The very look at the map of "twin" lakes, Maceday and Lotus, makes you want to SUP there! And the moment you park at the Maceday Access Point, bring your board to the brink of water and take a look at the hilly harbor ahead, you know: this is going to be great! Give yourself time: a slow-pace, full of discoveries and beautiful vistas trip around these lakes will be worth every minute of it.
Ok, the parking at the Maceday Access Point (7150-7198 Williams Lake Rd, Waterford Twp, MI 48329; free with your R-passport) might be a bit of a hassle, especially on a nice weekend day. The lot looks large, but technically there are only 16 spots, and 11 of them are for cars with trailers, and the regulation sign says that the segregation is enforced here :) So, either come early or be prepared to wait for a vacancy. Of course, on a weekday afternoon the whole parking lot is yours.
From the Access Point we started clock-wise, along the left shore; checked a couple of nice short canals there before entering a maze of little islands and marshes. Soon you should see and pass under a great bridge (wish I took a picture of it!!), after which keep to the right, even though there will be tempting openings on your left. In places the water is very shallow, but when you pass by all the houses it gets fuller, and eventually you'll be in the open waters. Looking at the map I see that there is another bridge (under Rich Rd.) that we never got to see, and perhaps more canals that we left unexplored: more reasons to return to these lakes!
The spot we got out of the maze was right in front of a small peninsula attached to Blain Island. That's an enchanting narrow strait where everyone slows down, and it's the first look at the beautiful landscaping on this island. From there we should have kept moving along the left shore, because there is something that I wish I would have never missed: a possible path to Lester Lake!.. (OK, even more reasons to get back there again). But at that moment I was so taken by the beauty of Blain Island that we forgot about exploring and just followed the island's shore.
There is a tiny little islet between Blain Island and the main land that perhaps turns into peninsula in the end of a dry summer. A sand bar and a shallowness on its left make a great spot for a hang-out. There was many boats and people there even on a weekday afternoon. We opted to navigating the islet on its outer side, where you still can wade around.
This was the only time during that trip that we took our cell-phones out for taking pictures. Pity! Next time I'll take a picture at every beautiful sight, and there will be dozens of pictures :)
Anyway, we proceeded into a large bay - that actually IS Lotus Lake, battled some boating/water-skiing activities there, and reached to another island with a large fancy manor on it looking like a medieval castle (at least at some angles). Later I heard from friends who SUPed there that there was a "FOR SALE" sign on this island, and somebody event checked the price and found it was ~$2 M. Wow! But I thought it's worth it, because it's the whole beautiful island - I mean, a REAL island: there is no a bridge to it, although the strait is narrow and pretty shallow, so you could wade across it, with your belongings, if you decide to move in :) or just SUP to the shore, to get to work and back :) Apparently there are some nature preserves there, but also well developed parts with roads, harbors (there was a toll ship anchored there!), and several buildings. I'd live there :)
Moving forward we SUPed along a very handsome hilly shore until we reached Blain Island isthmus. There are two water paths under it: one (closer to the main land) went completely dry, but the second one was good to get through. It's kind of easy to miss because it's hidden behind toll cat-tales and marshes, so just make a point of finding it: it's another picturesque spot on this lake, and it'd save you an extra trip around Blain Island.
From there you cannot get wrong keeping moving along the shore with a water tower on the top of the hill. The shore there was extremely tempting for me to make a quick landing and climb the hill, but it might be a private property as well... so we skipped.
From the water tower hill you can either go straight to the Access Point that would be already visible from there, or, if you have extra 30 min, follow the shore and check one more beautiful wide inlet before you wrapped up the trip. The whole journey should last some 3-4 hour, but, again, if you stop for a picture every time you say "Wow!" - it might become much longer :)
Stand Up Paddling
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