It’s finally time to write about the great sites I’ve seen in Wisconsin, particularly way far up north. The first thing I want to talk about, and my personal favorite, is the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Man, oh man. I honestly could’ve spent an entire summer exploring this place! It stunk that I only had a few hours to check it out. But hey, I’ll take what I can get.
Driving away, after our tour, I told my stepdad that I liked the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore more than I liked the Grand Canyon. I mean, I hardly got to see the Grand Canyon, and I didn’t see much of the Lakeshore either, but of the two, I can tell you, personally, I’d rather be up north! I think I probably need to spend more time at both, though.
We chose to do a half day kayak trip through Lost Creek Adventures. We wanted to see as much as possible in our limited window of time (4 days, covering 1300 miles), and this seemed like our best bet. I knew going into it that I really enjoyed kayaking, but my experience was limited to less than an hour at a time and on very small bodies of water. But I thought this would be a great opportunity!
Lost Creek is located in Cornucopia, right across the road from Lake Superior! However, you don’t launch from there, they actually bus you a bit down the road to launch from a different beach. We arrived early, so we went to check out the water conditions to kill time, and got to see these gorgeous shades of blue on a placid Lake Superior.
I booked online, and read all of the FAQs and information they provided so that I could be 100% prepared for our excursion. One major question we had was, do we have to wear wetsuits? On their website, it lists that they have them if you want them, and that they’ll make you wear them depending on the weather. Lake Superior is, after all, the coldest of the Great Lakes! Unfortunately this also meant that due to the lake, the air wouldn’t be super warm either. We were nervous, as the weather was listed as hovering just below 60 degrees on the day that we were going out. It seemed cold to spend hours on the lake.
I called to ask if they were required (I really did not want to wear one), and they told me that it really did depend on the temperature of the water. So we were resigned to the fact that we might have to get one! We arrived the morning of dressed in numerous layers. I wore a sports bra, a sleeveless top, and a light sweater. I also had a windbreaker in the car in case it seemed particularly cold. For pants I wore a pair of leggings. My shoes were gym shoes, because the website said not to wear open toed shoes. This was definitely not enforced–almost everyone else wore sandals! At first I was upset and wishing I had worn sandals, but then I realized my feet would’ve gotten cold and sandy and was grateful for my Nikes.
We asked right away about the wetsuit situation, and they went to check the temperature of the water. They informed us that we were not going to need to wear any! We each got a life jacket and did a “get to know you” activity, so that we could meet the guides and the others who would be going out. Then we all loaded up into a van and headed to the launch point.
They showed us how to step into the spray skirts and get situated into our kayaks. They explained paddling and what to do in different situations. And with that, we were off! Lake Superior was amazingly placid the day that we went out. We couldn’t have asked for a better day and better weather. I found myself stripping out of my jacket before we even launched, and tying it around my waist. The sun kept me plenty warm, and kayaking for 3.5 hours was way more of a workout than I imagined it would be, so I was sweating from that, too! I actually ended up splashing myself intentionally several times, just to feel the cool water.
One thing that didn’t occur to me before booking the trip was that I get INCREDIBLY seasick. It’s really bad. Any sort of rocking motion. I’ve felt nauseous before at work from swaying back and forth at the copier (yeah–it’s bad). It’s insane how bad I have it. I really, really, lucked out with how calm the lake was. I don’t even want to think about what the alternative would have been! The guides even kept remarking on how calm it was and how rare it was for it to be as perfect as it was.
The whole tour itself was awesome! Our guides were incredibly informative and just great guys! They were super knowledgeable and great company. Towards the end of our outing, one even put on a show, flipping over a few times in his kayak for us to see it. I can’t even imagine the core strength that takes. The tour involved us kayaking along the shore and getting close enough to touch the rock formations. There were other tour groups out kayaking, which did delay us slightly, but it really wasn’t bad at all.
I brought along my phone in a waterproof case (that also would float, in the event that I dropped my phone in), and had it on a lanyard around my neck. This allowed me to feel free to take pictures while we were out and about!
I would do the tour again in a heartbeat. Actually, I would probably opt to do a full day tour instead of just the 3.5 hour one! They also offer one that checks out the shipwrecks of Lake Superior, and that sounds AMAZING. But it is exhausting. I didn’t realize how exhausting it would be to kayak for such a long period of time! Especially with 2 other people in your kayak, one of whom was not paddling. It’s tiring. I looked it up, and with my height and weight, kayaking for 3.5 hours burns almost 2000 calories! Yes, we did stop for McDonalds on our way to our next stop. Oops!
Lost Creek Adventures did a great job of showing us around Lake Superior, and I had a blast on my first sea kayaking adventure. I can’t wait to be able to do it again!