September 13, 9:40am
We've had a delicious breakfast of weak coffee (the percolator was too beat up) mixed with the last of the hot cocoa, and oatmeal. It is still windy.
We finally had the food pack up in a tree last night. I keep calling it a "bear trap" - but that's not right. The object is to keep the bear out of the food, not to trap the bear. We had a beautiful clear sky last night. I had gone to the latrine one last time before going to bed and was in awe of the fullness of the sky with stars. I've always known in my head there are many, but the sky is filled with stars! I hope to see that again!
About 10 minutes after I got back, a heavy rain came (seemingly out of nowhere) and lasted for quite some time. It is still cloudy, but not threateningly so.
We set out for Beth with some trepidation about the larger lakes, given the continued gusting of the wind. God be with us, we have Beth, Alton, and Sawbill to cross yet.
Time not noted ...
Well, we made it to Alton. Beth started out fairly calm - we were even able to get close to a loon and take a few pictures! - but it got pretty windy as we approached the portage. Still not as bad as Grace yesterday.
I still get really nervous when the wind picks up. We got onto Alton just fine. Originally we thought about camping on the island site not far from the portage from Beth, but got a little disoriented (at least, I did). I thought I knew where we were, but then I wasn't so sure. Tim couldn't hear me, and the wind was picking up. A little scared and frustrated, I was pretty getting pretty snippy. We came to the south side of a pennisula with two campsites across from the portage to Sawbill, and Tim checked it out and said it was ok. My arms were tired, so I was ready to stop.
The campsite is alright, I doubt much would compare to Ella last night, he he. The view is terrific, as some interesting clouds keep going by. I wouldn't want to stay here when it is warm though, there is a lot of standing water in the various sink-holes. Our side (south) of the two campsites seems higher and nicer. They appear over-utilized, which isn't surprising being so close to Sawbill.
Tim is working on a campfire right now. Our bear pully is stuck in a tree - oops! We'll have to go out for water at some point.
There is a rodent (mouse? gerbil?) living in the latrine here. Very weird. Maybe because people dump their uneaten food in there? Some tiny spiders got all in my long underwear at the latrine on Ella last night, and I didn't realize till we were about to leave this morning. Yuck. I'm looking forward to a shower.
There are lots of birds, at least three different kinds - one robin, and I don't know about the others. Some are soft gray and stick close to the ground. The others are flitting and seem to have yellow chests - these knock on the ground like woodpeckers.
I've been enjoying our trip, and have had fun, adventure, romance, and a little danger. Not really looking forward to too much civilization yet, but a shower is going to be amazing and very welcome.
September 14, 7:10pm
We're in Room 130 at Cove Point Lodge on Lake Superior. Tim already had this place picked out! What a wonderful surprise!
After I wrote last night, we heard and then saw geese heading south. I have fond memories of hearing them around Palacios at Thanksgiving. We really got lucky with the best parts of the onset of fall adding to our trip without some of the downsides (like surprise snowstorms).
We awoke this morning to an amazing sunrise, worth running outside in long-johns and boots to see! It felt like a birthday present from God. More loons and various other as-yet unidentified birds this morning. I'm really going to miss the call of the loons, and this special place. We'll be back often, God willing.
It has been a place for breathing, being, being challenged, and growing. We both teared up as we got ready to set off, yellow birch leaves falling around us. But winter is coming, our lives await us, and as Tim said "We can't come back to visit if we never leave."
The portages on Alton and Sawbill lakes were friendly. Alton got a little choppy - but I'm thankful because it was actually kinda fun rather than frightening. We do plan to try to find some canoe classes though.
We called our excited and happy-to-hear-from-us families and had a hearty lunch of burgers and my first piece of strawberry rhubarb pie at Betty's Pies. This, after luxurious, hot, long, soapy showers at Sawbill outfitters, and some very hot coffee that made me jittery.
Then we came back north to Gooseberry Falls (where Tim's grandparents honeymooned). I thought we were going on to Duluth, but Tim kept saying we could come back to Gooseberry if I wanted (its about 45 minutes one way!). We turned North rather than South when we left the park though, and Tim surprised me by coming here.
Its the perfect place to ease back into civilization. Lodge-style (Norwegian-lodge style!) and built for quiet, every room has a view of the lake. I'm watching a beautiful reverse-sunset as I write. We have a jacuzzi in the room (now I know why I needed a swimsuit on this trip!) and we'll have dinner and breakfast that we won't have to fix over a tiny stove. I'd like to come back here after we're married ;-)
Aaaaaaah - again, I am so blessed. I love this man so much, and he surprises me with so many heart-melting, toe-tingling bonuses. This may be one of my best birthdays yet!