Tag: kayak


Paddle Antrim Festival offers great experience on the Chain of Lakes Water Trail

 

Paddling is becoming an even more popular recreational activity and Paddle Antrim is offering kayakers a great way to get out on the water with the third annual Paddle Antrim Festival. This Festival celebrates Northern Michigan’s waters and communities and highlights the diversity of the Chain of Lakes Water Trail.

This two day festival, September 15-16, is a fun, non-competitive kayak event where paddlers can enjoy being out on Antrim County’s Chain of Lakes. There are opportunities for all levels of paddlers, from beginners to advanced, to enjoy a great time both on and off the water. Kayakers can choose to paddle one or both days and choose the distance they want to travel. Those looking for a relaxed paddle may exit after 7 miles, while those looking for a challenge may continue up to 42 miles, with many exit points in between to make it the ideal paddle for anyone. This Festival includes live music, great food and drinks all weekend long for both paddlers and the entire community.

This event highlights the wide-range of paddling opportunities that Northern Michigan’s Chain of Lakes provides. The first day begins with a series of small calm lakes which is a must-see, perfect for all paddlers. The second day you can explore up to five lakes and two rivers including the tranquil Grass River Natural Area and the crystal blue waters of larger lakes such as Torch and Elk Lakes. Over the two days paddlers will enjoy the charming communities of Ellsworth, Central Lake, Bellaire, Alden, and Elk Rapids as they make their way down the waterway. To make the event stress-free, meals and shuttle service can be added at the time of registration.

“We are excited to offer a paddling experience for all levels of kayakers to get out on the water”, says Deana Jerdee, Paddle Antrim executive director. “This is a great opportunity to highlight the different types of paddling the Chain of Lakes Water Trail offers and have the entire region come together to celebrate the remarkable waterways and region we live in.”

Beyond great paddling, the weekend is filled with great food and festivities.  Beginning Thursday night, each day there are local events with music and refreshments open to all. The Festival ends with a bang at the Final Bash Saturday night in Elk Rapids hosted by the Festival’s top sponsor, Short’s Brewing Company. This all-ages party is for paddlers and the entire community to come out and enjoy live music and great food and drinks. Short’s Brewing Company and Festival sponsor, Pearl’s New Orleans Kitchen, will be there serving up the most amazing food and finest brews for all to enjoy.

The Paddle Antrim Festival not only encourages folks to get out and enjoy the lakes and rivers but also raises money to support Paddle Antrim’s mission to protect the waterway, focusing on stewardship, education, and increasing access for all to the waterways through development of the Chain of Lakes Water Trail. The water trail, the aquatic equivalent of a hiking trail for non-motorized boats, provides information on available access sites and paddling experiences for everyone to enjoy all season long. By working with local jurisdictions and other supporters and champions, Paddle Antrim is leading efforts to create a premier water trail for all to enjoy in Northern Michigan.

For additional information on Paddle Antrim, the Chain of Lakes Water Trail or Paddle Antrim Festival, go online http://www.paddleantrim.com or contact Paddle Antrim at info@paddleantrim.com or 231-492-0171.

 

Paddle Antrim Offers Kayaking Classes

 

Paddle Antrim is excited to offer two different types of kayaking classes this summer in Antrim County. They will offer two half-day sessions of the Fundamentals of Kayaking. This is a great class for beginners or for those who have been paddling for a while and want to learn basic safety skills and improve technique. They will also offer a more intensive all day Level 1 and 2 Coastal Kayaking class which will cover additional technique and safety skills. Both classes will include both land and water instruction.

“Paddling season is almost here and safety on the water is a high priority for us,” says Deana Jerdee, executive director of Paddle Antrim. “We are pleased to be able to offer these great opportunities locally to give people the information and skills they need to have a fun and safe time out on the water.”

Both classes are American Canoe Association certified courses and will be led by Michael Gray of Uncommon Adventures who has almost 30 years of experience. Classes are limited, with a maximum student to teacher ratio of 5 to 1, ensuring great interaction and instruction.  Both half-day Fundamentals of Kayaking classes will be on June 15th in Central Lake and registration is $95. The full day Level 1 and 2 Coastal Kayaking class will be June 14th in Ellsworth with registration set at $155.

For registration or additional information, go online http://www.paddleantrim.com/events-calendar or contact Paddle Antrim at info@paddleantrim.com or 231-492-0171.

 

Paddle Antrim Hosts More Community Paddle Events

Paddle Antrim is hosting three more community paddle events this paddling season and invites all paddlers to join them.  These relaxed, hour-long paddles are along different sections of the Chain of Lakes.  In June, Paddle Antrim hosted their first community paddle in Ellsworth and are excited to do additional events this summer within the different communities.

