mile-long Minnesota shoreline and has been net-fishing for herring and lake trout seven days a week, from April through December, for the past 28 years. 

There are 34 native and 18 non-­native fish species in the lake, and the fishery is strictly managed. Dahl had to ­lobby multiple government organizations for years to get his 5,500-per-year lake-trout quota. In the off-season, Dahl, who studied Scandinavian literature in Copenhagen, builds harps for his wife and writes poetry in his log ­cabin. The only technology he carries in the boat today is a globelike compass patched together with electrical tape. 

“I don’t use a GPS,” he tells me. “It’s just another electronic piece that’s going to get wet and smashed.” 

We’re out here at dawn because it’s the calmest time of day. The wind and waves will soon pick up, which is why now is a good time to internally review the one-ten-one rule of cold-water immersion. People wearing flotation devices who are submerged in water colder than 59 degrees have one minute to recover from the shock, ten minutes before losing effective use of their limbs, and one hour before losing consciousness due to hypothermia. Twenty percent of submerged people die in that first minute—with or without a personal flotation device. Luck­ily, there’s no fog today. If I was to fall out of the boat, I figure my chances of surviving a swim to shore would be 50/50. 

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Fisherman Steph Dahl.   Photo: Jen Judge

Dahl can haul in up to 1,000 pounds of herring in one of his two 300-foot fishing nets—a technique that hasn’t changed since Norwegian immigrants started fishing this shoreline in the 1880s. Lake Superior’s herring stocks fluctuate, but the lake trout have recovered nicely since a sea lamprey infestation almost decimated the fishery in the 1960s. Dahl’s livelihood depends on his daily catch. Today, after an hour, he has hauled in a single foot-long lake trout that he categorizes as “tinier than tiny.” 

“I have some crazy Nordic genes running around in this body,” he says. “Some days I come out here and get beat to hell, but it gets in your blood. The beauty of Lake Superior is the cold. It’s a real simple fishery because it’s so sterile. Being cold doesn’t scare me. What scares me with Lake Superior is the warming planet.” 

That has a few people worried. Before leaving Duluth, I spent a day on the Blue Heron, a research vessel for the Large Lakes Observatory, which could be considered the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution of fresh­water. The boat is structurally identical to the Andrea Gail, the Massachusetts fishing vessel that was lost in the Atlantic and memorialized in The Perfect Storm. But the Blue Heron has been retrofitted with state-of-the-art scientific instruments. 

“The good news is that the largest lake on earth is not too terribly messed up,” Robert Sterner, the observatory’s director, told me after we chugged under the 227-foot-tall Aerial Lift Bridge in Duluth and into the great steel blue expanse of water. “The bad news is that it is the fastest-warming lake on the planet.” 

Sterner and a few fellow scientists were on the cruise to gather data to apply for a $6 million, six-year grant from the National Science Foundation to do long-term ecological research. Also on the boat was Jay Austin, a physicist who earned his Ph.D. in oceanography at MIT and Woods Hole. His 2007 research, the first comprehensive study of global warming as it pertains to the Great Lakes, shows that, while individual years vary, since 1980 Superior has been warming by an average of two degrees every decade. No one knows how that will change the lake and its ecosystem.

“We’re still going to see years of ice on the lake, but we’re going to see less of them,” Austin said. “We’re trying to improve our ability to predict what will happen as the lake gets warmer.” 

It still feels invincible as it starts to toss Dahl and me around like a toy. After two hours, the current becomes so strong that Dahl decides not to pull up his second net. When we return to the marina, an old-­timer fisherman named Royce is sitting in his truck, waiting for the daily report. He gives me a quizzical look and asks Dahl, “What did you catch out there, a mermaid?” 


