Thursday, April 30, 2009
Lakes Superior and O'Brien
Tonight, as I have for the past two decades, I'll be heading north for the 22nd Annual Bark Bay Fishing Invitational. Fishing has kind of taken a back seat to other activities over the years and this year will be no exception. My two local compadre's, RonO and the ManFromSnowyLegs are scrambling to shake loose from work obligations for the event so I'll be venturing north solo, Q Boat on the roof, for my first Gitchee Gumee paddle of the season. After being thwarted by the ice on my last attempt a month or so back, I have eyewitness reports of open water, even in the nooks and crannies of Chequamagon Bay. Since the official opening ceremonies don't begin until roughly happy hour on Friday, I will have the opportunity to choose any spot between Port Wing and Saxon Harbor to wet my hull. I will be solo since a number of the usual suspects in the area can't shake loose to play on Friday so the lake, always the boss as we well know, will determine where I will be allowed to launch. The weather forecast (I always kind of cringe when I mention that) calls for wind 5-10 knots from the west and some sprinkles. We shall see. It can be an unpredictale weather weekend as the image from last years snow paddle shows.
I also need to stop by the AINL parkoffice and check on our old buddy, the Manitou bear. We have permits for our annual May Manitou Mania, the traditional first Lake Superior spring camping trip in the islands, but this year it will be on Oak Island. Manitou was closed most of last season for camping after our May trip. Most people in the Park Service and northern Wisconsin in general, blame the KingOfIronwoodIsland for the closure. If you recall, we awoke one morning last May and Mr Bear was sitting about 20 yards away from the tent, munching ants from an anthill. GalwayGuy pulled my river knife out for self protection and the King pitched a rock at the bear. He missed of course, and the bear just gave him 'the eye'. Seriously,the problem with this boy is that he's just too friendly, almost like a dog. The trouble is he's still a bear. My buddy the BearWhisperer had an 80 pound yearling wake up when they were tagging and taking blood samples this winter. It took two guys, and these guys ain't jockey size, to subdue and tranquilize this overgrown cub. We hope the bear has reverted to his wild state over the winter but that's what I need to find out tomorrow, in hopes of switching one of the nights to the traditional Manitou site.
The weekend should also involve some rolling in freezing Lake O, close to the hot sauna, as well as a foray to Saxon Harbor to paddle some rare Lake Superior whitewater as the spring runoff pours out of the Montreal River into the lake. Meanwhile in Mora the VOR, her sister TheMayor, and other notables will be running the annual Snake River Canoe Race. the 28th annual. The water appears to be high enough this year and, like the Vasalooppet, this is a fine community event that gets people outside and exercising while they have fun at the same time. Next weekend I'm off to Vancouver to meet No1 son and celebrate his 30th birthday. In typical fashion, this event was laid on with 2 emails and a 2 minute phone conversation. The boy is not afraid to pull the trigger on this stuff with a mnimum of planning. Must be genetic. If anyone knows of any good outfitters in the Vancouver area that would offer a nice day trip paddle that isn't too far from the Granville Island brewpub, we would appreciate a 'heads up'. I do plan to walk across the street to see the Feathercraft folks this time, between pints of bitter, and am looking forward to the trip. It would appear the paddle season is on full bore in the northland.