“These are the equivalent to community slow rides that the biking community hosts,” says Deana Jerdee, Paddle Antrim Executive Director.  “We hope to encourage people to get out and enjoy their waterways.  Through these events we hope to provide opportunities for people to get out more and maybe try a place they have never been, knowing there is a group there for support.”

All types of paddlers are welcome – canoes, kayaks, and stand up paddle boards.  Paddlers are responsible for bringing their own paddle craft and personal flotation device, as life vests must be worn at all times when out on the water.  All ages are welcome but those under 18 must be accompanied by their parent/guardian out on the water.  These events are free and no registration is required.

This season’s community slow paddles will be:

  • August 3, 2016 – Meet at 7:00 pm at Dam Beach in Elk Rapids
  • August 16, 2016 – Meet at 6:30 pm at Richardi Park in Bellaire.
  • October 1, 2016 – Meet at 2:00 pm at Thurston Park in Central Lake.

For more information please go online at http://www.paddleantrim.com, email info@paddleantrim.com or call 231-492-0171.

 

2016 Paddle Antrim Registration Opens

Paddle Antrim is celebrating the amazing treasures of Northern Michigan’s Chain of Lakes.  This non-profit organization is hosting the second Paddle Antrim Festival September 16 & 17, 2016.  The event is highlighted by a two-day kayak paddle through Antrim County’s Chain of Lakes and its communities.

The two-day paddle begins on a beautiful sandy beach in the Village of Ellsworth.  From Ellsworth, paddlers meander 15 peaceful miles through four small lakes to the Village of Bellaire.  This portion is a must-see with waters calm enough for beginning kayakers to enjoy.  The second day is a 27-mile paddle from Bellaire through the turquoise water of Torch Lake to the Village of Elk Rapids.  As a non-competitive event, paddlers are encouraged to choose their own adventure, and they offer many paddling options anywhere from 7 to all 42 miles.  Individuals may select to paddle only one day or drop out at any of the checkpoints along the route either day. To make the event stress-free, shuttle service can be added at time of registration. In addition to the paddle event, the local communities come together to host events for the paddlers each day along the route.

Beyond great paddling, the weekend will be filled with great food and festivities.  Each day paddlers will receive a great lunch and the communities will host a great event with music and refreshments for the paddlers.  The Festival ends with a bang at the Final Bash Saturday night in Elk Rapids.  This great party is for paddlers and the entire community to come out and enjoy live music and great food and drinks.  Paddle Antrim’s top sponsors Short’s Brewing Company and Pearl’s New Orleans Kitchen will be there serving up the most amazing food and finest brews for all to enjoy.  Each paddler will even receive a complimentary dinner and beer at the Final Bash.

The Paddle Antrim Festival not only encourages folks to get out and celebrate but also raises money for the protection of the waterways and increasing accessibility for all.  Paddle Antrim is working with the local communities to develop a water trail for paddlers along the Chain of Lakes.  They are also dedicated to giving back a portion of the money raised by providing grants for projects focused on water resources education, stewardship, and increasing access to the water for everyone.

“We are so excited to build on the momentum from our inaugural event last year.  We are looking forward to another great time both on and off the water to celebrate these amazing waters with the paddlers and the communities.  We appreciate the great support we have the local communities, sponsors, and paddlers for our mission and this unique paddling event,” said Deana Jerdee, Paddle Antrim executive director.  “We especially thank Short’s Brewing Company and Pearl’s New Orleans Kitchen for all their support.  We look forward to celebrating the pristine waters and enjoying a wonderful paddle and local hospitality.”

Registration for one day is $55 and $88 for two days.  You can also join them for small hour-long paddles throughout the communities on the Chain of Lakes this summer.  For registration or additional information, please go online at http://www.paddleantrim.com, email info@paddleantrim.com or call 231-492-0171.

 

 

Paddle Antrim Raffling off Kayak & Paddle Board

Win yourself a new kayak or paddle board!  We teamed up with Bellaire Rotary for a Kayak Raffle to raise money for our communities and precious waters here in Northern Michigan.

Prizes:
1st- 12′ Daggar Axis kayak with paddle and car accessories

2nd – 10′ Pelican paddle board and paddle

3rd – $250 cash

4th-10th – $50

We want to especially thank Backcountry North of Traverse City & Alden Marine & Sport for your support with the prizes.