Like thousands of northern Minnesotans, my great-grandparents emigrated from Nordic countries in the late 1800s to fish, farm, and log. Minnesota and the larger lake region are famously ridiculed by non­locals who love to crack Sven and Ole jokes. But one of the most refreshing traditions they brought with them is the sauna culture. Saunas are everywhere—in my sister’s Du­luth backyard, on rocky outcrops behind lake cabins, and on Thompson Island, a provincial nature reserve, located 14 miles south of my next stop, Thunder Bay, Ontario, that offers a well-maintained public sauna for passing sailors and kayakers. Thunder Bay has the highest concentration of Finnish residents per capita in all of Canada. Sweating it out in a 200-degree wood-fired sauna is the best way to work up enough nerve to jump into Lake Superior. 

The Canadian border is less than 200 miles from Duluth, but it has taken me three days to arrive. There are too many distractions: a break for a breaded whitefish sandwich and beer-battered fries at Dockside Fish Market in Grand ­Marais, and eight Minnesota state parks, with ­waterfalls as high as 120 feet and trails that feed into the 310-mile-long Superior Hiking Trail. 

In Ontario, the vast emptiness of the lake’s coast sets in. In the 443 miles between Thunder Bay (population 108,359) and the eastern gateway city of Sault Ste. Marie (population 75,141), there is no town with more than 5,000 people.

Everything feels wilder here. The Sleeping Giant cliffs rise 1,200 feet straight out of the water on 32-mile-long Sibley Peninsula. To get a closer look, I hitch a ride with Gregory Héroux, owner of Sail Superior, on his 40-foot boat. A former amateur hockey player, Héroux trained three years on Lake Superior before he sailed out of Thunder Bay, across the Great Lakes, to the Atlantic, over to the Mediterranean, and back again. 

“Lake Superior is known as the Everest of freshwater sailing,” he says. “You do something wrong out here and you’ll be cryogenically preserved.” 

There’s a cool breeze that causes the boat to heel, and the vastness of the lake makes me feel about the size of a water molecule. 

After camping, mountain biking, and hiking for a few days at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, I drive 305 miles east to Wawa, a community that has been continuously occupied for at least 700 years. The original inhabitants were the Anishinabek, whose Ojibwe descendants still live here among the environmentally minded kayakers, biol­o­gists, and park employees. One resident is Joel Cooper. He retired years ago from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and lives with his wife, Carol Dersch, a naturalist for Lake Superior Provincial Park, in a log cabin with no indoor toilet that overlooks a beach. 

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A tugboat in Bayfield, Wisconsin.   Photo: Jen Judge

“I’ve lived here for 35 years and do what I do out of sheer love and respect for the lake,” Cooper says. That includes ­prefabbing and installing ten “thunder boxes” along a 50-mile stretch of public land between Pukaskwa National Park and Wawa, so that passing kayakers will have a more comfortable and concentrated place to answer nature’s call. He also monitors peregrine falcons with his wife and volunteers to shuttle people in his 19-foot powerboat for ­Naturally Superior Adventures, a kayaking company that offers paddling expeditions along the whole Ontario coast. 

Today the lake is glassy enough to water-ski as we speed past one beach after another on our way to the Dog River, a Class III–V whitewater playground that ends in 131-foot-high Denison Falls in Nimoosh, a roadless provincial park. Canadian canoeist Bill Mason filmed Waterwalker, the original 1980s whitewater film, on the river. “This type of recreation is for real introverts,” Cooper says. “Out here you’re on your own.” 

Before I cross back into the U.S. through Sault Ste. Marie, I spend a night at Agawa Bay Campground in Lake Superior Provincial Park. The Trans-Canada Highway bisects the park, but it’s still beautiful, with aboriginal pictographs—such as the lynx-like creature the Ojibwe call the Spirit of the Waves—painted on a high cliff and a coastal trail that runs 40 miles along its 60-mile shoreline. The trail demands all my powers of concentration to pick my way through slippery boulders, deep sand, and smooth slabs of rock. In four hours I encounter no one. When I finally pitch my tent, the sky is a granite-colored smudge and a storm is brewing on the horizon. I’m excited to see it coming—after two weeks of unusually warm, placid weather, I’m ready for Lake Superior to unleash its rowdy side. 


