Thursday, November 30, 2006

Remembering a Fall Canoe Trip

At the beginning of October Andy and I set out with our good friends Dave and Nancy to explore the footprint of the Cavity Lake Fire.

We had a wonderful time. These are still the woods that we love. When the 1999 wind storm occurred, we were afraid the woods would never be the same. We were right. The thing about the wilderness is that it NEVER is exactly the same.
I believe this blowdown area photo was taken in one of the Kek ponds.

We visited many lakes that were touched by the fire, but the impact was minimal. In this photo taken on Little Sag, it is hard to make out the burned areas, the brown fall colors, and the green areas. The fire was like a mosaic on Little Sag---some of the northern shoreline was affected, most of the lake was not.

There were a few lakes—Peter, Jasper, Paulson (Jap) that were burned. Initially we quietly mourned the loss of the trees on these favorite lakes. As we explored, we found ourselves amazed at the ability of nature to recreate itself---it truly felt like spring -even in October. Some of these areas are likely to be closed for camping next year—we won’t know until further evaluation in the Spring. Definitely a sense of renewal and rebirth.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Skating on Round Lake

Yesterday Andy and I did a "test skate" on Round Lake. We knew our ice rink was safe and thick--the rest of the lake looked like a polished black mirror. So we put on life jackets and brought out the auger and headed out. We knew the spot near the middle that was open water about 10 days ago, so we eventually drilled there. The ice was 3 inches thick out there, which is not safe according to the DNR. It was enough to hold Andy and me and Denali the dog as we peered in the hole, but not safe enough to send our kids out---- So Andy and I skated around the entire shoreline---beautiful. And when the kids and their overnight friends came home, we set some boundaries---where we knew the ice was at least 4 inches thick. Still they had a huge romping time on the clear black ice. When we were coming inside, our 3rd grade friend Will said his face felt wet.....apparently the cold fun enabled him to ignore the gash on his chin. Upon further examination, we realized that he would probably need stitches. Will never lost his sense of humor as he said goodbye to the other kids: "I'm gone with the wound." While it is a long way from Tuscarora to the Emergency Room, when we got there Dr. Nancy was waiting for us, Will had 3 stitches and we were home within 3 hours of leaving. Will was a trooper, and I was glad for such personalized service -and thankful that we live in a place where people know me, and Will, and even that his parents were in Duluth for his dad's knee surgery. That makes for one smooth friendly mini-emergency. The kids are hoping that today's rain won't ruin the black icy playground!