Slate Islands - Lake Superior
Departs: Terrace Bay, Ont.
Distance: from 5 to 20km
5 Days / 4 Nights
Skill Level: Beginner
Day 1-5The Slate Islands consist of two main islands, five minor islands, and numerous islets located in Lake Superior, 12 km south of the town of Terrace Bay. These Islands were created by a meteorite impact which formed a crater about 32 km wide. The islands are notable for having Ontario’s largest herd of woodland caribou. At one time, in the 1990's, the herd was estimated at 650 animals, the highest population density in the world. However a food shortage, along with the fact that wolves reached the Islands shortly after, reduced the population significantly. Fortunately the wolves have disappeared and now the caribou population is flourishing.
Although named Slate Islands, the islands are not made of slate; the rock is mainly of volcanic and sedimentary origin. These islands harbor arctic plant species, like the Alpine Bistort, an Inuit delicacy eaten with seal oil, and are a reminder of ice age conditions of the past. In 1985 the Ontario Government established the Slate Islands as a natural environment provincial park. So for someone who’s a naturalist, environmentalist, or just an adventure seeker, this package has it all. What better way to enhance your adventure than by adding sea kayaking! You’ll see breathtaking scenery, woodland caribou, remnants of two native settlements, arctic-alpine flora and a lighthouse built on Patterson Island over 100 years ago.
Although it’s always a bonus to have previous kayaking skills, this trip is designed to provide an excellent introduction to the sport of sea kayaking. For maximum safety you will shuttle out to and return from the Slates. Gary Salesse, who worked summers on the Islands as a student, knows its history and the excellent camping spots will be your crossover guide. He is a skilled woodsman, and avid fisherman who has spent years boating in the area on Lake Superior. Needless to say this is the man you want in charge of the water shuttle. He will drop us off at an excellent campsite, a location protected from the elements, but still centralized, as we head out on our daily expeditions.
You will set up a cozy camp. After all, it’s your home for the next five days so you might as well be comfortable. Afterwards, after working on your appetite, you will have a healthy homemade meal. This will be the time to sit back and enjoy the view for, after eating, you will spend three or four hours on the water learning basic sea kayaking skills. We’ve designed this eco-adventure so the average person has the chance to experience this once in a lifetime opportunity. In order to do this, it has to be done under a safe, relaxing environment. When we paddle out to explore the Islands it will be at a pace and distance that you're comfortable with.
It’s possible that Lake Superior decides “no kayakers on the water today”. That’s fine with us. We’ll just enjoy the camp area till calmer water returns. With all of Lake Superior’s rugged beauty, one can easily become eager to venture out in adverse conditions. Your guide is well aware of this. Remember we’ve shuttled across for a reason, and safety will remain the number one priority throughout your expedition. That’s what’s nice about the islands. You can avoid the outside perimeter, the wind and elements, which allows you to explore the smaller inlets. Slate Islands, the center of a large meteorite impact crater, with its towering rock cliffs, numerous caribou, crystal clear water, century old lighthouse, intriguing history and Lake Superior sunsets, is rated as Howling Wolf Expeditions ultimate sea kayaking adventure