How long can Lake Superior remain so pure? I keep thinking about that question during the six hours it takes me to drive from Ontario to Whitefish Point, Michigan. 

“This is some of the best and most strategic water on the planet,” John Downing, the director of the Minnesota Sea Grant, part of a NOAA-funded network of college programs focused on marine research and education, told me on the Blue Heron. “Wars have been fought for thousands of years over water like this.” 

In addition to climate change, threats to Lake Superior include the development of sulfide-ore copper mines in northeastern Minnesota, where a byproduct known as acid-mine drainage can contaminate lakes, rivers, groundwater, and everything living in them; proposed concentrated animal-­feeding operations in Wisconsin, whose untreated liquid manure could run off into the lake; invasive species like zebra mussels that have infiltrated other Great Lakes bodies; and the prospect that arid U.S. regions might soon need Great Lakes water. 

To prevent this, in 2008, George W. Bush signed into law the Great Lakes Compact, part of a binational agreement between the eight Great Lakes states and two provinces. But exceptions have been made. Last July, Waukesha, Wisconsin, a Milwaukee suburb 17 miles west of Lake Michigan, became the first municipality outside the Great Lakes basin granted permission to divert water from a Great Lake. The town is allowed to take 8.2 million gallons per day from Lake Michigan, with the stipulation that it return the same quantity of treated water to the Root River, a tributary of the lake. There is concern that this could open the door for other towns and cities. 

“We’re waiting to see if environmental organizations or neighboring communities are going to file suit,” says Peter Annin, author of The Great Lakes Water Wars, who lives on Lake Superior in Wisconsin. “The nightmare scenario would be that some climate-change-induced, long-term drought would lead to the country going for a run on Great Lakes water.” Hopefully, that’s a scenario that will never play out.

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Mountain biking Copper Harbor.   Photo: Jen Judge

On the southern side of the lake, the deciduous trees, cliffy dunes, limestone outcrops, and sandy beaches feel almost gentle. But that’s a dangerous fallacy. From the top of Whitefish Point lighthouse, I can see the Graveyard of the Great Lakes, the 80 miles of coastline that, thanks to heavier ship traffic, poor visibility, and storms that gather strength over nearly 250 miles of fetch, is the final resting place for more than 200 shipwrecks. Among them is the infamous Edmund Fitzgerald, a 729-foot freighter carrying 29,000 tons of taconite pellets that went down in a storm with 80-mile-per-hour wind gusts and 25-foot waves in 1975, killing all 29 sailors on board. Expert divers wearing drysuits can explore 30 well-preserved wrecks in the 376-square-mile Whitefish Point Under­water Preserve

One hundred and sixty miles west is the Keweenaw Peninsula, which pokes 80 miles into the lake like a fat thumb. At its pinnacle in the mid-1880s, this peninsula produced 90 percent of the nation’s copper. These days it’s more renowned for its copper-­colored craft beers and mountain biking. Copper Harbor, the former mining town at the tip, is designated a silver-level ride center by the International Mountain Bicycling Association, thanks to 35-plus miles of singletrack that climb 500 feet, an impressive ele­vation change for the Midwest. During one raucous festival over Labor Day, locals built a jump at the end of a dock that launched riders into the water. 

The man largely responsible for the town’s renaissance is 48-year-old Sam Raymond, a former Colorado ski bum who spent summers here as a kid. “I got hooked on mountain biking in the nineties, but when I moved out to ­Colo­rado, I realized I missed Copper Harbor,” he says as we sit in Adirondack chairs in front of his ­Keweenaw Adventure Company. Raymond dug dirt and helped found a trails club that allowed Copper Harbor to eventually pay local trailbuilding guru Aaron Rogers to take care of the rest. 

