Wednesday night I headed to Clarksville to pick up Josh’s boat. I left EL around 5:30. We got his boat, filled up with gas, came back through EL to drop off his car here then headed out. I think we were officially on the road at about 8:15. This was quite a bit later than we planned, but oh well.
We hit St. Ignace around midnight and made the obligatory stop at the Truck Stop (which is now just “Stop”) for pasties. Damn, their pasties are marvelous. Continuing on, we got to Grand Marais sometime around 3 am. We went straight to the campground, pitched tents off to the side – in the overflow tent area and proceeded to sleep for 8 hours.
Thursday morning we got an official camp site and got all settled in. We spent Thursday afternoon getting officially registered etc. then hiking through a short part of the park from Log Slide to the Au Sable Light Station. It wasn’t a huge hike – a couple miles per direction, but it was quite nice and quite hilly. We didn’t go down the log slide, but we did cover the same vertical footage since we made it to water level at the lighthouse.
Thursday night we went went on the night paddle. After the night paddle, we hit up the local microbrewery, got a growler, sat down to drink some of it, and were informed that it was illegal to do so – so we had to leave and drink at the camp site. Tear.
Friday was the trip day, we paddled out from Miner’s Beach West to Miner’s Castle (which has one less turret than it did last year 🙁 ). We then turned 180 and headed toward Chapel Beach. The weather was slightly overcast, which was nice in the sun block sense. We got about half way and there was a storm report on the radio, so we sat around for a little while at the one beach between our put in and our destination. Once that cleared we continued on.
Just as we were getting to Chapel Beach, Storm Round II hit. It was a full blown storm with thunder, lightning and rain. Since on the water is not where we wanted to be, we sat around in the rain for an hour. Joy!!! In marvelous Michigan form, it cleared up to a nice sunny return trip. I got a little cold in the rain, but overall it had minimal effect. I was already wet from screwing around on the paddle anyway, so more wet really wasn’t a big deal.
Josh and I got back to camp just in time to catch the end of the presentation for the night – about paddling in LSPP – which I have done a little of and is nice. There was karaoke that night, but a 17 mile paddle takes a lot out of you and niether of us attended.
Saturday was classes for us. I took Rescue II in the morning, Paddling with a wing paddle second, then Towing II in the early afternoon. Both classes but the wing one were repeats for me and served more as refreshers than new information.
Saturday afternoon there was a rescue demo – which once again drove home the point that you really don’t want to have to count on the Coast Guard rescuing you. Saturday night was the pastie dinner put on by the local high school, followed by a presentation by Nigel Foster (kayak maker and paddler).
Saturday night, we went to the bar. This may seem like a good idea, and started out as one, but :-/. The served a 9% Belgian Wheat, which Josh and I drank lots of. We did meet a couple people. One I don’t know much about, Josh just started talking to him at the bar and he seemed rather drunk. One was a guy named Pete who was at the symposium, was lead in our trip the day before, and was from Empire. The third was a girl named Ashleigh who was a bartender there (off duty on Saturday) and had met Pete the night before.
So, we drank lots of beer, had a few shots, blah blah. At 2, we left and wandered down to the beach. I started feeling not so great so I laid down for a while – good idea on my part. A while later, I got up feeling better just in time to watch Josh pass out on the beach – mind you I never went to sleep. Eventually I got Josh up and dragged him back to our camp site. This was about 4 am.
Sunday morning – apparently at about 5:30 AM a giant storm rolled in. It thundered, lightninged, and rained – hard. The rain was blowing up my rain fly and into the vents on the top of my tent – so I had to close them. Josh’s tent had no vent closing capabilities. Neither of us had enough sleep to wake up for Sunday’s events – which is good – because they were all canceled anyway.
Apparently, due to this storm, Lake Superior retreated about 3 ft. Then came back about 25. This is bad when there’s a shoreline of 100 plus kayaks sitting there. They floated away. Someone in a motor boat was out there collecting. Mine was nicely pulled up and all my stuff was there. Josh’s was pulled up, but he was missing a wet suit and half a paddle :-(.
We loaded up and headed out shortly there after. Arrival at home happened around 8:30. Unpacking and such took a little while and is still not quite done.
Oh, and just to note. My battery was completely shot – ie. turn off the Jeep after running for an hour and it can’t start again. My alternator is probably crap too. Because of this, we had to get jumped about 6-8 times while up there. I bought a new battery at WalMart on the way back down for $40. This was $30 cheaper than Sears, and $50 cheaper than a mismatched on in Grand Marais. I will get a new alternator next weekend, when I go home and pull one out of the Jeep there.
My shorts got some form of acid on them, which first turned them pink, then ate the material away. It sucks. I now need to acquire new shorts. This is not an easy thing for the conk to do. (Clothes shopping that is.)
Overall, the trip was grand. It’s too bad Josh lost some stuff. But the storming didn’t really impede out events that much.