Monday, May 12, 2008

North Shore Paddling Part 1

Once again I’ve fallen in love with a place where the whitewater is amazing and the locals talk a bit funny. That’s right, up dar in da North woods... For a few weeks every year these cold woods become home to some of the most amazing people/paddlers in the country. The snow starts to melt, rivers start to flood, and boaters start driving.

When a group of people like this join together something amazing happens. Something that can only be explained by taking that first step and going there and experiencing the journey yourself. That’s what it’s all about... "The journey" Meeting new people with the same interest and working together to enjoy what matters most. Living in the moment, enjoying life to the fullest, and don't forget, firing up that 30 footer downstream!!! Oh yeah :)

There’s nothing better after a long day of paddling than hanging out with all your friends at Paradise Beach and talking about all the thrills and spills of the day. My favorite part of hanging out on the shore was getting to sleep on the beach at night and watch the sun come up in the morning. Good stuff

This is a very common site to see on your way up the North Shore. There’s one road that goes up the entire shore line on up to Canada. This photo of the Beaver was taken from the road on my way up the first day.

Day 1 on the water... The Manitou

Chad, Tony, and I all put on at a really high level for a warm up run and find this monster to be our first rapid/waterfall. I don't think this has ever been run before and none of us did it but there is definitely a line there.

Day 2 Encampment

The encampment is placed back in one of the few areas left of untouched forest on the North Shore. It’s also extremely private with no good way to take out. The river starts off pretty strait forward and then drops off a sweet 30 footer with a wild lead in.

Here is Ben running the lead in rapid to the 30 footer

Perfect 30 foot waterfall that everyone ran. Check out Chad firing it up

Just downstream of the waterfall Ben runs Tonys touchdown. From here on down you have 2 quick portages and some super fun slides just before dumping into the lake.

Due to the privet property issues we paddled about 2 miles north on Lake Superior to the Crow River for a short hike to the car.

Day 3 Split Rock and Lester

The Split Rock River is one of the best rivers I’ve ever done. If you like big slides than this is the place for you. I don't think this river could ever be paddled to high; more water makes for fast sliding adrenalin pumping fun.

Check out Ryan running the last big one called Under the log.

Here I am running down the last part of Under the Log.

Slide after slide, the Split Rock is awesome.... After all that fast sliding fun we packed it up and headed south to Duluth for a quick bomb run on the Lester. That night we stayed at a hotel, got hot food and showers, and a bed to sleep in... A great thing to have before heading farther north the next day....

Check out part 2 soon

Live from WI
John McConville