Discover the history and experience the rugged beauty that inspired the Group of Seven along the north shore of Lake Superior in this self-reliant expedition training trip.
Paddle Lake Superior and enjoy empty, sandy and cobblestone beaches, rugged Canadian shield, endless Boreal forest, waterfalls and wildlife.
Our seasoned Lake Superior trip guides will lead and coach a small group leaving Rossport then east along the historic shoreline to Hattie Cove (just south of Marathon). Along the way, if the weather cooperates, we will make the 10km crossing and spend two nights out on the remote Slate Islands. We will also circumnavigate the extremely rugged, Pic Island. Our total distance will be approximately 220 kilometers.
The north shore of Lake Superior provided endless inspiration for the Group of Seven and was a favourite for Lawren Harris and Arthur Lismer who were particularly captivated by Pic Island. We welcome you to witness the inspiration for the Group of Seven’s most famous works.
Our guides have a strong interest in the local history of Lake Superior so we will take time to explore lighthouses, abandoned logging camps, old trappers cabins, abandoned mines and a former WW2 prisoner of war camp location. Our route will also take us past the historic ghost town of Jack Fish which during the 1880’s housed over 500 men working to build one of the most difficult sections of the CRP rail line.
We will also visit several sites where the mysterious Pukaskwa Pits are located. These rock-lined pits dug in cobblestone beaches are about one to two meters long and one and a half meters deep and are estimated to be between 400 and 7,000 years old!
This 10-day training kayak trip on Lake Superior is an empowering, memorable experience where paddlers hone their skills and learn the valuable asset of self-reliance on a kayaking expedition.
We originally came up with the self-reliant theme way back in 2010 as a way to help Ontario’s sea kayakers take the next step in their expedition paddling skills. Lake Superior is the world’s largest inland sea which can produce unpredictable conditions in a very short time. We help participants plan their own personal gear and menu plans, pack for a long trip without re-supply and make the right risk management decisions to execute a successful trip.
Paddle Canada certification
As part of the trip we are proud to also offer the Paddle Canada Wilderness Camping and Expedition Camping certifications.
To facilitate this, we will organize pre-trip training classes over Zoom to teach topics such as navigation and map reading skills, expedition food preparation, route planning, etc.
Throughout the trip we will complete the rest of the syllabus topics.
What to expect on this kayaking adventure
- learn trip planning, including navigation and weather interpretation,
- learn menu planning, packing and food preparation for extended trips or expeditions,
- learn the skills of expedition self-reliance,
- learn how to plan and pack paddling and camping equipment,
- improve paddling skills like strokes and advanced rescues,
- share tips, stories and gossip with group members around the campfire and on the water,
- apply navigation skills and map work,
- gain a better understanding of weather conditions, risk management,
- build leadership and teamwork skills, facilitated by the guides,
- and of course the most beautiful sea kayaking in Ontario and world-class lingering sunsets.
Your trip guides and skill development facilitators
Ray Boucher and David Johnston have been teaching sea kayak courses and guiding on Lake Superior for almost 20 years and it is still one of their favourite places to paddle.
Having two senior Paddle Canada instructors along on the trip is a rare commodity and allows for a 10-day overhaul of paddling and rescue skills development as well as trip navigation and weather planning. Tripping with highly skilled coaches allows the group to choose to experiment with rougher paddling conditions to increase participant’s open-water paddling skill-set. Having guides who have paddled this coast many times over the years means you will see the best parts of the coast and camp at the most spectacular sites.
A day-by-day plan to guide your journey ahead. Just keep in mind that it may change due to weather or group needs.
Slate Islands Crossing
Today we will cross over to the Slate Islands and spend a couple of days exploring this wonderful archipelago in the middle of Lake Superior. Hopefully we will see some of the few Woodland Caribou that call the islands home.
The Slate Islands were formed by a meteor impact around 450 million years ago (give or take 2 or 3 years).
Visit Jackfish Ghost Town
Jackfish is a small ghost town just outside Terrace Bay. Established as a train refueling and commercial fishing town in the 1870's and boasted a population of 500 people in it's peak. With the advancement of diesel train engines in the 1950's the town grew less important to the rail line and eventually was abandoned in 1963.
We will take some time to learn about this important location to the opening up Canada and explore the numerous building foundations and rail lines.
Meet Your Guides
Don’t worry, we’ve got this covered.
- 10-Day kayaking adventure guided by highly certified kayak instructors.
- Pre-trip online meetings with your guides.
- Wilderness Camping and Expedition Camping certification (to those who qualify).
- Training sessions before and throughout the trip on how to plan and execute an expedition.
- Parking fees for cars while on trip.
- Paddle Canada certification fees.
What's Not Included
- Kayak and kayaking gear (rentals are available).
- Camping gear and trip meals.
- Trip interruption/cancellation medical evacuation insurance (recommended).
- Camping fees at Hattie Cove (Pukaskwa National Park) before trip starts on July 17th.
What You Should Bring
A detailed gear list is sent before the start of the trip but this can get you started.
- Touring sea kayak with required safety gear.
- Camping gear and clothing.
- Meals and snacks.
Very well organized and safety-oriented. Best guides and superb service.
Drive your Car
Drive your vehicle to Marathon, Ontario to meet your guides. Here they will assist you on where to safely park your vehicle for the duration of the trip.
Take the Bus
Don’t have a car? No problem, you can take the bus from Toronto or any other Ontario town directly to Wawa. We can arrange a pick up for you from the bus station and a drive to the launch point.
Nearest International Airport
The nearest airport is in Marathon.
Pre and Post-Trip Accommodation
We will be staying at Pukaskwa National Park Campground on the night before the trip.