Saturday, October 18, 2008

Sheryl and Bonnie's Trip, Part 1

Daughter Shawn and I spent last weekend in Minneapolis. We exhibited at a bridal show in the convention center. It is a great way to make contact with people looking for a honeymoon location or a wedding spot. Here is a picture of our booth there.
We talked out heads off and hope to get a few folks to spend some time with us next year. There were even a few parents who were looking for a place to get away after the wedding.

This weekend Bruce is off to New York taking Grandson Tanner to visit colleges. They will visit 4 different schools over the weekend. As of last night (Friday), two were good and one was a dud. The dud looked good on line so I guess that is why you try to visit the actual school. It will be fun to see where he ends up next year.

One night we went down to town for dinner with friends who own one of the bigger resorts on the North Shore. It was interesting to note that they had been so short of help this fall that the wife and all managers were making beds on some days. Here I thought that just happened at Gunflint!

We also made an unexpected purchase. Sometimes things just appear that you have wanted but never found at a good price. We bought a 24-foot voyageur canoe for use in the naturalist program. I think it will be great fun for groups to take out on the lake.

The rest of this blog is devoted to the first installment of Bonnie and Sheryl’s trip. This starts on the first day of their trip and I am just going to let Sheryl tell the story:

Whoa! What the heck is that up ahead? Well, it looks a little like white caps. Where did that wind come from all of a sudden? Why is the wind coming from the west and the south at the same time. No singing the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, it’s too early in the trip. Okay, let’s pull over and look at how we’re going to get across this crazy mess. Realize now that we are traveling north to south across a very wide part of Pickerel Lake. If you’ve been on Gunflint Lake on a windy day you’ll understand, and know this was way worse (or better if you’re the whitecap!) Pickerel Lake is 17 miles long from east to west, the wind is from the south and the west and we’re trying to head south. The map shows a small island that possibly a feather could hide behind, that’s a couple hundred yards, then a slightly larger island called Lookout Island, then two islands that look like mismatched earlobes. Later I would think this was my brain that had finally separated! We make it to each of these islands, paddling hard, sometimes on the same side of the canoe which is not normally recommended, and finally get in a somewhat sheltered area between these two lobes since the map DISTINCTLY shows navigable water between them. Guess what…nice white sandy beach, some old moose poop and then a big swamp. This is the first map error we make notes about. So we paddle back out into the crazy lake and make our way around this island, definitely do NOT want to camp yet, its only noon! We make our way toward a campsite and notice some guys fishing, they’re in Canadian canoes (no licenses displayed), and paddle on toward the site. There are two canoes, two more guys, looks like they’re packing up camp. Just as we round the bend we notice lots of bare skin on two more guys!!! I will admit, it was plenty warm to be sunbathing and I sure hope they used sunscreen on the more tender areas they had exposed. Polarized sunglasses must not work on naked men, I checked with and without the glasses on and there was no difference. We kept on going, Bonnie lost her first hat to the wind and it sunk immediately. It was her favorite hat! We finally made it to a narrow spit of land where there was some current pushing us back the way we came. There was also a campsite so we decided to pull over and wait out the wind. It was 1:04 pm and we really wanted to be off this lake. Our map showed only about 2 more miles to our first portage to Bisk Lake and we were definitely getting there for sure! You know how it is when the adrenaline is pumping and you just want to keep moving? We ate lunch, walked around the campsite, looked at the pretty rocks in the water, marveled at the white caps pounding onto shore, tried napping, studied the maps both upside down and right side up, walked barefoot in the sand, chased some squirrels…It’s about 2:00 now and I’m getting antsy. Bonnie can somehow manage to nap. While I’m up by the fire grate chasing squirrels, I notice through the trees some canoes coming our way. We’re prepared to give up the site since we have no intention of staying here tonight. As the canoes approach I recognize the insignia on the boat, and I recognize the paddlers as the same guys from the last campsite. Wouldn’t you know it, they’re still naked! These guys rented their canoes from an Ely store that sells outdoor gear, apparel, rents canoes, and is located on a corner on Main Street. I won’t mention the name in case they don’t allow naked canoeing in their rental boats. I hid in the trees, but managed to take a few photos for posterity (no pun intended). Finally at 2:45 we decide to get moving, sink or swim is our motto!

Here is the picture that Sheryl took.
I am not sure if it will be censored or not. Next week I will give you another installment from their trip.