Circumnavigating Lake Superior is such a uniquely Northland College student experience. In addition to the Superior Connections program that includes a May trip around the lake, there are Northlanders who go on their own by kayak, bike, and even on foot. There’s no official ledger of Northlanders who have traveled around the lake under their own power, but here are the ones we know about.
Bike: Laura Rethmann ’17 and Olivia Garceau ’17
Rethmann and Garceau peddled 1,350 miles in thirty-five days. “We were spoiled with only one flat tire to mend, many slices of pie, and generous people who shared their stories of the lake—all of which inspired joy, spirituality, fear, and a sense of belonging,” Garceau said. “Thanks to our selective memory, every day seems like a highlight, but we will never forget picking blueberries on Isle Royale, shouting at headwinds, being at a loss for adjectives to describe the beauty around us, dancing at the tavern with Canadian loonies and “tunies,” and camping with an alleged cougar.”
Foot: Evan Flom ’14, Allisa Stutte ’13, and Andy Butter ’15 pushed a Burley buggy as they ran roughly twenty-miles-per-day around Lake Superior, collecting stories and participating in a citizen science project.
Bike: Liz Downey ’13
For her college finale, Liz Downey ‘13 pedaled 1,287 miles around Lake Superior in May, navigating thirty mph winds, blinding blizzards, and ice storms. In other words, she had a blast.
Kayak: Mariah Christensen ‘06 and Justin Brewster ‘07
Bike: Hannah Fanney ‘13 and Allissa Stutte ‘13
Kayak: Brian Castillo ‘07and Alisa Weitz ‘04
Kayak: Ian Karl ’04, Jenny Ulbricht ’01, and Jesse Beightol ’99
One could follow the career path of Ian Karl ’04, experiential programming coordinator at Northwest Passage, back to the fall of 1999, when he sat with classmates Jenny Ulbricht ’01and Jesse Beightol ’99, atop Palisade Head on the north shore looking out at Lake Superior. One of them wondered aloud about what Lake Superior looked like on the other side.
“We weren’t satisfied with letting curiosities remain curiosities,” Karl said.
The next spring, the three shoved off in kayaks from the shores of Ashland, paddled to Waverly Beach, and continued on to paddle the entire shoreline for the next two months. “It was an adventure, like none other,” Karl laughed.
They had days of seven-foot following seas, harrowing waves at Pictured Rocks, and a forty-eight-mile day on Pukaskwa shoreline looking for viable campsites.
“The trip cemented my passion for, and bond with Lake Superior and fresh water,” Karl said. “It will always be my home.”