Raffle tickets are available now at: Edward Jones (Bellaire), Paddles & Pedals (Bellaire) or Bellaire Chamber (Bellaire), Alden State Bank locations (Alden, Bellaire, Central Lake & Elk Rapids), Alden Outfitters (Alden & Bellaire) and more locations to come.

Paddling Bellaire to Elk Rapids – Day 2

June 1, 2015 – Today’s the day we were paddling from Bellaire to Elk Rapids, Day 2 of the Paddle Antrim Festival kayak event and I could not wait.  After paddling Day 1 two weeks earlier, I was eager to take on the new challenge of 27 miles, longer than I have ever paddled in the past.  The crew included Paddle Antrim president/COO of Short’s Brewing Company Matt Drake, other great folks from Short’s and another paddling friend, most who had done the route numerous times.  While in September there will be plenty of safety boats to point the way paddlers on the route, I was happy to have a crew of who knew the route well to keep us on track.

We met at the Ohio Street launch in Bellaire and were on the water by 8:30.  The sun was shining, it was a comfortable 60 degrees and as we set out for our adventure.  We quickly paddled through the Intermediate River and entered Lake Bellaire where a pair of loons greeted us by popping up right in front of our kayaks.  We stopped paddling for a moment and watched in wonder, having never been that close to a loon before.  They seemed completely unbothered by us as they went on their way.  We continued across the calm lake to the entrance of the Grass River Natural Area, a great place to hike and just as amazing in the water.  In Grass River, we watched as three deer pranced through the wetland and took a quick break near the mouth of Cold Creek to enjoy the tranquility.

The waters continued to be calm as we headed out into Clam Lake where we were greeted by swans this time.  After 7 miles and about 2 ½ hours, we decided to stretch our legs at the Clam Lake’s DNR boat launch.  By 11 am, we passed the Dockside Restaurant, Checkpoint #1, and entered Torch Lake.  The crystal waters were beautiful and only small waves lapped at our boats as we made our way down the shore.  At a little after 12 pm, we stopped in Alden, Checkpoint #2, for a needed rest and some lunch.  After 14 miles at a good pace, it was a great paddle so far.

After a great break, we were all refreshed and ready to continue down Torch Lake.  As the winds were picking up slightly, we put our spray skirts on to keep us dry from any small splashes.  We enjoyed the open waters of the southern portion of Torch Lake, Michigan’s second largest inland lake, ending in the shallow waters of the Torch Lake Sandbar.  At 2 pm, after another hour on the water, we passed the Torch River Bridge, Checkpoint #3, and the crystal waters continued into the Torch River.  The waters were calm as we chatted, enjoying the different docks and boats along the shore.  When we entered Lake Skegemog, we are once again alone in nature in the Lake Skegemog Wildlife Area.  We are careful to follow the boat channel as to not get stuck in the stumps as we made our way through.  We could feel the headwind picking up slightly as we make our way toward our last checkpoint.  As we did at every checkpoint, our group checked in to make sure we were all comfortable and ready for the next leg of the journey.  As an event to celebrate the water, our attitude is any day out on the water is an awesome day, whether you paddle 5 miles or 27 miles.  We were all still feeling good so at 3:30 we paused near the Chippewa Trail Extension boat launch, Checkpoint #4, to adjust our gear and stretch before the final six miles.  While we paused, we saw more amazing wildlife as a fawn peeked out through a tree and a swan with seven small cygnets swam by.

As we headed out onto Elk Lake, the winds and waves continued, making for a fun challenge.  We took our time and steadily make our way up the lake into Elk River.  At 6 pm, we make our way to the end in Elk Rapids.  As we stretched and loaded our boats in Elk Rapids, we are all tired but feeling good.  We talked about how each trip is such a different experience depending on conditions but every time amazing.  While tired, I was thrilled I was able to experience the entire route, each portion so different from the others.  Whether you are looking for a 5 mile or a 40 mile adventure, we look forward to sharing this amazing experience with you in September!

Deana, Executive Director

Paddling Ellsworth to Bellaire – Day 1

May 16, 2015 – As a kayaker who has spent the last five years doing short paddles with my two awesome future paddlers (ages 3 & 5), I was excited when we decided to “pre-paddle” the kayak event route for the Paddle Antrim Festival in September.  Today was the day to get out and do the 15+ miles of Day 1 which goes from Ellsworth to Bellaire.  Paddle Antrim’s president & COO of Short’s Brewing Company Matt Drake and I rounded up six other folks to join us.  It was a perfect mix of avid and recreational paddlers as well as friends and new faces.  We were all excited to enjoy a relaxing paddle as we headed out on our journey.

