Giving Back to Lake Superior: 3370 Field Explorations with L.U. Rec students 2011

So for the third time I made my way up to Thunder Bay to instruct for the 3370 3rd year field explorations course. It was another great group of 3rd/4th year students from the Outdoor Recreation Parks and Tourism (ORPT) program at Lakehead University. Having such an affinity for the north shore of Lake Superior, Thunder Bay and the ORPT program, this course is definitely one of my favourites.

It was funny how i was looking to rideshare as I always do up to Thunder Bay and my good friend Aaron ran into my parents at the Dundas Cactus Festival and mentioned how him and his partner Jess┬ájust got back from traveling in Norway and were planning on driving up separate as they were meeting Jess’s parents north of South River to use their VW van while they searched for a new place to live. I knew they were coming back but didn’t think it would fall in place so well. It worked out well for Aaron and Jess to pick me up in South River, drive to where her parents were and switch their stuff over so they could take their time in the VW bus up to Thunder Bay and I could get a head start in Aaron’s subaru.

This felt so good to drive solo along the lake. I made a stop to touch base with my co-istructor Bryana in Wawa who was worked with Naturally Superior Adventures. It was actually my first time at their site by the mouth of the Michipecoten River and it was a beautiful morning. I went out for a nice paddle around the bay and then continued on with the drive. I stayed at my friend Darrell Makin’s newly built cabin right on Lake Superior at Jackfish Bay (click here for link for pictures and stories about Darrell’s cabin at Jackfish). I went for a nice morning paddling there too out to Cape Victoria with Scot Kyle, one of Darrell’s only neighbors at Jackfish who happened to be out there when i was. It was so great to get out paddling on these beautiful mornings. It really helped clear my head and prepared me for a great trip. For those of you who don’t know Darrell, he is a super fantastic human being and is also the main co-ordinator for the field explorations course and is co-authoring the guidebook for Lake Superior with me.

The students this year chose to focus their group project on service learning by “giving back to the lake” as much as possible. We all took part and worked together doing as much as we could along our way. We built a new thunder box, cleared trail, fixed axes, rakes, made nice signs and whatever else needed to be done at a variety of sites along our route
Our trip started in pouring rain on the beaches of Terrace Bay (known more locally as Hydro Bay). For the most part we had really good weather which made for high group morale.

We hiked both mount Gwynne and Mount St Ignace as we paddled through Rossport Islands, Simpson Island, St Ignace Island, and Nipigon Bay. We finished our trip in nice sunshine playing intense games of “Bunny Bunny” at the mouth of the Jackpine River. (click any of the photos below for links to the whole album)
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Lake Superior Sea Kayaking – 3370 Lakehead Outdoor Rec Aug 26th to Sept 9th 2010

So after a busy summer of trips i made my way back to Thunder Bay to lead one of my favourite trips in one of my favourite places. The Canadian North Shore of Lake Superior! and i got to lead it for the second time, this time with one of my best friends, Aaron Nicholson of whom we have lived, studied and worked for the lake for the past few years. We had a small group of 5 students and we really got connect with the lake and everyone had an amazing time despite being wind-bound for 7+ days out of 15 on the second half. We completed a campsite inventory and analysis for the Wilson Island Archipelago now owned by the Nature Conservancy of Canada. To start we had some beautiful sunny warm days with some nice swell and some calms to the crazy cold north winds that came in half way that came in that told us it wasn’t time to move… Lots of cards, food, laughs and sleeping. All in all it was a challenging but fantastic trip. A learning experience for all.

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