Islands of Lake Michigan

I ran a great four miles in 29:00 minutes. Immediately after I hopped on my bike and rode up West Main hill to Jason Roon’s place the back way to avoid traffic. Jason asked me about my flashers and lights. I ignorantly put on a crappy Black Diamond headlamp I thought would be sufficient. We wound our way through some back neighborhoods until we hit Ravine. This is when it started raining. It was the painful type of rain that had me looking straight down, despite my own fear for whatever lay ahead. I was soaked through in seconds. Luckily it was about 63 degrees. Due to my increased running activity and my lack of food I started cramping in my left calf. I pedaled the rest of the way to Jim’s place on one leg without dropping behind. No small accomplishment as Jason is pretty fast. Jason and I have a history of enduring flash flood conditions, so I was not surprised when it started to pour down on our ride. All I could do was follow his red flasher and his bike lamp all the way to Jim’s place.

We were meeting to discuss a trip for this summer. A Lake Michigan Archipelago trip by sea kayak. The idea would be to paddle the main group of islands of Lake Michigan from the Northern section of the Lower Peninsula. To my knowledge no one has specifically targeted these islands for a trip. I’m sure _someone_ has done the trip. Maybe even Ojibwa in a canoe. However silly white recreational paddlers are another matter entirely.

There are several challenges to this specific trip. First is the distance. There are a few long crossings on this trip at least one that is 19 miles. I have not done any trip with a crossing that long. This is probably why it has not been done in recent memory. According to the map we will be in open water for the majority of the trip. This is never a good thing on the Great Lakes, but it seems it is also part of the allure of the trip. It is so close, and i have only been to two of the islands we will visit. Based on the fact that I paddle Lake Michigan at least once a week in the on season, and a little less in winter, I think I need to do this. Not for the been there, done that mark, but because there is a part of my beloved lake I haven’t seen, and I don’t want familiarity to breed contempt. This is the wife we’re talking about, you can’t let the marriage get in the way of romance. So I will try to take Lake Michigan out for dinner, a movie, and a little dancing later in the summer.

I just hope she lets me score a homerun, because 19 miles is one hell of a crossing, you don’t want to piss her off and have to swim it!

Check out my map.

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4 replies to “Islands of Lake Michigan”

  1. Paul says:

    Sounds like a fun trip. 19 miles is a long way but pretty doable, especially for a strong paddler like you. Earlier this fall, I did a Lake Michigan crossing (50 miles), and even that distance wasn’t that bad, but we did get into some really rough conditions (but that’s another story). I would recommend starting the crossing very early in the morning, usually less windy then, having an easy way to drink water, and eating small meals along the way. You want to make sure you have constant energy. Also, during our crossing, we had a leaky hatch problem, so you may want to think about backup floatation (inflated float bags) just in case. It should be a fun trip.

  2. derrick says:

    looks like a great adventure. Yikes, lots of open water. . . .

  3. ReefRaider says:

    I am working on a plan that will let us hit St. James Harbor. We could shoot up the east side of Beaver Island & stop there before the push to Squaw, but that would make day four hump hump and hump…

    At any rate I think your Mystic Beavers dwell amongst the protected beaches and sleepy cottges of the east side!

    Sweet map, by the way…

  4. Jim says:

    Yeah, this would not be the time to get your arse handed to you by the Lady of The Lake. Much to take into consideration. On top of the actual distance, we’ll have to coordinate at least one on-the-water meal, or more likely many smaller power-ups. Then of course there’s the circus act of personal hygene miles from terra ferma. Fun, fun, fun. But as you said, this may be a once in a lifetime chance to see some of these islands that few ever do.

    Hey, how was the trail ride home…in the dark, in the rain, on an unexplorered route? How’d the headlamp hold up?

    Jim

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