The singletrack here is fun and fast. On a Trek Fuel Ex 29er, I ride up the Stairway to Heaven boardwalk trail, avoid insane-­looking jumps on Danimal, and finish off on ­Daisy Duke, a curvy shot of perfectly bermed whoop-de-dos. Raymond credits the lake for Copper Harbor’s popularity.

“There’s a certain kind of energy here,” he says. “The big lake is like a magnet.” 


I know what Raymond means. By the time I reach Bayfield, Wisconsin (population 746), I’ve traveled almost 1,300 miles and I’m 85 miles from home. The lake has become like a security blanket, an assurance that humans haven’t yet tamed or destroyed everything wild.

If Superior has a Riviera, Bayfield is it. The town anchors the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and is full of rehabbed Victorians and streamlined yachts moored in its harbor. I decide it’s time for a little immersion ther­apy. The best way to do that is by kayak. 

Three miles north of Bayfield is Living Adventure, a kayaking company owned by Gail Green and her husband, Grant ­Herman. Green spent years whitewater paddling in Sun Valley, Idaho, and photographing humpback whales in Hawaii. Herman has legendary boat-handling skills and practices water ballet in his canoe. 

“Lake Superior isn’t easy,” Green says as she hands me a fresh apple-cider donut from a nearby orchard. “That’s what makes the reward so big.” 

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Kayaking Apostle Islands.   Photo: Jen Judge

Our safety briefing includes a wet exit, which made one of my fellow kayakers, a nurse from Illinois, so nervous that it gave her heartburn. All six of us in the group pass the test, so we set out for two nights, paddling five miles toward Oak Island, a 5,078-acre forest that once had one of the highest densities of black bears in the region. 

“It’s fucking beautiful out here,” says Victor Kasper, a former Marine from Milwaukee. The lake is warm enough—a relatively balmy 58 degrees, with air temperatures rising higher than 80—that we’ve stowed our wetsuits. We paddle past sandstone caves and a tugboat shipwreck, landing on a beach with time to set up tents and take ­iPhone time-lapse video of the sun dropping like an orange bomb. At dinner our guide, a ­Texan named Shane Walston who has paddled in Oman and Belize, cooks us flaky whitefish over a fire. 

“Where I’m from,” Walston says, “most people couldn’t point out Lake Superior on a map. When I tell them I’m in Wisconsin, they ask why. It’s the people.” 

As we set out for a 12-mile crossing the next morning, the lake is still dead calm, but the wind could whip into a frenzy at any moment. Miraculously, the ­water remains so placid that we cross in time to explore a cave system on Sand Island. We paddle through the maze, taking care not to touch the ­water-eroded arches, which look delicate enough to topple with the push of a finger. 

On the return paddle, I eyeball the mainland and dread that I can almost see ­Duluth. I’ve been on the road 20 days, and I’m not ready to give up this ambulatory life of sleeping in my tent and stopping whenever the spirit moves me. I’m chagrined that it’s taken me so many years to fully grasp the wonder of my own backyard. 

At dawn the next morning, I pad down to the beach and wade up to my waist. The chill creeps into my neck. I dive into the shallows and swim toward the flat horizon. The water feels so clean that I linger as long as I can in the cold, awake to the thrill that Lake Superior has finally let me in.

Contributing editor Stephanie Pearson (@stephanieapears) wrote about Swimmer Diana Nyad in May. 


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Excellent Louisiana’s panoply of paddling adventures

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By Katie McKy

Unlike most states, which make do with one nickname, Louisiana goes by many. To name a few: the Bayou State, the Creole State, the Sugar State, and the Pelican State. One nickname just can’t capture the state’s diversity, which manifests in its cuisine, from Creole to Cajun, from bananas foster and beignets to batter-fried crawfish tails, as well as its paddling. Looking at the state as five distinct regions, each divvies up its own flavor of paddling. Whether paddlers want urban trails, big rivers, twisty streams, bayous, wilderness, lazy lake paddling, or freshwater and saltwater kayak fishing, Louisiana offers a bona fide panoply of paddling adventures.

