Alexandra Jarvis, Owner and guide of Superior Kayaking Company talks kayaking in Marquette County, MI.
"After moving to Marquette for college, I fell in love with the town’s proximity to hikes, waterfalls, and most of all, Lake Superior. I spent a few summers guiding sea kayak tours at Pictured Rocks, and in 2016 launched Superior Kayaking Company to help people safely get out on the water in small groups. Kayaking is a wonderful way to enjoy nature and get to places that cars, bikes, and boots can- not. It has been my pleasure to watch the sunset from “the best seat in the house” with many locals and visitors in Marquette over the years."
"One of the best things about kayaking is the ease with which you can nestle into a cove"
Clark Lambros Beach Park, Marquette: Accessible kayak launch to help paddlers of all abilities launch in calm water. Novices can kayak up the Dead River or into Lake Superior, where they will enjoy protection from the Presque Isle Harbor Breakwall. Paddle in summer and early fall.
Teal Lake, Negaunee: Paddling around this intimate lake will take about three hours. Explore the west and north sides furthest from M-28 for the best views. Stunning granite rock formations and spectacular colors in the fall. Large enough to feel like you are out in open water, yet small enough to be safe and enjoyable. Paddle in spring, summer, and fall.
UP FOR A CHALLENGE
Presque Isle to Little Presque: Paddle past Middle and Partridge Islands. Fantastic views of Sugarloaf Mountain on this seven-mile half-day trip. Exposure to Lake Superior wind and waves with sections of cliff line where exit is not possible, so be prepared to self-rescue if necessary. Paddle in spring and summer.
WHAT TO WEAR
• Protect: Always wear a personal floatation device!
• Cover: Hat and sunglasses
• Layer: Multiple light and medium layers instead of one bulky one. Include a base layer of a long sleeve shirt that can function as a rash guard and sun protection. Avoid cotton. Choose wicking, “quick dry” options like nylon or polyester, or wool, which insulates, even when wet. Consider long pants to protect your legs from pesky biting flies!
• Feet: Wear a secure sandal (Chaco, Teva, Keen) that won’t be a problem when wet. If you have to exit quickly, you don’t want to worry about your shoes floating away!
• Personal Flotation Device with a whistle
• Drinking water and snacks
• Sun and eye protection
• A dry bag (especially for electronics, in case help is needed)
• Simple first aid and repair kit
WORDS OF ADVICE
Check the weather. Familiarize yourself with NOAA and other marine forecast websites. Novices may think to check for rain but not wind and wave forecasts, which are critical when it comes to kayaking. Let someone know your paddle plan before heading out.
Go with others. Join friends or hire a guide, especially on Lake Superior. Observe, ask questions, and get hands-on experience with an expert. Superior Kayaking Company offers two-hour tours around Presque Isle Park, excellent for paddlers of any level.
Choose the right gear. Visit a local outfitter or outdoors shop like Downwind Sports to discuss options. When you are ready to buy, think about where you will paddle most. Kayaks are not one-size-fits-all. Lake Superior requires different equipment than a lazy river or small inland lake.
Mix it up. Paddle on hot summer days and crisp spring mornings. Down rivers, on inland lakes, and, when you are more experienced, Lake Superior. Enjoy sunset paddles on long summer days when the water is calm and the low light makes the granite and sandstone cliffs stand out. Fall is a great time to explore inland lakes and rivers that don’t get the high winds of the Great Lakes. Once you’re comfortable, get off the beaten path. One of the best things about kayaking is the ease with which you can nestle into a cove, picnic on an unoccupied beach, or get to an otherwise inaccessible hike. Most of all, enjoy the adventure!