Tuesday, July 20, 2010

July 4, Day 6 of the Upper Peninsula Trip

Sunday, July 4, 2010, Lake Superior and Presque Isle River

Another camp-breaking day. Because it was Sunday, Keith made bacon
and eggs for us while Mary started the camp-breaking process. Keith
called Mary over--a juvenile deer mouse was crouched inside the
Coleman stove. Before it escaped through a hole in the bottom, we
both took pictures of it. Keith's breakfast was delicious, camp got
broken and packed up, and we were on our way after a health delay,
around 11:35 or so.

It was cloudy and a bit threatening when we first got up, but has
since cleared, though it's a little hazy. Blue sky, sunshine and not
too hot (yet).

As usual, Keith is driving and Mary is recording the morning's events
on iOla the iPad. Keith is doing a running commentary about the
drivers around us, the one riding his brakes and the one driving
absurdly slow etc. We just passed Hog Island state campground, where
we camped last time we were here and where Mary camped the year and
time she met Keith. Mary thinks about her unfinished novel, mystery
at Little Hog Island.

The scenery here is gorgeous, long beaches, curving bays, whitecaps
rolling in, spires of balsams. The traffic is steady at about 60, 65,
and fairly thick. We keep passing the slow ones at the passing lanes,
but since there's so much traffic, you can't get ahead. It's sort of
like the Adirondacks, only the roads are much straighter. And no
mountains, or course, not for many miles yet. We'll be turning inland
soon, no more lake views for a while.

No more views of Michigan or Superior, that is! There are lots of
other lakes, some of which are quite large.

We drove and drove and drove and drove, twisty backcountry roads and
lots of turns needing navigational attention. We were looking for a
place to picnic and pee. Finally stopped and peed and got gas at a
Mobil station.

Then, it clouded up and started raining. When at last, we found a
roadside park overlooking Lake Michigamme, it was raining too hard to
eat outside. We desperately wanted to stretch our legs. But we sat in
the car and ate our lunch. When we had nearly finished, it stopped
raining. Mary took a couple of pix of the view, one with Keith in it,
and we headed off down the highway toward L'Anse and Ontonogon and
points beyond. Now that we are on the road with food in our bellies,
it's barely drizzling.

Keith is driving again (he's done all the driving so far, although
Mary reminds him occasionally that she IS WILLING to drive) and Mary
has been reading two of her birthday books, Wesley the Owl and Winter
Morning Walks, by Ted Kooser. Wesley the owl is cute and funny so far
and causes some out loud chuckling and chortling. Winter Walks is
evocative and haunting. Mary guesses that Keith will also enjoy
reading Wesley the Owl.
We keep passing places we'd love to explore, but since this is a
long-hop day, and we will get to the Porcupines late and have to set
up camp, make dinner and hopefully walk, we aren't stopping to
explore. And it is raining off and on, sometimes hard.

On the way into the Presque Isle campground (it's a LONG ways in!!!),
we saw two does, each with two spindly-legged fawns. With spots.

Mary is sitting not too far from the fire as Keith makes dinner. It
is damp, been raining off and on all day. Keith split the wood and
built the fire while Mary cut the veggies--we tossed in some salmon.
We're almost out of food and the little hick-town stores up here were
all closed today.

We got camp set up, walked down the stairs to Lake Superior, and
around the corner to the Presque Isle River and the island K wondered
if it might be Presque Isle. On our walk, we saw lots of crayfish
claws and shells, lots of pretty rocks (rounded cobbles of various
sizes, colors and patterns, a goose eating seeds off the end of tall
grasses (it had an injured foot), lupines (in flower), the white,
woodland oxalis in flower, flowering raspberry with white flowers and
not quite ripe fruit. We saw the river gorge with its small falls and
rapids, its brown water and potholes, and its swinging footbridge.
And of course, we took pictures, though toward the end, it was getting
pretty dark. Mary was wearing shorts and sandals (keens) and the
stable flies were biting her feet and ankles. In the woods, there
were mosquitoes, but not too many.

We are in campsite 20, two campsites down from where we were last time
we were here. The whole campground area is open and park like, but we
are in the edge of the woods and have a little bit more space and
privacy than the people in the middle. There were no places left
along the shore of lake Superior when we got here. This site is
large. It is surrounded on three sides by a park-like climax or near
climax forest of tall sugar maples with a dew other species mixed in.
As it is getting dark, different sets of birds are calling. I also
think we heard some grey tree frogs high in the trees. Keith is
reading and Mary is heating water to wash dishes. (K put the water on
the fire and Mary is watching it, washing the dishes, and battening

Mary has just had one of her horrible, almost unbearable pain
episodes. It has subsided only slightly, and is still wretchedly
stabbingly burningly painful. Meanwhile, mosquitoes are humming and
the sun is pouring honey gold light over Lake Superior. Mary got
Keith out of his chair and we are standing together watching the
sunset over the water. It's the best sunset we've seen this trip,
spectacularly colorful and pretty. We talk to some of the other
campers. We take several pictures. The sun sets and people leave,
but of course, the best and most flamboyant colors come after the
sunset, as usual.

Mary is wearing shorts and sandals. The stable flies are biting and
biting and biting her ankles. That, combined with her pain, sends her
back to camp to change her clothes. But when she can't find her
socks, she sits in the tent. Keith returns to have "dessert," beer
and potato chips. He sits out in the dark crunching and slurping.
Mary's stomach growls and she feels sad. :-(

One of the people we were talking to was what Keith called the genuine
"Yooper" article. He spoke slowly and with a cadence and said, "eh?"
at the end of every third sentence of so.

Mary had a worse pain day, though it started better in the early AM.

The first two pictures are from the lake where we stopped for lunch and it was raining too hard to sit at a picnic table so we ate in the car. The lake was pretty. For some reason, the pictures look washed out. They looked better than this before I chose to mail them. :-(

See two more pictures from July 4.

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