Sportsman’s Paradise
The region known as the Sportsman’s Paradise is the northernmost third of Louisiana and it’s fun-to-say Bartholomew Bayou is perfect for an afternoon paddle or an extended trip. It’s North America’s longest bayou at 365 miles and manages to be both dark and light-dappled at the same time, much like a stony cathedral with light streaming through stained glass windows. The bayou’s ceiling is its canopy of cypresses and tupelos, permitting long and lovely shafts of sunlight to sparkle on the water’s surface.


In the caramel-colored water, life is teeming with 117 species of fish and 40 species of mollusks, some found nowhere else. Like all bayous, it’s loaded with critters to photograph or fish; double-digit bigmouth bass are boated each year. Crappie and spotted bass also abound. With so much life in the water, it’s a prime wintering habitat for myriad birds, including turkeys, herons, egrets, ibises and eagles. The variety of wildlife and mild December temps make it a prime winter paddling option.


However, Bartholomew’s cypress trees are the headliners for many paddlers. Their limb-like roots and stalagmite-y knees extend the otherworldly feel of the bayou. The crowning glory is Chemin-a-Haut Creek, accessible only to paddlers. The cypress here are so impressive that many have names, such as the “Castle” and the “Jester.” Because only paddlers can reach it, it’s pristine. Throughout the bayou, water levels fluctuate greatly, so keep an eye on the rain, as too little or too much are both problematic.


Crossroads

The crossroads region is the middle of the state of Louisiana. If you’re looking for a tamer paddle than the sprawling Bartholomew Bayou, North Toledo Bend State Park and South Toledo Bend State Park are great places to start.

Danny Rowzee, the owner of Tack-a-Paw Expeditions, which rents canoes and sit-on-top kayaks and offers shuttle services, said, “South Toledo Bend State Park is the southern end of the lake, close to the dam.” He added that there are “coves and islands with tent camping, RV camping, and cabins. Fishing is good and you can catch bass, bream, white perch, some stripers, and catfish.”


Rowzee also likes Toro Bayou with its 17 miles of canoe trails divided into three sections. Section Two is the most popular: at five and a half miles, it’s freckled with white sandbars and has five or six simple Class I rapids to perk up your day. Section Three is a three-mile stretch that empties into the Sabine River. “Most people who do that continue on to Section One of the Sabine River,” Rowzee said.

Unlike the shaded Toro Bayou, the Sabine River is like a little Mississippi, subject to the elements, but is still a good time, with spotless sand bars for camping and fishing along the way. National Geographic once called it one of the Top 10 camping streams in the nation.

“We service 50 miles of it from the dam down to Highway 190,” Rowzee said. “It’s also divided into three sections. The first is 10.5 miles. The second is 28 miles and the third is 11 miles. It’s really scenic and somewhat remote. You can camp and not see too many folks.”


And what’s Rowzee’s favorite place to paddle in Crossroads country?
“I like Toro Bayou best because it’s remote and has lots of character, as well as opals, petrified wood, and arrowheads,” Rowzee added.
“The character changes from white sandbars to more of a mountain stream with rocky shoals and small rapids, but you can only run on it before or after June. So that means March, April, and May are the best months.”


Cajun Country
Cajun Country ponies up real wilderness in the Atchafalaya River. Where the Mississippi River turns east toward New Orleans, the Atchafalaya River runs due south to the Gulf of Mexico and whereas the lowest Mississippi is a thoroughfare of industry, barges, and ocean-going ships, the Atchafalaya is a lush maze of lakes, bayous, and canals populated by ospreys, falcons, and roseate spoonbills. You’re certain to see alligators at the right time of day.

