Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Lake Superior, St. Ignace Island – Nirivia Invasion



I'm still getting caught up posting for past kayak trips. This post from our trip to Rossport Ontario and the St. Ignace archipelago from back in Sept, 2005. Sad to say, but I have not dipped the paddle in the water yet this year. I hope to get out for a paddle in the Bayfield area at the end of June.

2005 September 10 – September 14: Rossport Ontario to Armour Harbor on St. Ignace Island and return to Rossport.

Camp I: Simpson Island
Camp II and III: Nirivian Dome Cabin in Armour Harbor.
Camp IV: South East beach on Simpson Island in the Simpson Channel.
Expedition Team: Tom Lynch, Scott Laven, Kenji Ogura, Tom Bray

Sunday September 11

We broke camp early and had a nice easy paced paddle southward up the channel between Simpson and St. Ignace Islands. After lunch we encountered what can be described as typical weather for September on Lake Superior – moderate to strong SW winds and mostly sunny. As we neared the SE corner of St. Island, the combination of large waves, dangerours shoals, cliffs and rebound waves had turned our easy going morning paddle into an extreme Sea kayak outing. Lake Superior was the boss on this day, so to be on the safe side, we spent 3 hours wind bound on the South Eastern shore of St. Ignace Island. Once the seas calmed a bit, we launched and we finally made our way around the point and into Armour harbor at 6:30 pm.

For this expedition, we had the pleasure of being joined by Kenji Ogura of Duluth, MN. Kenji’s expertise in geology was a plus in explaining the interesting geological features of the St. Ignace archipelago. Kenji also takes great photo’s and you check them out here:

Our two night stay at the Nirivian embasy base camp afforded us an off day in which a planned hike up to the summit of Mount St. Ignace was in order. Mount St. Ignace is the high point of St. Ignace Island, the third highest point in Ontario Canada and is also the highest elevation of all the Lake Superior Islands. This hike proved to be very challenging as the trail from the Nirvian Embassy was difficult to follow. The trail was flagged but it was obvious that it had not seen much traffic in the last several years; thus, after a difficult 4 hour hike of bushwhacking at times and only half way to the summit, we turned back for base camp at the Nirivian Embassy. We were not prepared for an overnight hike and we did not want miss out on our comfy cabin, sauna and cold beer back at Nirivia. We were informed later from Jim Stevens, the Earl of Nirivia that an easier and shorter route to the summit exists from a bay on the South East side of the Island. We’ll have to wait for our next visit to bag the summit of St. Ignace.

We stayed two nights at the Nirivian Embassy Geo dome cabins which include a very nice sauna.


More photos from this trip: click here.
Scott Laven's photo's: Click here

For more information on Nirivia, check out this article from Minnepolis Star/Tribune click here.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Ice Road to Devils Island


A group of guys from Madeline Island went for a joy ride out to Devils Island on the ice for a picnic. Sounds like a blast, I wish I could have joined them! I cannot take any credit for these excellent images. My brother Jim forwarded these pixs to me.

Below is a description by Tibbs of his and Bob Teisberg’s jaunt out to Devils Is. last Sat. on an ice road which was plowed by believe Arnie and Wayne.


"Long Ice Road to Devil's Island yesterday! In fact it was 21 miles from the Red cliff marina to the cliffs at the base of the lighthouse on Devil's. It was a surreal drive, the road just kept going and going and going. It swung right up to the shore of Manitou,we got out and checked out the park service's fish camp and then drove on. As we passed Rocky on our left there was absolutely nothing ahead

but ice to the horizon. Once past Rocky we turned left and you could finally see Devil's but it seemed really far away. As we closed in on the island we also closed
in on the edge of the open water. There were probably fifty people out there grilling brats and wondering around looking at the ice caves and the incredible jumble of shove ice that had ground against the island."

Here is really cool Satellite photo of ice on Lake Superior:
More photos here:



Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lake Superior South Shore Mileages

Playing with google earth this morning I plotted out using most likely kayak path and came up with approx distances from Lower Entry to Agawa Bay (distances are in miles, even when in Canada)

Route Leg, Cumulative
Lower Entry to Baraga: 15, 15
to Point Abbaye 23, 38
to Big Bay 34, 72
to Marquette Light 29, 101
to Grand Island 42, 143
around Grand Island 19, 162
to Grand Marias (MI.) 36, 198
to Whitefish Point 50, 248
to Sault Ste Marie 50, 298
to Batchawana Island 50, 348
to Agawa Bay 40, 388



388 miles/20 miles a day = ~19 days = 2 long trips to 4 short trips

Scott Laven.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Circle Tour Map

The blue line on the map below illustrates our progress to date for circling Lake Superior via Kayak. Please click on "View Larger Map" link for a more detailed view of our progress including trips dates and team members.


