Monday, August 31, 2009

The lake from above

Last weekend the VoiceOfReason's youngest brother, BeepBeep, was married on the shores of, you guessed it, Lake Superior. Even though he and his bride are from Colorado he was drawn back to Gitchee Gumee like so many of us are. The wedding was at the top of Moose Mountain at the Lutsen ski resort on the north shore of Minnesota. It was a first for many because we had to travel to the wedding and reception via four person gondola cars rather than the usual modes of transportation. It was also the first time in a long time that we kayakers had viewed the lake from a vantage point high above it rather than having our butts in our kayak seats, watching from 36" above its surface.

It was a very nice outdoor wedding and the weather cooperated quite nicely despite the forecast. The 30 knot north winds with the accompanying 6-8'waves and scattered showers didn't quite materialize and we actually got a paddle in before the ceremony at Grand Marais on Saturday morning. My paddling companion was JeremiahJohnstone, who had taken a break from chopping down invasive species in Canyon de Chelly National Monument to watch her brother get hitched. As I mentioned, we had some swells, chop, and maybe a 2 footer now and then but surfing the 6-8 footers was not in the cards Saturday morning. It was that on the water perspective that made looking at the same location from the lodge on top of Moose Mountain all that much more impressive.

We all took the gondola up to the top of the mountain, four at a time, and the wedding went off without a hitch. The skies even cooperated by clearing nicely at the end of the ceremony to coincide with the Beatles Here Comes the Sun playing on the sound system. Good food, an adult beverage or three, and some fine dance tunes made for a great night. The skies had cleared and the half moon rose over Lake Superior and at any one time there were a dozen people out on the deck gazing at the lake. At one point in the evening I was grabbed by TheMayor, who I believe had talked to everyone at the wedding at least 5 times by then. She dragged me out to the deck and told a couple from Kansas City, "This guy can tell you what those lights are" and headed back to the dance floor. I had my little 6x monocular in the camera bag and I'll be damned if we couldn't see the Devils and Outer Island lights from our vantage point, roughly 45 miles away. The red light on Devils is unmistakable. We could also see Grand Marais harbor, the little populated point, in the image at the top of the page.

On the way home we continued our elevated view of the lake theme and drove up to Palisade Head. From there we could see a number of the Apostles but other than Oak, the unique shape of Bear, and Sand it was tough to tell which was which. Next time I'll be smart enough to bring map and compass so we can take some bearings. This trip we were content to just 'hit the high points' on Lake Superior and next weekend will have our butts back in the water at lake level.

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