Up Close and Personal – My Day Paddling Michigan – Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of My Day Paddling Michigan. You can read Part 1 of my adventure previously posted in the Paddling Michigan blog. Part 1 “Ready, Set, Go!” includes details of how I prepared for my kayaking trip with Paddling Michigan. Now for Part 2, which describes my day spent on the water.


Paddling Pictured Rocks


After Ben, our Paddling Michigan guide, gave us a shove off the beach, my friend and I quickly adjusted to being out on Lake Superior under our own power. Neither of us has much kayaking experience but the kayaks supplied by Paddling Michigan are sea worthy and steady. There was a slight breeze, as is common on Lake Superior, which created some small waves on the lake, but not enough to interfere with our paddling.


As Ben helped each pair of paddlers launch from the shore, we all began heading in a northeasterly direction, where our trip would take us along the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. There were about 10 kayaks in all.


Everyone’s pace during the day was a little different, with some kayaks moving fast and others moving more slowly. Sometimes a few kayaks would venture farther from shore to get a broader view of the Pictured Rocks while others lingered closer to the rock walls. Ben maneuvered easily among us all in his solo kayak, informing us of what we were looking at as we rounded each new rock outcropping and offering to take photos of us to share with our friends later.


Touching the Paint


The best part for me was being up close and personal to the sandstone formations that rise up to 200 feet above lake level. They are awe inspiring. The Pictured Rocks get their name from the many colors stained along the rock face. The colors are created by water seeping out from the ground, through the rock and into the lake, in slow trickles. The water carries with it mineral deposits from the ground and each type of mineral creates its own color.


A guide to the colors created by the minerals would include:


  • Reds and Oranges – from Iron
  • Blacks and Browns – from Manganese
  • White – from Limonite
  • Blues and Greens  – from Copper


Only in a kayak are you able to be right up next to the sandstone formations. When you reach out and touch the rocks, you notice they are wet, and you realize the groundwater is leaching through creating the beautiful painting right before your eyes!


You’ll also discover many caves and crevices, created by the power of Lake Superior, that you can guide your kayak near, through, and under. Many of them are dripping with drops of the groundwater giving you a refreshing delicate shower as you pass.


All in a Day

As we ended our day with Paddling Michigan, we waved to the hikers who were relaxing at the white sandy beaches along the shore, who were probably preparing for a night camping in the national park. My friend and I stopped at The Duck Pond Eatery & Beer Garden for some sustenance and relaxation on our way out of town. My arms were already a tad sore from the paddling, but it was a good day, and I’ll definitely be back!