Archive for the 'hiking' Category

Let’s Get Off the Internet and Get Going

Monday, May 1st, 2006

“Well, Beaver Creek is not very far away. Let’s go sooner than later,” she says as she sits like a big ugly slug in front of her computer. grok grok

Fire, Skunk Cabbage & Other Crazy UP Adventures

Sunday, April 16th, 2006

A beautiful day of serendipity in which:

  • The Grinch, yeah, that’s the same one who stole Christmas, banishes the Easter Bunny to an ice berg in Lake Superior and raucously insinuates himself into our Easter brunch.
  • grok grok grok. Do NOT forget about the Easter Frog! frok grook
  • Jane, Radical Betty, and I discover a grass fire between the Curley Lewis Highway and the adjacent beach near Salt Point. Lacking drywall buckets, we quickly alert the folks at the nearby fish hatchery who tell us that help is on the way and various emergency vee-hickles soon arrive to put it out. You guys, putcher cigarettes out in your vee-hickle ashtrays please.
  • The rule of thumb is that if the water and air temperature do not add up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, a wet suit is necessary for kayaking. We do not have wet suits.
  • We discover that it is a good season for Skunk Cabbage in the swampier areas of the North Country Trail near Naomikong Point.
  • With *much* discussion and the help of bird field guides old and new, we ascertain (we think) that the big white bird we saw out in the lake at Naomikong was a Tundra Swan. Known in the 1947 field guide as a Whistling Swan.
  • We discover with great glee that there is now an outhouse at Naomikong Point and use it five times between the three of us.
  • We discover the means by which Harry locks his shed.
  • Jane, Grinch, Radical Betty and I ring in the summer season with G & Ts while watching ice floes in the bay and lake freighters inch their way up into Whitefish Bay.

Need a Life, Not a Boyfriend

Tuesday, April 11th, 2006

<keereistgimmeabreakalready>I was walking across the N. Maple/Miller intersection and, of all things, I heard a loud electronic wolf whistle. There were no other pedestrians around and my first thought was that it had something to do with the GG being ridiculous. Except that, as weird as he can be, he is too wrapped up in data and spreadsheets and computers and laboratory instruments to be bothered to obtain an electronic wolf whistle and use it to go out and harass women. I think. Anyway, I ignored it, thinking somebody had just activated it by accident. But then, after I got across the street, I heard it again. I did not even *want* to look at whatever ugly, perverted old man was eye-balling the likes of me. Or maybe some little boys were just getting their jollies by toying with an old bag. Whatever. I do not know who it was. I just kept on walking. Guys, I do not know what is going on lately but can we talk? I am 52 years old. I have had two children. I am not cute. I am looking for a life, not a boyfriend. grok grok grok. Yeah, and she doesn’t cook or clean and last week she tried to use me as a Kleenex. grok grok. Froggy! Into your laundry basket! Now!</keereistgimmeabreakalready>

Mission and Adventure

Sunday, April 9th, 2006

A mission accomplished and another adventure at the Mason Tract.

Also: Progress at the New Luxurious Courtois Cabin continues and now the garage is drywalled and has some fancy new windows and doors. It is beautiful! However, being as accustomed as I am to crappy, moldy, dusty old dwellings, I can’t help but get a little nostalgic for the old days.

The last time my brother the engineer visited the Courtois Cabin (it was the moldy old one), he pronounced the garage to be an engineer’s dream. Over the years, it housed boats and snowmobiles and lawnmowers and engines and more engines and gas tanks and tools and all kinds of little valuable pieces of flotsam and jetsam and cosmic debris. Grandpa Garth was in his element keeping old motors going and managing all of that stuff, inventing new tools when the need arose. He told me one time that at any given moment, he couldn’t find 10% of his stuff, an everchanging 10%.

Once, we spent a whole weekend tinkering with one of the lawnmowers. We? Some of y’all are thinking, “hey, Evil Blahg Lady, you do not know the first thing about motors!” Well, maybe not, but I had a very important role in that particular project. The weather pattern that weekend was a persistent intermittent drizzle. It would drizzle for a while and then it would stop for a while and then it would drizzle for a while again. And stop. Repeat ad nauseam. My job was to help The Gumper lift the lawnmower up onto the picnic table every time it stopped raining and then help him lift it down when it started again. After about ten rounds of that I got pretty bored and I finally said that a “$100-an-hour guy” like him could just go out and buy a *new* lawnmower and then he’d have time to do something more fun. He thought about that for a minute and finally he said, with a little twinkle in his eye, “I could go fishing.” He enjoyed fishing a lot but I’m not sure it ranked above tinkering with old motors.

