Pilgrim Paddles advocates fun, skillful, efficient, and safe paddling. We offer certified paddling instruction in canoe, kayak, and standup paddleboard (SUP) as well as paddling tours and trips in the Rochester area and beyond. We love small groups and training for those leading youth groups. All of our employees are certified by appropriate organizations.
Jeff Pilgrim is the Navigator for Pilgrim Paddles LLC. Jeff first canoed in a 15’ Grumman in 1967. As part of the Penn State Outing Club (PSOC) he raced in whitewater kayak and canoe slalom, ran downriver races, and instructed beginning paddlers. His first sea kayak paddle was in 1975. He has a bachelor's degree in Forest Science from Penn State, and if he can't identify a tree or shrub by family, genus, and species in Latin, he'll gladly make it up. He minored in Watershed Management and spent many years pretending to be a software engineer.
Jeff guided in Maine for the BSA, trained camp staff and served as the Aquatics Chair for Gamehaven Scouting of SE MN, and teaches BSA Paddle Craft Safety. Some claim he’s been certifiable for years, but only by the American Canoe Association since 2005. Jeff paddled many rivers and led numerous trips from Virginia to Maine before moving to Minnesota in 1992. Since then he's paddled on the North Sea, the Arctic Ocean, and many places in between. He has also built and outfitted about 125 kayaks and canoes.
Jeff is ACA certified to teach canoe, kayak and SUP, and holds Coastal Kayak Trip Leader and Adaptive Paddling endorsements. He’s been a safety boater for Midwest paddling events such as the Two Harbors Sea Kayak Festival and Quarry Hill's Fall Festival, instructed at Rapids Riders CanoeU, and for Rochester and Hastings Community Education, and is current in First Aid and CPR.
Baxter Pilgrim is sorely missed as the Supervisor of Operations for Pilgrim Paddles. She is registered by Paws and Claws and with Olmsted County. She has paddled, run, and swum many midwest rivers and has her own fan club and facebook page. Her favorite vessel is a standup paddleboard but she also enjoys the stern of a solo canoe. Her first weeklong trip was Quetico in 2005. In October 2017 on Brule Lake she finally laid down in a canoe. She is disguised as a retriever but she's really more of a relocator. Baxter especially enjoys eating or rolling in anything you'd rather she didn't.
Some trips of at least a week in duration:
Maine: Allagash, Penobscot West and East Branches (including Webster Brook), Aroostook, St John Rivers
Minnesota: Boundary Waters Canoe Area
Wisconsin: Apostle Islands
Texas: Rio Grande River Lower Canyons
Manitoba and Ontario: Quetico, Wabakimi, Woodland Caribou Parks, Bloodvein River
Nunavut: Dubawnt River, Arrowsmith River.
Sweden: North Sea and Skaggerak Strait.