Posts Tagged ‘Canoe’


Stephen ready to embark from a beach at Tettegouche State Park.


“My previous four trips have been wonderful, but I’m especially excited about this one. People for years have been asking me, ‘When are you going to do the Big One?’ Well, here I go.”


And go we did. Stephen and I drove 10 hours to the rugged coast 50 miles north of Duluth, Minnesota. We spent a day sightseeing around Silver Bay, which included an unplanned return trip to Duluth to pick up a replacement for the VHF weather radio that had made it around four great lakes, but gave up the ghost just before the launch into Lake Superior.




The breakdown: 138 pounds of gear, 65 pounds of boat, 50 pounds of food, 20 pounds of water, and the engine, 145 pounds of paddler.



Rocky Taconite and Ruth


Silver Bay is a town built by a mining company and is the self proclaimed taconite capital of the world. They have a mascot; imagine our surprise at meeting Rocky Taconite a block away from our hotel. The giant processing plant on the lake shore rumbled night and day through our window. There, the iron containing rock of the Mesabi Range, delivered by train, is pulverized, heated and formed into small pellets of iron ore that are shipped to steel mills by great lake freighters. The Edmund Fitzgerald specialized in taconite shipping and was carrying a full load from the iron ranges of Minnesota in November, 1975.



Moon and fireworks over the Mariner Hotel on the 4th of July.


The wind was up and the water rough, preventing his planned weekend departure, and I had to return to Petoskey. As we were saying a reluctant goodbye on Sunday, we saw our first monarch butterfly of the year. Monarchs were Verlen Kruger’s talisman, and as he was the canoeist who designed and built Stephen’s boat, this was clearly a good omen. On Monday, July 7, Stephen launched Seaweed into Lake Superior and began to head south to Duluth. From there he will make his way across northern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to the mouth of the St. Mary’s River near Sault Ste. Marie, roughly half the distance around this largest lake in the world. He hopes to complete his paddle around Superior in the summer of 2015.






Bathymetry map of Lake Ontario

Bathymetry map of Lake Ontario

July 14th, 2013, at 11:20 AM, Stephen launched his canoe onto Lake Ontario. During previous summers he has circumnavigated Lakes Huron, Michigan and Erie, in that order. Lake Ontario is the smallest of the Great Lakes in circumference, but much deeper than Lake Erie. Water from the four other lakes flows through the Niagara River and over the Niagaran Escarpment before entering Lake Ontario, so the lake is more than 300 feet lower than Superior, Michigan, Huron and Erie. From Lake Ontario, the water flows through the St. Lawrence Seaway to the Atlantic Ocean.

Stephen has done a lot of paddling along the islands and ridges of the Niagaran Escarpment on Lakes Huron and Michigan.

Stephen has done a lot of paddling along the islands and ridges of the Niagaran Escarpment on Lakes Huron and Michigan.

On the beach at Four Mile Creek State Park preparing Seaweed, the canoe, for departure.

On the beach at Four Mile Creek State Park preparing Seaweed, the canoe, for departure.

Four Mile Creek State Park is only a few miles from the mouth of the Niagara River, where historic Fort Niagara is open to visitors. We spent a day as tourists before he began his summer of paddling. This building, built by the French in the early 1700’s, is the oldest building still standing in the Great Lakes area.

The French castle at Fort Niagara

The French castle at Fort Niagara

Much too soon, it was time to say goodbye. Here is a parting shot of Stephen before he paddled away to the east. Bon voyage!

Day one on Great Lake number four

Day one on Great Lake number four






Canoe Tent

Our intrepid and creative paddler left Milwaukee today, after a much appreciated

break from paddling while he enjoyed the hospitality of his friends, Tom and Cindy.

He managed to escape being squashed by the Muskegon to Milwaukee high speed

ferry, and tonight is trying out his newest camping enhancement courtesy of a

shopping expedition at Laack & Joys, Milwaukee’s oldest camping goods store.

Yes, he does sleep in the canoe, now perhaps in mosquito free comfort.

Along the coast there is evidence of the record breaking July rains, such as bluffs

that slid down to the beach with trees still attached and abundant trash that washed

off the land into the lake.

Chicago, ho!