Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium 2011 in Grand Marias MI

Following up from my previous posting about the Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium  I wanted to mention some more impressions about the event.


I arrived in Grand Marais Michigan  in the “UP” on Wednesday afternoon making good time from Dexter Mi area in six and a half hours of driving, with 30 minutes spent in Mackinaw City getting gas and a couple other items needed for the trip.  I wanted to get lunch there, but the service was so slow, I left the restaurant, just not on the slower time clock yet for Northern Michigan.


I registered and signed up for my trip and classes.  I took the traditional track class option for my relatively new Greenland paddle.  They allowed registration well before the stated 5:00 PM time which worked out well.  I signed up for the Thursday Spray Falls Trip

Spray Falls at The Pictured Rocks

Spray Falls at The Pictured Rocks

which I enjoyed however the walk back up the river was hot and took some energy to do, not to mention the portage on Beaver Creek.  Not everyone would be happy with this trip; however there are sights you will never see on other trips.  In particular the paddle across Little Beaver Lake and Beaver Lake with absolute glass mirror surface that day.

Beaver Lake

Spray Falls Trip

Due to the calm conditions we also paddled further before returning, just before The Grand Portal rock.


Pictured Rocks

Turn around point before the Grand Portal

My first class was with Derrick Mayoleth, and I was the only student.  They don’t cancel classes I was told, unless nobody shows up.  So I got some excellent one on one instruction and covered far more traditional paddle techniques than if other people were in the class.  I enjoyed all of the classes; my only regret is I did not take the traditional rolling class on Saturday afternoon.


Kayak Race


I stayed in a motel for this symposium, likely next year I will camp since the campground is right next to the main symposium base of operations in the community center.  The beach for the classes is just a block away.  Other than transportation for one of the paddle trips there is no need for a car once you get there.  Everything is within a few blocks walking distance.  Your kayak can be left at the beach for the weekend classes.


Kayaks Ready For Class


Next year to miss the Sunday night traffic, I think I would stay till Monday and take a leisurely drive home, getting in another full day of kayaking in Grand Marais.  The event is very weather dependent, some people were disappointed it was so calm on Lake Superior, they wanted the big waves.

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