Tettegouche and Split Rock

 
 

This past weekend four intrepid paddlers from Minnesota headed north to the shores of Lake Superior. We camped at Split Rock State Park. With the snow rapidly melting the Park Rangers had opened up all the camp sites, yet we were the only (fools) camping this early.
Camp #2 
The temperature bottomed out at 35F, nothing like the cold that we were prepared to deal with. Our down bags and four season tents ready to cope with the 10F which had afflicted the area a week prior. We were rudely awoken Saturday morning by a gaggle of photographers intent on catching the sunrise. Seemingly oblivious to their impact on their surroundings they marched by our camp jabbering away. I forgave them though once I saw the colors of the sunrise over the bay.
Pre dawn
The days plan was to meet our fourth paddler at Tettegouche and hopefully connect with a local Bryan H. Remarkably everything went as planned. At nine am we were unloading kayaks and portaging them down to the pebbled beach by Baptism river.
The crew
Heading north we admired the remnants of Tettegouche’s famous sea arch now crumbling into a majestic stack.
Tettgouche Sea Stack
Rounding Shovel Point we shared the morning with a group of climbers looking like ants rappelling down the cliff face in preparation for their ascent. The water was calm, a gentle breeze barely kicking up a ripple. The sun intense providing wonderful light and illuminating the depth of the water. Bryan introduced us to the numerous caves north of Shovel Point.
Sea cave
We took a short break in a secluded cove to stretch our muscles which were not used to paddling. We turned South West and headed past Tettegouche to the kayak camp site situated a couple of beaches along the coast. This camp is poorly maintained but in an amazing position situated on a cliff with views stretching from Shovel point in the North to Palisade Head in the South.
Beached for lunch
After lunch we headed to Palisade head, venturing into the caves and admiring the climbers ascending the sheer, and sometimes overhanging rock face. After emerging from one of the sea arches we found ourselves in the tranquil shelter of a short outcrop. Hikers on the top chatted with us. And I rolled to cool down.
Chatting with hikers
The paddle back to the beach was the first chance I had to paddle the Tahe in some chop, short little waves no more than 18 inches at peak washed over the after deck. The kayak felt lively and great fun shooting from wave to wave. We landed where we started. Providing us the opportunity to play in the outfalls from the river.
Bryan H playing in the river flow
The portage back to the parking lot seemed ten times harder than the morning’s. Ascending those stairs my thighs were burning after the second kayak. That evening back at the camp we watched the mist roll in as the sun set. Stunning images straight out of a mystery novel.
Looking south from Split Rock
We awoke the next morning to dense fog. Every thing was dripping with condensation. The pebbles on the beach glistened in the twilight. The sun rise behind the fog created a spectacle of colors.
Red sky in the morning
We paddled out into the murk. Heading north out around the lighthouse. the stiff breeze causing steep confused reflected waves to bounce off the cliffs. Unable to see more than a couple of hundred feet we retreated south behind the shelter of the island and paddled south enjoying surfing on the prevailing waves. Finally the fog cleared and this allowed us to head north. Practicing a few rolls along the way.
Ron S heading into the murk
We rounded the light house and took a break on one of the many small beaches. We paddled out and searched (successfully) for the ship wreck just north of the light house. Returning to camp the water calmed down to near mirror like conditions, a far cry from the confused water that greeted us in the fog that morning.
A bracing brace
We packed up camp and headed home, a great weekend was had by all. Great gear, great conditions, great company led to great paddling.