Wood has been made, potential kayakers have had training, and Sand Island has been circumnavigated. Five hours of work with two splitters produced several face cords of fine mixed hardwood to get us through the winter at camp. I wonder how long we will continue to see black ash in the pile with the Emerald Ash Borer lurking across the border in the UP? Another beloved exotic to raise hell with the environment. Upon arrival at camp we discovered a non exotic species that had raised some hell with one of the cabins. Mr. Porkie had gnawed a large hole in a cabin, likely to enjoy the tasty resin or plywood glue. The camp tribunal convened at the Bar That Never Closes and immediately issued a death sentence for any porcupines found within a '40' of the camp. I always enjoy Kiwibird's blog, especially the pragmatic New Zealand attitude toward invasive species like bunnies and the NZ possum. That same pragmatic attitude exists at CampO. Around midnight the 12 gauge barked and porkie was given a burial that St Francis would have been proud of. I had been in bed for about a half hour at that point but forensic evidence discovered the next morning (an empty Padron tequila bottle, pizza remains, robust coals in the lodge fireplace) indicated a porcupine necropsy discussion which ended around 4-5am. The crew was a bit thin at 7am when the first splitter fired up but by 10am all hands were up and stacking wood. I would imagine that making wood could be the perfect prescription for tequila poisoning, illustrated in the photo below, combining the soothing roar of the splitter with some hard labor in the fresh air.
After some kayak instruction on Lake O, the VOR and I headed over to Bayfield to paddle and rendezvous with a trio of instructor candidates who were taking the ACA classes at Living Adventure in Red Cliff. Jill, ChrisE, and RonO were preparing for the exam this fall. We are long overdue for a wind free weekend and this was not it. My natural inclination to make a crossing was gently vetoed by the Voice of Reason. She not only pointed out the correct way to go around Basswood Island (if we decided to do it) given the wind direction, but also reminded me of the cursing on my part that would likely ensue once we rounded the south tip and had to head for Bayfield in the 25mph, gusting to 35mph, west wind. Another prime example of why she is the Voice of Reason. We had a lovely paddle up the coast from Bayfield, past Roy's Point, Red Cliff, and the ACA students until we reached the wreck of the Fedora. With an additional two feet sticking out of the water it was pretty impressive. Which begs the question, where did 18"- 24" of Lake Superior water go, but that was and is another post. On Memorial Day itself the wind died down to about a 15 knot easterly breeze which allowed us to do the 14 mile paddle around Sand Island. There was a full parking lot when we launched at around 10:30 but by the time we got back we were the only car. Some folks need to get back home early to kick back but our philosophy is to live the weekend, as well as life, to the fullest. This year was the lightest Memorial Day traffic I have even seen in almost 30 years of making the pilgimage north. Cool weather, a chance of rain, high gas prices, and tinder dry conditions made for a disappointing weekend for northern businesses. We were able to book a cabin for one night last Thursday at the excellent Woodside Cottages near Bayfield. Unheard of most normal years.
Keep on paddling and savor the official start of summer in the north country.