As with any trip to the Apostles the drive up was filled with anticipation and a whole lot of What If conversations. We left early in the afternoon from the Twin Cities and arrived in Bayfield just in time for a dinner of lake trout at Maggies‘s the local café.
We pitched the tents at Little Sand Bay and watched a magnificent sunset over Sand Island while sitting on the harbor walls.
The next morning we rose at 5am, had a hot breakfast and coffee, broke down camp and trailed the kayaks to the beach. I still can’t figure out why they won’t let us launch kayaks in the harbor – I guess they have their reasons. There was a neat row of a dozen kayaks on the beach from a local community college along with an NDK from Boreal Shores Kayak – we met up with this party later on the trip.After loading the kayaks and parking the car and trailer we set off to the first of the four islands we were planning to visit that day – Sand Island, home of a whole host of sea caves and interesting shore line. The caves were filled with the wonderful gurgling sounds that the gentle waves were creating as they moved in and around the rock formations, I specific ally bought by new helmet along for this part of the trip so that I could venture a little deeper and go into a few more exciting places than previously, I was able to ride a few wave surges between some of the stacks. While backing into a cave I nearly rolled in as a slightly larger wave reflected off the side wall, a swift high brace and a hip flick pulled me back up – the winter of pool session practices paid off. After the obligatory photo shot and video we took off east towards York Island, the lake began to get eerily calm, almost glass like as we rapidly crossed the 3+ miles to the beach by the York #1 camp site. The place was deserted as the island was closed due to deer reduction (horrid name) going on until the end of the weekend.Lunch (soup) was made and eaten, tea drunk, kayaks repacked and we then crossed the lake to Raspberry island home of one of the many Lake Superior lighthouses. We landed in between the two wooden docks providing a very snug harbor for our two kayaks. The place was all locked up, the true tourist season not yet having started.Fortunately the biffy was operational – you never know when it will be your last chance after all. Suitably refreshed we set off on the last part of the trip to Oak island camp site 3. The crossing was quick no waves, warm sunshine and no wind to speak of.
I set foot on the beach and immediately spotted we weren’t the first visitors of the season, large bear paw prints were visible around the beach and camp area – it was hard to feel a little apprehensive knowing that within the past day a large furry animal had wandered around right where I was standing.
It was at this point that Ron realized he had not booked the camp site he had intended and so we got back into our kayaks paddled another mile and a half to the alternative site, where upon we called up the park service on my satellite phone only to discover that the site was already reserved for another party and so we had to paddle back to the original site. Three miles later we ended our eighteen miles of paddling – more than enough for the first real distance paddle of the year.
That evening we got to watch a fabulous sunset across the lake, with the sun going down between Eagle Island and Sand Island.
Many more pictures from the trip are available on Flickr via this link