On the morning of August first, fifteen eager paddlers set off from Meyer’s Beach in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore on their way to three nights of camping on and kayaking around Oak Island. The weather was near perfect for paddling and the water conditions superb! This was to set the stage for the rest of the trip. The hardy paddling campers did not experience any rain, sleet (nor snow!) and had comfortable temperatures the entire time.
The first day was spent loading the boats and paddling to Oak Island, with a lunch stop on the sand spit of Raspberry Island. Upon reaching Oak Island, the gear was unloaded, and camp setup. There were thirteen colorful tents, for fifteen paddlers, arranged in the group camp site. The group campsite was next to the temporary residence of our volunteer ranger, David. The group relaxed for the rest of the day and capped off the evening by sitting on the dock watching a beautiful sunset.
On day two, the group paddled around Oak Island, a distance of over 12 miles. Halfway around, the group stopped at the Manitou Fish Camp for a history lesson and some lunch. On the way back from the fish camp, most of the group landed and walked a not-so-short trail up to the Oak Island overlook, where several of the islands were visible. They arrived back at camp just as dinner was ready to be served. The evening was once again capped off watching the sunset from the dock.
Day three was a shorter paddle. The group paddled to Raspberry Island (about 3.5 miles each way). Upon reaching Raspberry Island, they hiked the 3/4-mile trail to the lighthouse where they ate a relaxing lunch before taking a guided tour of the lighthouse. After dinner, the group was pleasantly surprised by a visit from our very own Josh Gundlach! Josh is a kayaking guide around the Apostle Islands during the summer. He brought with him a cooler full of ICE CREAM! What a great way to top off the day! However, the day was not over yet. While the group was getting settled in to, you guessed it, watch the sunset from the dock, one of the paddlers wondered back to camp, where he walked up behind a black bear that was ambling into camp. Upon seeing each other, they each turned and walked away. Two others in the group saw a bear (same bear?) during their stay. Ranger David informed us that Oak Island is home to an estimated 16 bears.
The fourth, and final, day was the group’s return to the mainland. The weather forecast was for building wind and waves during the afternoon, so camp was broken early, and the group paddled back to Meyer’s Beach. The first half of the trip was with some quartering tailwinds and mild chop, but once the mainland point was rounded, the winds and waves died down for an easy return.
Here are what a couple folks on the trip had to say:
Charming people, wonderful paddling, intriguing dinners, colorful hiking, tasty berries, refreshing swims, relaxed conversations and surprising ice cream treat all made for an Apostle Island adventure that was peaceful and energizing.
– Michael B.
A – wesome people
P – addlers, skilled and strong
O – verlook view on Oak Island after a nice hike
S – mashing waves against the caves
T – ents filling the group site (13!)
L – ots of delicious food; thanks meal planners
E – xciting waves
I – sland views
S – unsets to amaze all
L – ighthouse tour on Raspberry Island
A – fter dinner treat – ice cream; thanks Josh
N – ice weather, great temps, no rain
D – angerous bears – NOT, just curious visitors
S – tories from Manitou Island fishing camp.
It was a pleasure to share the week with all the new friends. A special thanks to Jeff for his leadership and shared paddling passion.
– Barb S.