View Larger Map

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Keeweenaw Krush Trip Log



2008 June 22 – June 27: Upper Entry of the Keweenaw Waterway FJ McLain State Park MI to Lower Entry Boat Ramp MI

Expedition Team: Tom Lynch, John Lynch, Scott Laven, Tom Bray

Camp I – Just West Eagle River MI
Camp II – King Copper Motel Copper Harbor MI
Camp III – East Tip of Manitou Island across from Light House
Camp IV – 2 miles west of Montreal River
Camp V – Stamp sand flat south of Gay MI

For me, this adventure started after completing the Gary Bjorkland half marathon in Duluth, MN. Up at 5:00 AM, run race at 6:30 am, done at 7:45 am and on the road with Scott Laven by 11:00 AM. We loaded up Scott’s pickup, gathered a few additional provisions in Superior WI and then on down the road to the Houghton/Hancock area of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

This road trip took several hours longer that it should have as a few miles East of Ashland, WI, the muffler parted from the tail pipe on Scott Laven’s truck. The screeching sound of metal scraping on asphalt, forced us to stop and forced Scott Laven (an all around moter head and handy man) to rip out muffler and lash the tail pipe to the frame. A short time later, this time in the parking of Walmart in Ironwood MI, Scott was at again, under the truck this time to rip out the tail pipe. With muffler and tail pipe now secure and in the bed of the pick up, we we’re back on the road to the Upper Entry. Scott and I both commented how the loud reverberating sound of Scott’s boss truck (sans muffler) made us feel like some “real” down home local yoopers.

Tom Lynch

June 23, 2008

The day started with usual last minute packing and schlepping of equipment and provisions to the beach launch site. Year after year, it never ceases to amaze me that after seeing all of the provisions, gear and other equipment spread out all over the beach that we manage to get it all stuffed into our 4 kayaks. Mission accomplished once again as we had room to spare. For this trip, we also had the good fortune of having Scott Laven’s sister Julie and friend help us move our vehicle from the upper entry to the lower entry. Many thanks to Julie Laven and friend for helping us out.

Day one was mostly uneventful as we rattled off 18 miles of easy paddling in light wind and little seas. We found a suitable camp site just to the south west of the town Eagle River.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Friday, June 1, 2007

Union Bay to Upper Entry Keeweenaw Water Way



2007 May 25 – May 29: Porcupine Mountain State Park Union Bay MI to Upper Entry of the Keeweenaw Waterway FJ McLain State Park MI.

Expedition Team: Tom Lynch, John Lynch, Scott Laven, Tom Bray

Camp I – Ontonagon Township Park Just east of the breakwall.
Camp II (Two Nights May 26,27)– Stanton Park at Agate Beach in Misery Bay
Camp III FJ McLain State Park

May 24, 2007
After a long road trip to the Upper Pennisula of MI, we stayed at the Americ Inn in Silver Bay MI which is on the south shore a few miles East of Porcupine Mountains State Park. on

May 25, 2007

A small craft advisory was in effect until 2:00 pm; therefore, we took our time to getting started and decided to do the first day as a day paddle type of outing. We dropped off kayaks at Union Bay, drove East back to Ontonagon to set up camp and leave a vehicle at the end point. We enjoyed moderate SW winds to start and then a fairly calm day for the rest of the late afternoon. We arrived to our previously set up campsite at 7:00 pm after 17.5 miles of paddling. As this was our first paddle of the season, the entire team was very tired as packed and Loaded up all the gear for our early departure on Saturday.

May 26, 2007



We made a quick stop at 14 mile point to view the abandoned and burned out light house. This was viewed and enjoyed in the company of ten or so ATV’s running up and down the beach. This day was a long day of paddling that kept getting longer. As they are numerous private cabins and homes on this section of south shore, we had great difficulty finding a suitable place to camp. Finally, we found a private camp ground, Stanton Park at Agate Beach in Misery Bay which ended up working out quite well for us.


May 27, 2007 - Wind bound

As forecasted, it really started blow out of the SW shortly after midnight. Throughout the night we could hear the waves crashing the beach at Misery Bay. With the howling wind and with little sleep, I lay awake contemplating whether or not we would be able to leave Misery Bay on Sunday. It was Just as I was thinking, as there would be no way we would get through the breaking surf at the beach and even if we did, paddling in a 5 – 7 foots waves with winds 25 – 30 knots would be uncomfortable and risky. Scott completed some minor kayak and gear repair, Tom Bray read and took a nap and John and Tom went for a run.

May 28, 2007

We paddling 20 miles on this last day and were treated to a scenic set of sandstone cliffs which were quite prevalent on this section of the south shore all the way to the Upper Entry. We took a break and stopped at an old mining site and observed a group of juveniles playing a game a splat ball. After another 20 mile day, we finally made the Upper entry and stopped at the North break wall beach to check out McClain state park and to determine where the camp ground is located. To our dismay, we figured that it would take a couple of more miles of paddling to the camping area. We rented one of McCLain’s primitive Cabin Sites for the night.

To view Scott's photos from this trip: click here.