Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Up North

Yep … been a bad blogger over the Autumn, Winter, and Spring, but I am gearing for more frequent, but irregular postings.  The irregularity will be down to whether I have an Internet connection at any particular time.  If my experience of the Lake Superior North Shore (see this and the next few blog posts), is an indication, irregular will be the operative word. I will also include intermittent posts about my Autumn in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, and my time in England.  And so to the first of the posts from my recent trip Up North

Moon through Jack pine

And so after a Winter off in England, and the Upper Great Lakes, my silence is broken, as I head "Up North," as we say here in Minnesota ... State of my birth.  Heading “Up North,” usually means heading for the Northwoods, and for many, the Lake Superior shore and the Arrowhead region, so called for the shape of the northeast region of Minnesota north of Duluth.  My formative years were spent not far from here a few miles southeast of Duluth in Lake Nebagamon, Wisconsin, amongst the birch & pine & lakes thereabouts, and with the famous Brule River close by.  In the years I lived in England, when I came home to Minnesota, we would invariably head Up North at least once, if not more, during my visits.  I love it as you head up I-35, from the Twin Cities towards Duluth, and by the time you have gone but sixty or seventy miles on your way, the open farm fields with clumps of trees gives way to forest with the odd field cut out of them … the beginnings of the Northwoods … and when the first paper birches appear and you know you are approaching those familiar forests of your youth.  Once you crest the hill and the Twin Ports of Duluth, Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin with beyond the shining blue waters of Kitchi-gami (Lake Superior), are arrayed below you, memories of long ago (and every visit since), flood the soul.  This is the land of Whitefish & Sturgeon; of Lake Trout, & Muskie, & Northern Pike, and Walleyes; of Whitetail Deer & Moose; of the Bear & the Wolf (incidentally, Minnesota never lost its Wolf population). 

And so it was that earlier today, I drove along the shores of Kitchi-gami, earlier today, and turning left on Hwy 1 to Finland, MN, and then onto County Road 7, and on into the forest for 25 miles, I came to the primitive campground at Harriet Lake after sundown, as the last fishermen were pulling out, and I took one of the five or six widely dispersed sites ... and am the only one in residence.  A beaver was paddling to its home below my camp, and the Loons (the Minnesota State bird) were calling, and the unofficial State bird (the mosquito), also came out to greet me, but my Permethrin impregnated clothing, and a bit of Deet, pretty much kept them at bay.  I ate a light supper and, as I was supping my after-dinner camp coffee, I watched the light-show of distant lightning, far to the west, even though the Moon & Stars shone through high cirrus cloud above.  I tried to capture the display on camera, but no success ... too far ... too dim ... but I did get a photo of sorts of the Moon, shining through the branches of a Jack Pine.  And so to bed at 2:05 AM, with the sound of night birds, and the Loons, and with the light-show still going on after three hours, and still no closer ... it never did arrive.

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