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Best Damn Weekend Ever: Kayak a Superior Archipelago

Try this black diamond, three-day kayak trip that navigates Lake Superior's piney islands.
Backpacker_Magazine_Kayak_Lake_SuperiorPhoto by Mike Grandmasion

At Spar, check the marine forecast on your shortwave. If strong southerlies are coming, veer north into Nipigon Strait and continue your trip along the north side of St. Ignace Island. In fair weather, follow the waveworn south shore. Sneak behind Dunmore Island on Simpson Island’s Grebe Point and set your tent in Woodbine Harbor. In the morning, round Morn Point and paddle between dreamy Vein and Harry Islands. Keep an eye out for playful otters and head south past the imposing cliff of Quarry Island to your takeout at the village of Rossport, where homemade pie at the Rossport Inn will go down faster than the Edmund Fitzgerald.

The Drive

From Thunder Bay, head east on ON 17 to the turnoff for Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, then south to Silver Islet.

Outfitting Superior Outfitters (superioroutfitters.on.ca) has boats ($30-40/week), guides ($1,250), and shuttle service back to Silver Islet for you and your boats ($175).

Permits

You’ll need a Crown land permit to camp (CDN $10 per night); the Thunder Bay District of Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources (807-475-1471) can mail it. You can also pick one up at the district office or at Cloud River Trading Post, just north of the Pigeon River border crossing.

Maps/Guide

Canadian topos 52A and 42D, in 1:250,000 ($11.45 each); Guide to Sea Kayaking on Lakes Superior & Michigan, by Bill Newman, Sarah Ohmann, and Don Dimond ($16; Globe Pequot).

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