Monday, January 9, 2012

The SD Experience: Lonely Paddlers

Just two dudes.  Two kayaks.  Two (three, technically) paddles.  Steadily making our way around one huge lake.

Passing wide, expansive peninsulas thick with forest reaching right up to the water and past secret sandy beaches that haven't seen a footprint in weeks or maybe months.  Pulling by deserted islands and empty, overgrown cottages.

Occasionally we'd see a waving hand or a face on shore.  Even less frequently another paddler on the water with us.  In fact, throughout the whole time we were on the water, only a couple dozen times did we see other kayakers, in total, a mere 44 other paddlers in the 97 days it took us to get around the Lake.

Sometimes that brought us a lonely feeling.  Of course we weren't alone, we were together.  But we were astonished to be sharing the whole lake with so few other paddlers.

Had we spent three months in areas like the Apostle Islands or Lake Superior Provincial Park or Pukaskwa National Park, that number would be much higher.  These are some of the hot spot paddling areas of the Lake, among a few others.  During each summer throngs of kayakers and canoeists travel to and enjoy these specific Lake Superior shorelines, and for good reason.  But we spread ourselves thin by moving on and leaving behind these areas, and those paddlers.

And so when we did glide up along another kayaker, they were either too on a similar long expedition like us or just out for a paddle by their home or summer cabin.   A number so few on a lake so large.

We assume, that like us, they were recognizing if they hadn't known already the superb paddling destination that Superior is, in its entirety.

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