Thursday, July 7, 2011

We Got Some Wild Wild Life

[All apologies to the Talking Heads...]

Took a trip to the cottage for the Fourth of July weekend (which for us ended on Wednesday night, when we rolled into our driveway at 9pm). Sadly, no pics are available because the digital camera had a dead battery and I forgot the charger. Since it's a Sony Cybershot, and Sony's design is completely ass-backwards, the camera cannot be charged via the USB that connects it to the computer. Our 35mm Canon came along, but as Hubby was appalled at the cost to develop a single roll of film (over $10), he refused to get a CD (a $2 upcharge) and we had 4 rolls...taken on one day.

The cottage is in far northern Wisconsin, a little over an hour from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (which frankly should just be part of Wisconsin, but what do I know). Hubby planned a surprise trip to the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness Area, and we spent all day Sunday hiking the various trails. My shins are still recovering.

What made it so special was that it was like a mini-honeymoon for us.

On June 23, we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. Our original honeymoon was a two-week drive through Minnesota, the Dakotas, the northeast corner of Wyoming (Devil's Tower), and Montana, and it was awesome. We wanted to do something similar for our 10th, but with two kids under 10, it didn't seem like it would work very well (though they are OK for the 225 mile trip to the cottage, I doubt either of them would endure the 14-hour drives we took to get to the various destinations on the original trip). The other issue is one of money--we don't have any to spare this year, and gas and hotels cost money.

So Hubby came up with idea that we'd go to the nearest mountains, which happened to be in the UP. Added bonus were the Union copper mines (we'd spent 3 days in the Black Hills, where there are abandoned exploratory gold mines all over the place).  We hiked up to Lake of the Clouds, and drove to various sites along the south Boundary Road of the wilderness area. We climbed the tower at Summit Peak, which overlooks Lake Superior. It was a really great day--14 hours of just the two of us. And no bears. A few weeks from now, when the blackberries are ripe, that area is bear-tastic.

Wildlife on our lake this year has become more diverse. In addition to the pair of eagles (and their year-old progeny), the great blue herons (who keep pooping on our raft), the pair of loons (and their loonlets--so cute), the mallard family, belted kingfishers, veeries, and thrushes, we have two new species. A pair of common mergansers and a pair of broad-winged hawks have taken up residence:

A muskrat has also made a burrow nearby. Our dock seems to be its favorite place to dismember crappie and bluegill, to judge by the number of fish heads and bones I had to keep cleaning off the beach and dock. We watched it climb up onto the ladder on the raft daily to eat plants (no pics, sadly). Both Things got a big kick out of watching it swim around.

I am so grateful that we have a place like this to retreat from the world. No internet access, no TV, spotty cell service. It's wonderful. Tony's parents bought the land in the summer of 1977, and built the cottage the following year. It's been added on to (now 2 bedrooms!) and his parents have been updating things over the last few years, and all I can say is that we are a very lucky family to have such a marvelous place.

The view from the deck
Poems are coming out of this trip. My soul feels restored, and I'm going to do my best to try to keep it that way.

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