At just past 9:30, eight of us started our adventure on the sandy banks of River Park in Ellsworth.  I could already envision what the sea of colorful kayaks in September will look like as I got in my boat to begin.  The water was calm, temperatures in the 60s, and we all realized we were in for a perfect day of paddling.  We paddled slowly, enjoying the quiet waters and good company as we all got to know each other.  We meandered slowly the first 1 ½ miles through Ellsworth Lake in about 40 minutes as the clouds burned off leaving bright blue skies.  After passing under the bridge into Wilson Lake we passed a friendly fisherman but the only other company we had were some great blue herons fishing near the shore.

As we made our way through the narrow stretch between Wilson Lake and Ben-way we all quieted and enjoyed the wildlife around us.  On our left, we passed a goose perched on a large nest.  On our right, we paused from paddling to watch a beaver paddle around the shallow waters.  We counted thirteen turtles all sunning themselves on one small fallen log as we slowly passed by.

Paddling through the shallow narrow waters from Ben-way Lake into Hanley Lake, we carefully paddled around a swan who was swimming around in the water.  As we continued, we saw the first of many swans perched on nests, keeping eggs warm.  After two hours on the water, as we made our way into Hanley Lake, our pace quickened a bit in anticipation for our stop in Central Lake.

As we made our way into Central Lake, many friendly folks out enjoying the beautiful sunshine stopped and chatted with us from their docks.  After going under the Central Lake bridge, we paddled right and pulled our boats out on the sandy beach of Thurston Park to rest.  At almost the halfway point and after 3 hours in the water, it was a perfect spot to take a break and relax.  Still early in the day, we had plenty of time to enjoy the park.  With bathrooms and wonderful covered picnic pavilion, the park was a great spot to enjoy a nice snack and stretch before heading into Intermediate Lake.

As we headed into our last but longest lake of the day, we began to see a few motorboats out on the water but the water stayed calm as we picked up our pace energized from our rest.  Near the final turn before heading into the Intermediate River, the water shallowed and so clear we could see the fish swimming about.  Out in the middle of the narrow islands we saw more nesting swans enjoying the solitude.   As we headed into the Intermediate River, we knew our adventure was ending.  We slowed, enjoying the shallow waters and welcomed the current as it helped bring us to Bellaire’s Richardi Park in just under six hours.   And our day was only complete after we met  to enjoy a wonderful meal and beer at the Short’s Brewing Company pub.

As we talked, it was clear to me that this is the ideal day of kayaking for almost any paddler.  With smaller, calmer waters, a good length of time and distance on the water, and lots of beautiful nature, it is just about perfect.  As my husband and I drove home, he shared that 15 miles was a perfect paddle and he’d love to join me for the first half of the Paddle Antrim Festival Day 2 adventure.  As for myself, I was energized, and look forward to challenging myself to the full 27 miles of Day 2 from Bellaire to Elk Rapids.

Happy Paddling!
Deana, Executive Director

Paddle Antrim Festival Kayak Event Registration Opens

Paddle Antrim announced that registration is now open for the inaugural Paddle Antrim Festival kayak event which will be September 18 & 19, 2015.  This two-day, 40-mile kayak paddle through most of Antrim County’s Chain of Lakes, from Ellsworth to Elk Rapids, is a one-of-a-kind experience.

The first day meanders 16 peaceful miles through many small lakes from Ellsworth to Bellaire.  The second day is a more challenging 27 mile paddle from Bellaire through the Lower Chain of Lakes including the picturesque Torch Lake to Elk Rapids.  As a non-competitive event, paddlers are encouraged to choose their own adventure.  Early registration for the two days will be $100 and one day registration for $65 per day will begin June 1st.

“We are very excited about the level of enthusiasm we have received from the local communities, sponsors, and paddlers for this unique paddling event,” said Deana Jerdee, Paddle Antrim executive director.  “We appreciate all of our sponsors and want to especially thank our main sponsor, Short’s Brewing Company for all their support as we carry on a tradition they began with their Short’s to Short’s paddle.  We look forward to celebrating these pristine waters and enjoying a wonderful paddle and local hospitality.”

Local communities are hosting great events as well that weekend for everyone to enjoy.  Ellsworth will kick off the festival Friday and Saturday mornings with breakfast, while paddlers and visitors can stop in Central Lake’s Thurston Park Friday afternoon.  Bellaire welcomes all for Friday night festivities.  Saturday along the route the Dockside Restaurant, Alden and Torch River welcome folks as well.  The festival will conclude with a wonderful party for everyone in downtown Elk Rapids Saturday night.

For registration or additional information, go online http://www.paddleantrim.com, email info@paddleantrim.com or call 231-492-0171.