The first time I sat in a kayak I thought, “I have to have one of these things.” I started as a weekend paddler, fitting it in when I could.
At 63, I wasn’t getting any younger and I knew I had a lot to learn if I wanted to realize my dream of paddling the remote coast of Lake Superior. I started taking courses, eating a healthy raw food diet and losing weight. I learned how to roll, surf and paddle Greenland-style. This year I’m preparing for the Paddle Canada Level 3 certification.
My husband and I discovered this 93-acre property on a weekend drive up the north shore. I spent a year hiking the three-quarter-mile shoreline of the property, searching for the spot where the sound of the waves and the view were just right.
An architectural graduate friend helped us design the plans. We wanted a building that was aesthetically satisfying but also sturdy, low-maintenance and energy efficient. We used a lot of windows to bring the outside in. Since we are on a bluff facing almost due west, we have spectacular sunsets year-round but we are also exposed to heavy winds that build across hundreds of miles of fetch. We had to have special engineering and use triple-pane glass to withstand the wind. Paired with an energy-conscious lifestyle, a windmill and solar panels generate enough power to cover nearly all of our electrical energy needs.
There are a few disadvantages to living here. It’s not as carbon-friendly as I’d like because of the gas used to drive an hour to town for groceries. It’s socially isolated and a bug net is requisite for spring gardening. But there are many rewards: being immersed in nature, fall- ing asleep and waking up to the sound of wind and waves—it’s a spiritual place. And I can put my kayak in the water whenever I want.
Tammy Story, a retired nurse, and her husband live in a cliff-top home on Lake Superior. A latecomer to sea kayaking, Tammy now upstages the regulars at winter pool sessions with an array of greenland-style rolls and last summer completed her first extended trip, an eight-day odyssey on Lake Superior’s north shore.
This article first appeared in the Spring 2010 issue of Adventure Kayak Magazine as part of a feature on kayak dream homes. For more great content, subscribe to Adventure Kayak’s print and digital editions here.