Kayaking Lake Huron

Today we kayaked to Turnip Rock. We got up at 7 AM and had breakfast at our hotel. The weather did not look very promising; the radar was showing storms heading through around 1 PM and heavy winds. We decided to head up to Port Austin to at least see the town, even if we couldn’t kayak. We arrived at Port Austin around 9 AM and were pleasantly surprised to hear that Port Austin Kayak was renting kayaks today. They said that the weather looked iffy in the afternoon but that we shouldn’t have any problem getting to the rock by noon. They also gave us a map and instructed us to pull our kayaks ashore if it would happen to rain. We got in our kayaks and headed out. First we had to go out a little river to get to the harbor area. Then we went past the Port Austin Beach, a marshy area, and some sea caves. It was cloudy but the water was pretty calm. After about 50 minutes of relaxed paddling, we began to see the edge of Turnip Rock! As we were nearing the rock, the sun started to come out a little bit. There were some other people enjoying the rock, so we hung around the water for a little bit until a spot opened up on the beach by the rock. I climbed up on a smaller rock to get the best view of Turnip Rock. Dad and I ate our snack, but it was too early to eat our sandwiches that I had packed. We had assumed it would take us 2 hours to get to Turnip Rock (it was a 3.5 mile trip out after all!) and that we would be able to have lunch.

After about 15 minutes, a group of kids and their parents showed up and we decided that we had spent enough time at the rock. We began our journey back and decided to spend a little time at the sea caves. While I was exploring the sea caves, the wind started to pick up a little bit. The next 45 minutes where the hardest kayaking I’ve ever done. The wind was blowing about 10 miles an hour and the waves were about 2 feet. We had to paddle straight into the wind and waves. It was very difficult and I didn’t think I was going to make it. Finally we saw the harbor (I was singing the hallelujah chorus at that point) and made it back around 1 PM (staying within the four hour time-frame for the kayaks). It took us 50 minutes of relaxed paddling to reach Turnip Rock and 1.5 hours to get back, because of the wind and waves!

After returning our kayaks, we decided to sit on the beach and have our sandwiches. The beach was very nice. The water was colder than the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean in Florida, but NOT colder than Lake Tahoe in California! After lunch, we went back to Port Austin Kayak and had some drinks at the beer garden. Since it was only about 2:30 PM, we decided to walk along the breakwall. It was about a mile walk out and back. It was fun to see the waves crashing against the breakwall. Luckily, the sun was out for most of the afternoon but the winds were still heavy; we were glad that we went kayaking in the morning.

Around 3:30 PM we decided to leave Port Austin and go see the Pointe Aux Barques Lighthouse. We headed east along the M-25 (Lake Huron Circle Tour Road) for about 15 minutes. The lighthouse was very pretty. We then took some back roads through farms and small towns to return to our hotel. When we got back to the hotel I thought my left arm was going to fall off. The kayaking really did a number on it; I think because of the force of the waves. I laid down and Dad relaxed for a little while. I also took a hot shower to loosed up my muscles. We went back to Rachel’s for dinner because it was so good yesterday. Dad had the cod and I had the chicken vegetable pasta. It was equally as good as yesterday, and I wish I could take Rachel’s home with me! Now we are back at the hotel relaxing. Tomorrow, we are sleeping in and then around 10 AM we are planning to head down the east coast of the thumb (M-25) to see the sights.

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