Another time, I pulled the POC into the yard at Houghton Lake and The Gumper was waiting for me by the garage. “This is yours!” he said, proudly pointing to a used refrigerator in the garage. Say what? For a fraction of a second I was on the verge of feeling a little insulted. Relegated to using an old refrigerator in the garage? Indeed! But almost immediately, I realized that this was a *good* thing. Visitors to the cabin, including us, had a habit of leaving food behind when they returned home and random leftovers were always hard for Grandpa to deal with. I sort of understood why then and I definitely understand why now that my own beloved children come home and sometimes leave me with food. An additional refrigerator provided more space, helped keep the food separate and, for some odd reason, I kind of enjoyed walking out to the garage to use the refrigerator. I dunno, maybe it reminded me of the *really* old days of outhouses on the shores of Gitchee Gumee.

Ranking up there among the best times I have ever spent at Houghton Lake is the night the GG and I watched the spider. I think Grandpa was dead by then. It was a warm kind of drizzly night and there was a spider spinning a web in the door of the garage. We stood there by the open garage door, with all of the cosmic debris behind us, for hours, listening to Prairie Home Companion and other Saturday night radio, sipping a little bourbon now and then and watching that spider. Yeah, I know, sometimes it doesn’t take much, does it?

Anyway, this is what the garage looks like now. It is beautiful and “my” refrigerator is still there 🙂

Lost in the Swamp

Saturday, April 8th, 2006

Okay, ol’ man, wherever you are, just go ahead and gnoff. I don’t care and you deserve a good gnoff after all the horrible crap you went through.

I really, really, really needed to go for a hike in the north woods this weekend. So, we are here at Houghton Lake and today, the Twinz of Terror and Liz (sister-in-law, not any of those others) and Randy and I went up to the Mason Tract to hike along the South Branch of the Au Sable River. It was a gorgeous day for hiking, cold but not a cloud in the sky. No bugs except for one early member of a non-threatening species of lepidoptera. The river was high and fast and sparkling.

We parked our vee-hickles at the trail head, marker 13, at Chase Bridge. The original plan was to walk in to trail marker 9 and then turn around and walk back out. That would be 8.6 miles. But when we got as far as marker 10, Liz realized she had lost her glasses (bad thing, and they were not found!), so she and Randy turned around then to try and find them. The rest of us decided that the GG would also turn around and help look for the glasses and then continue on back to the trail head and get the car. Bob and I would continue on hiking up to marker 3, where the GG would pick us up.

When we got to marker 9, instead of going left, away from the river, which is where the trail went, we went right. Until the trail petered out. Instead of being smart and walking back to marker 9 and figuring out where the correct trail was, we decided to cut across country and connect back up to it. Smart idea, right? Swamp? No way, not here in the north woods. Oh, c’mon, Yooper Woman, you know better than that. Wrong. Bob kept saying cheerful things like, “this looks like a trail” (uh, not) and “this is where you find people like Jimmy Hoffa.” Were we wet? I know *I* was, with my velcro sandals and polartech socks! Scratched up and bloody, too. Eventually, we managed to locate the trail again and, when we looked at the map on the next trail marker, we realized that we had probably slogged and floundered along through the quagmire for a mile or maybe more, given that our path was not exactly straight.

Jack was a great hiker who knew his way around the woods and how to *not* get lost, so I’m sure that our little adventure gave him a good gnoff. When we all finally got connected back up again at the trail head, we headed off to Jack’s Place. Yes, there really is a barroom with that name in Roscommon County. I wish we had remembered to get a picture. We had a little snort in Jack’s honor and then we sang a rousing, almost tuneful round of the theme song from Gilligan’s Island. No, the singing didn’t have anything to do with Jack. I really don’t quite know how that got started or why we were doing it. But it was fun and even though I wasn’t drunk, I sang with gusto anyway. I actually knew most of the words.

Walking in Thunderstorms

Monday, March 13th, 2006

Well, I walk three miles or thereabouts *every* morning and again in the late afternoon. A few years ago I used to say that one walk was for teenagers and the other was for men. Men and teenagers, sheesh! But really I am just a plain old addict. Without arthritis, thank you very much. There are very, very few weather conditions I do not walk in. I can do from about -15 up to around 100 Fahrenheit, although I am pretty much a bedraggled mess anywhere above 95. Hey, youse guys, I am half yooper, ya know, eh? I do rain, snow, and wind. I do ice up to a point. If I can’t maintain my footing on about a 2 degree incline, I call it quits. Yes, it *has* been that icy around here and it just isn’t worth it. Free fall is only fun in space. Uh, like I would *know* that 😉 One thing I definitely do not do is lightning! Lightning is just too weird and unpredictable. I was standing in my kitchen one time on a nice, warm, quietly rainy afternoon when suddenly, KABOOM! Lightning exploded a tree in the woods behind my house. Out of nowhere. No big front moving through. Nothing. There isn’t any lightning right this exact minute but there have been thunderstorms half the night and it is raining cats and dogs and there is a 70% chance of more storms this morning. Plus there is a tornado watch. I *really* need to walk right now but think I will just have to take a pass today. And to think, just over a week ago, I was at Houghton Lake and it was so cold, I had to wear every blasted item of winter clothing I possess to take my morning walk. Yes, including snowpants. It is March and this is Michigan. Anything goes.