UP Trip 2013 Day 2

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore July 30, 2013

 Tuesday we finally get to paddle Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The beach at the put-in was busy as a hundred or so tourists from the local tour guides were also getting ready to venture out in the lake. Paddling the Pictured Rocks is high on the wish list for many paddlers in Michigan.
It was a bit crowded at first, but soon everyone was spread out enough that we had no difficulties paddling.
The wind was predicted to be from the south today, but it was more west to southwest, making our trip out easy as it was behind us. On our trip up here last year the weather didn't cooperate. You need to have good weather as you can be up to 1-1/2 or 2 miles from the nearest landing area, and if the weather turns violent, you need to be able get to shore as quickly as possible. Jim and Juli found that out on Friday as they were caught offshore in a storm off Grand Island.

Bridal Veil Falls

The recent rains made for good flow over the falls.

The colors in the rocks was absolutely stunning.

We reached Mosquito Beach in time for lunch and a short break.

We made our way to the Grand Portal.

After paddling around it, Dennis and I thought about continuing to Chapel Beach, but we decided to head back with the others since we knew we would have a strong headwind to paddle into to get back to Miners Beach.

We had to keep an eye on the tour boats. Their wakes were large enough to easily capsize a kayak if you weren't watching for them. After a while we were having fun dodging and playing in them.

As we neared the halfway point back, we noticed Deb and Ted were quite a ways behind. Dennis stayed with them to help out if there were any problems.
We waited in a sheltered cove for them to catch up. Their sit-on-top kayaks were much harder to paddle with the strong headwind. Dennis and Deb traded kayaks after a while so Deb could paddle easier.

We paddled hard against the wind back to Miner's Beach. But after a few minutes rest and helping carry some of the kayaks and gear back to the vehicles, Jim and Dennis wanted to paddle over to Miner's Castle, about 1/2 mile west of the beach.
Jim and Juli led the way, with Bill, Dennis and I following close behind.

The base of Miner's Castle is peppered with small caves you can paddle around.

Several of the spires in the rock formation have fallen in recent years, so it is not as impressive as it once was.

Dennis entering one of the small caves.

Juli leads the way up Miners Creek. There is a strong current near the mouth that made the first few hundred yards a bit difficult.

A small waterfall blocked the way, so we played in it for a few minutes and finally turned around to head back down stream to the beach.

There are miles of trails in the park, and numerous waterfalls to hike to.
We are already making plans to return next year. We may even camp along the lakeshore if the weather cooperates.

Miles paddled today:12.5. Year-to-date: 166.6.

View Pictured Rocks paddle 7-30-2013 in a larger map

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