John Williams, the owner of Pack and Paddle — a Lafayette-based outfitter that canoes and kayaks, plus offers small, private guided trips — suggests the southern Atchafalaya for the best of the Cajun Country’s wilderness paddling opportunities.

“We call it the Southern Atchafalaya Eagle Route,” Williams said. “We go there in the winter because the bald eagles populate that area heavily then. They’re up in the cypress trees and tupelos, which are also beautiful. The trees turn autumn red in the middle of December, which is also the best time to see the eagles. You can see a dozen in a day. There is a campground right near there, Lake End Park in Morgan City, which is quite nice.”

If you’re looking for a lake, Williams has an affinity for Lake Martin.

“Lake Martin is easy and quick from Lafayette,” Williams noted. “It has a huge bird rookery in the lake. There are mostly wading birds like egrets and great blue herons, but there are woodpeckers and bald eagles too. It’s a great place to see alligators.

“It’s like paddling through a flooded forest, so it gives you shade and breaks the wind. It’s typical bottomland, hardwood, Cajun swamp paddling. It’s not huge, so you don’t go on an all-day trip, but for a morning or afternoon paddle, it’s perfect.”

Beyond perfect is a stand of old-growth cypress trees along Lake Fausse Point, some up to 20 feet in diameter. Back when the old growth cypress trees were being logged, these survived because they’re hollow. They’ve also withstood countless hurricanes and lightning strikes over the decades.


Williams said, “People come from all over the world to photograph these trees. It’s an incredible photography opportunity. Lake Fausse Point is shallow, so stick to the north side or south side, whichever is protected that day. It can get extremely rough. The time you want to avoid is June through October. It gets pretty hot down here. Shoot for late October through the end of May. The very best time is December and then February and March.”

If you’re in Cajun Country, you must enjoy some of their world-famous grub.
Williams recommended a spot in New Iberia called Jane’s Seafood. “It’s great for boiled crawfish and other types of seafood,” he said. “It’s locally owned and sourced, so it’s authentic, the real deal.”

Eddie Mullen, owner of PAC Kayak Rental, also suggests The Shack in Houma, “one of the best seafood places.” He added that, “they don’t scrimp on the food. It’s homey and comfortable. Go as you are and enjoy yourself.”

If you’re not too full for a final paddle, Mullen suggests Bayou Pointe-aux-Chenes.
Mullen noted the vintage shrimp boats and all types of fishing vessels. “Wild horses in the marsh pretty regularly come up and say hello,” Mullen said. “There are dolphins, raccoons, and otters too. The female dolphins raise their young in the marsh and train them how to hunt there. There are bald eagles in the summer and fall. The marsh is what the Native Americans called a floton, as there’s water under the land, so you can’t walk on it.”


Plantation Country

Plantation Country is squeezed between New Orleans and Cajun Country and bisected by the Mississippi River. Beginners should consider the Comite River, as it’s shallow and calm most days.

Erin Sullivan, project manager for the Muddy Water Paddle Company, said, “It’s really peaceful and sandy-bottomed, great for kayaking and kayak fishing. There are bass and sac au lait (Cajun for crappie). I also like the sandy beach spots where you can stop and hang out.”

If you’re bitten by the bayou bug, consider Tickfaw State Park.
“It’s really shady, slow-moving, and has lots of cypress trees,” Sullivan said. “For a river, it has a real swampy feel. It also has a strong Native American background and you can just feel the forest there.”


Tickfaw State Park offers camping spots for tents and RVs, as well as cabin and canoe rentals.

Want some city paddling?
“I like to paddle the LSU Lakes in Baton Rouge,” Sullivan said. “They’re right in the city and about 10 acres. You can do a workout paddle or do a leisure paddle. In places, it feels wild, even though it’s in the middle of the city, and at other spots, people are jogging and biking the shorelines and flying kites. Best of all, you can paddle all year long here. It’s rarely too cold to paddle here.”

