Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Tip of the Keweenaw

'Hangin' out there' is a pretty fair description of Keweenaw Point. You have about 100 miles of fetch in many directions, a dragons tooth lake bottom to rile things up, and an island 2 miles off the tip to make sure that any currents funnel through nicely to pick up speed. In other words, its one of the coolest spots on the lake. The geology is fantastic with sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rock all jumbled together and I think its the only non harbor area on the lake when you can easily see two lighthouses at the same time. We were windbound there or maybe sloth bound depending on your viewpoint. A semi unanimous decision was made to do nothing, drink more coffee, and talk smart, and by the time thoughts of a move entered our heads we had some building 5 footers raking across the point out of the NNW. This gave us more time for hiking, reading, lounging, and that new spectator sport, beer can crushing. The rock wielder is none other than TheCommish, long term fall kayak trip veteran and former owner of the Worst Hat in History. Generating the cans for the sport is a large part of the fun; we did notice however that enjoyment of the actual crushing seemed to be divided along gender lines.

Another member of the party, the allegedly retired but always too busy FrugalFisherman, was happy for the days respite because loading his boat, which loaded looks remarkably like the Beverly Hillbillies truck, is kind of an all morning operation. He is nicely recovered from an ankle that he managed to break the Saturday morning of this years Canoecopia, probably to get out of paying for my parking since it was his turn this year.

The Voice of Reason, who was enjoying Nevada Barr's, A Superior Death, was quick to give me The Look when I suggested that a guy really ought to put on the tuliq and go out an play in those waves since, after all, we were windbound. RangerMark and spouse The GreenThumbChef gave the VOR their tacit agreement which served to insure that I would suit up and give it a shot. It was great fun and now I know for sure that I can roll the Ore Freighter (Aquanaut HV) in some big water.

The next morning dawned cool with light winds so off we paddled down the south shore toward Bete Grise. About the only other craft we encountered was a dive boat diving on the wreck of the Coast Guard cutter, Mesquite. Since 1844 there have been 140 shipwrecks in the Keweenaw, 40 of which have been located. The Mesquite went down in 1989 so the area can still be nasty, even in the Loran and gps age. We met up with civilization again at the Montreal River Falls, the lower part of which drops directly into the lake. This is a kind of daytrip destination for kayakers, hikers, and their ill behaved dogs. If a strange dog runs up and attempts to take your savory beer stick, you have my permission to put a size 11 in its ribs; its a dog, not a person. The stretch to the long curving sand beach at Bete Grise Bay has some fine escarpments, sea arches, stacks, and other interesting features.

Mount Bohemia ski area, one of the few areas in the Midwest where thigh deep powder is fairly common (remember those average snowfalls of 270" of lake effect up here) is literially 10 minutes away from Bete Grise bay. Wonder if I should wax up those tele skis and get ahead of the game? We landed in Bete Grise and headed off to the Red Jacket Brewpub/Michigan House where we had an excellent meal and managed to catch the house pale ale on tap. The Oatmeal stout will have to wait until next trip, I guess. Now the only questions is where to go next fall....hmmmm..........


Kristen said...

Oh, yeah. Definitely will have to get up your way soon, Olsen. And what tele skis will you be waxing this upcoming season? Or is it too early to switch from paddle talk ;)?

DaveO said...

Thats mean teasing me like that.....I can barely focus on paddling due to deer season much less throwing tele skiing into the mix ;). I ski on K2 Totally Piste on the packed stuff and have some old non parabolic Black Diamonds for backwoods play. You?