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Painted Rocks Lake Michigan 2006

There is a sea kayaking symposium at Grand Marais Lake Michigan each summer. You can't expect the cold lake to always be as calm as it appears on this trip. It's usually much more active, according to mid-western kayak expert Doug Van Doren who paddled with me to show me these fiery rocks.

Minerals leaching from the sandstone stain the cliffs with colorful streaks

while the icy-cold water, calm today, appears clear and inviting

Apparently strong archways sometimes shed boulders and occasionally collapse completely. Local paddlers tell tales of near misses, narrow escapes and of changing landscapes. Sandstone is a friable rock.

A narrow gash in the cliff is fringed with precariously perched trees

Doug finds a pool of sunshine

We land on a sand beach for lunch and to send flat pebbles skimming across the bright water

Doug Van Doren is responsible for a lot of the recent growth of popularity of Greenland-style paddling in USA, adapting its influence to North American needs.

Evidence of the temporary nature of eroding cliff features, many paddlers kayaked through this archway before the recent rock-fall blocked the watery passage

Caves reach under the steep rock walls

offering chill passageways

and narrow squeezes back into bright sunlight

Placid Saturday conditions at the symposium create a relaxed atmosphere in which to learn, play and to test kayaks...

while the cool water offers relief from the hot day...

...but an overnight storm topples trees, flattens tents, cuts of power and creates a seiche that washes kayaks from the beach. Rest assured this doesn't happen every symposium weekend here... it's a great venue and a great event!