July 31, 2007

Canada - Michipicoten River Paddle

While in the Wawa area, we decided to check out Naturally Superior Adventures. What an interesting discovery! Located for the past twelve years on an isolated point where the Michipicoten River meets Lake Superior, the facility and lodge are first class in every way. The owner, David Wells was eager to help us with any request. If you ever are in this area, you simply must drop in, or schedule a paddle with these folks. We couldn't pass up the opportunity to float the Michipicoten, and David and his staff were eager to provide a map, some tips and a very reasonably priced shuttle for the 12 mile adventure. http://www.paddlingontario.com/category.cfm?&resetRegion=&top=1

The ride to the put-in was only about twenty minutes, so we got an early start. Paddling in Canada is very different than in most of the U S, much more remote, and others are seldom seen or heard. This trip was no exception - we had the entire River to ourselves for almost all of the float.

"Raw & serene beauty" are the only words that come to mind when trying to describe this picturesque chunk of nature. From the fast running upper stream dotted with rushing water and class one rapids, to the wide and deep classical river towards the finish, we thoroughly enjoyed the views awaiting us at each turn & bend.

Amoung the surprises were eagles overhead and merganzers on the water.
Just above our start was a dam and small hydroelectric plant. It was interesting to see the dramatic change in river level and flowrate as production was increased late in the morning. This was most evident when we stopped at lunchtime. Kim placed a small stick at the waters edge when we landed, thoughtfully pulling our boats well up onto the sandy beach. About 20 minutes later, as we were enjoying our sandwiches some 50 feet from the water, we noticed the boats rocking. To our surprise the water had risen much more than expected! As seen in the photo, I'm standing straddling the marker stick, well over 13 feet out in the River from the "new" waters edge...I wonder how many unsuspecting paddlers watched in amazement as their canoes floated away!

A small cabin marked the end of our journey, just above Naturally Superior's small cove and landing area. As with so many of these we had seen, the owners were proudly flying the Canadian flag.