And there’s never a wrong time to dine in Louisiana.
Sullivan recommended Parrain’s in Baton Rogue. “It’s really good Louisiana Cajun cooking,” she said. “I love their brunch. They’ll put crawfish atop eggs benedict with a killer sauce. Near Tickfaw State Park, there’s a Hungarian restaurant called Taste of Bavaria. They’ve got lots of Polish sausages, amazing pastries, and kielbasa. It’s in the middle of nowhere and has a cool, little vibe.”


Greater New Orleans

The fifth and final region is Greater New Orleans, which is the toe of the boot that’s Louisiana. If you want to paddle by day and walk Bourbon Street by night, there’s sprawling Lake Pontchartrain and Bayou St. John, with its abundant charm.

Chris Brooks scouts paddling locations and handles the visual media for Bayou Paddlesports. Brooks said, “The coastal islands in the Gulf of Mexico are great and kayak fishing is available around New Orleans, but most of the time, we paddle Bayou St. John and practice freestyle tricks on the paddleboards. If we get a strong north wind I’ll go to the mouth of Bayou St. John where it meets the lake. The waves get compressed there and sometimes you can surf; it used to be kind of a local secret.”

It’s no longer a secret, but Brooks enjoys the social atmosphere.
“It’s very social on weekends with lots of paddlers,” Brooks said. “We have everything from kayak races and SUP [standup paddleboard] yoga to watergun fights and night paddles. Sometimes people just like to float around or swim. Conditions are normally calm, so Bayou St. John is a great place to paddle for all crafts and skill levels. The water is brackish and pretty clear. I practice rolls in my whitewater kayak. The north section is more open and a little less paddled; it has an island neighborhood you can paddle through. To the south is more action and people.”

It’s easy to get there from New Orleans.
“It’s very convenient since it’s centrally located and also accessible by public transport,” Brooks added. “Everyone out here is easygoing and likes a good time. There are plenty of regulars on the Bayou, both renters and people with their own gear.”

If you want solitude, go south.
“The coastal islands in the Mississippi Sound offer excellent camping, but are only accessible by water,” Brooks noted. “The driftwood makes great fires and there are not many people out there. On the more distant islands the sky is full of stars. There’s lots of wildlife too.”

And if you’re near New Orleans, don’t you dare make do with trail mix.
“There’s Morning Call in City Park (the jambalaya is good there),” Brooks highlighted. “Parkway Tavern is great. Bayou Beer Garden has good food and atmosphere. It’s Angelo Brocato’s for ice cream. Farther out is Pyramids Cafe for Mediterranean and The Joint for BBQ. Bevi Seafood usually has good boiled crawfish.”

From wildlife and wilderness to deep cultural bayou excursions and urban escapades, this land of many nicknames is also a state packed with a huge diversity of paddling adventures for travelers willing to explore.


Additional Resources for Paddle and Kayak Adventures in Louisiana:
Louisiana’s Top-10 Places to Paddle
Cajun Coast Paddle
Toledo Bend Lake Country
Tackapaw
Atchafalaya
Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge


Check out more information from C&K on Louisiana paddling adventures:
Why Paddle the Mississippi: Atchafalaya
NOLA Paddleboards Bayou St. John
Breaux Bridge

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Excellent Info: Photo of the Day | John Rathwell

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Participants paddle at Bay of Fundy Sea Kayak Symposium in Nova Scotia.

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John Rathwell

johnrathwell.com

@johnrathwell

John Rathwell is a self-taught Ottawa-based photographer who immerses viewers in captured moments and scenes. “I strive to create images that make the viewer fall into them,” says Rathwell, whose assignment highlights for C&K include coverage of the 2015 ICF Freestyle World Championships and 2014 Whitewater Grand Prix. This spring, John embarks on his Searching For Sero mental wellness project, van-touring North America to share stories of outdoor adventurers bringing happiness and balance to their lives. (Last cover: May 2014)

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