A conversation with the kayakers paddling the perimeter of Lake Superior

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Kayaking Lake Superior, July 2018. Image: Fourthewater.com

By Jim Bailey

This story originally appeared on Infosuperior and is republished here with permission.

Isle Royale, the Slates, Michipicoten, the Apostles … All in one trip.

Ever paddled out to Isle Royale? That’s 14 mi/22 km Double in return.

How about paddling around Isle Royale? Call that at least 105 mi/170 km

How about paddling out to the Slate Islands on the Canadian side near Terrace Bay? That’s about 6 mi/10 km one way.

Four the Water kayakers Karol Rajski, Ryan Busch and Jared Vanoordt participate in a July 19th Infosuperior podcast at Lakehead University. Image: Nathan Wilson

What about Michipicoten Island near Wawa, Ontario? Paddling there from the mainland is about 11 mi/18 km. Throw in at least 62 mi/100 km. if you circle the island.

The Apostles Islands near Bayfield, Wisconsin?  Anyone paddle through that group of islands?

How about paddling to, through, and around, all of the above locations – ON ONE TRIP. Now let’s add in a complete circumnavigation of Lake Superior, on the same trip.

By any measure, this is some remarkable paddling and exactly what three Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore kayaking guides did this summer. Experienced Lake Superior travelers might be thinking these escapades to remote, open water, Lake Superior locations, are cavalier. Not so. The kayakers in question knew exactly what they were in for, took all possible safety precautions, including early morning starts, and treated the lake with the utmost respect.  And let’s face it, there is absolutely no way that anyone could complete the above crossings in a kayak, without that respect…with even more, very humbling respect, at the end of the process.

Infosuperior felt privileged to meet the three paddlers when they dropped by Infosuperior’s office at Lakehead University on July 19. They also picked up bottles shipped from the Superior Watershed Partnership in Marquette, Michigan to sample Lake Superior for microplastics.

The paddling group is comprised of Northern Michigan University students Karol Rajski of Lake Zurich, Illinois, studying Wildlife and Fisheries Management;  Jared Vanoordt of Grand Haven, Michigan studying Environmental Science with a specialization in Water Resources and Ryan Busch of Holland, Michigan studying Digital Cinema. Drew Etling, also of Lake Zurich and studying Environmental Studies and Sustainability did not visit Lakehead University and is joining the group a couple of days south of Thunder Bay.

Listen to the podcast above to hear more about Four the Water’s journey. Read more of Bailey’s account of the conversation here.

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