Summer’s Last Gasps

Northwoods Journal

Friday, August 30 – Sunday, September 1

Labor Day weekend in the northwoods is always a bit depressing for me.  Summer’s breath is faint upon my cheek.  It is fading away quickly now.  The ferns are already yellow and brown, curling up upon themselves, ready to return to earth from whence they came.  The color is draining from the wildflowers, leaving them a mere shadow of their former selves.  The sumac is turning red and the aspens are already showing a glow of yellow.  Fall is quickly approaching the northwoods.

Fall-like fern

Fall-like fern

I don’t normally combine days in my Northwoods Journal, but the truth is for the first few days of our Labor Day holiday, there isn’t a lot to write about.  The weather was not cooperative.  Friday was very warm with heavy downpours and thunderstorms.  We went out to garage sales for the first two thirds of the day, making our way from Atlanta to Lewiston, but the weather put a big damper on things.  When we returned to the cabin we took the dogs for a short walk, just down our road to Voyer Lake (where we saw a loon and a couple of boats of fishermen).  The air was thick enough to eat with a spoon.

Saturday was pretty much a repeat of Friday without the downpours.  More garage saling over to Lewiston again.  I started getting pretty grumpy because I can handle only so much of looking at other people’s junk and then I start getting testy.  But Mark’s always sure the next great treasure is hidden just around the bend at the next sale!  We didn’t return to our place until after 2 – so no lunch for us two days in a row, maybe that’s one reason for my grumpiness!  (That and the weather!)  We took the dogs for a hike later in the afternoon – the sun did finally come out around 4 o’clock.  Because of all the ATV’s, Mark drove up to Tripp Rd. to find a trail, hoping to get away from some of the 4-wheelers and motorcycles, but that trick didn’t work.  Three of them came right to the place where he parked.  We saw a northern ribbon snake in the road but I didn’t get to stop for a photo.  I don’t know why I walked around with that camera clanking around my neck all weekend, I barely got to use it!  Saw lots of flickers and blue jays and a deer.  We hiked the access road that goes to two gas fields between Tripp Rd. and Voyer Lake, which is a really pretty walk but less than 1 1/2 miles total, so on the way back to the cabin we stopped in a clear-cut area along Voyer Lake and walked another trail, just to feel like we actually got some exercise, and to be sure we wore out the dogs.

Mark made a campfire and roasted our dinner over the fire, then we ate on the deck.  We sat around the fire until dark.  We’ve had a small amount of bird activity, mostly the hairy woodpecker and a big gang of blue jays that clear out the peanuts several times a day.  We’ve also had two chipmunks and two black squirrels chasing each other around and driving the dogs crazy!  Heard plenty of owls calling in the night.

Hairy woodpecker

Hairy woodpecker

Sunday we woke up to more gloom, it went from hot and humid to cool and humid.  Mid-morning we took the dogs for their hike – we decided to just go up the trails behind the cabin across the road.  Since that trail is rather short, I got the bright idea to cut across the ridge at the top of the hill and then come back down farther down the road.  As we struck off cross country, Milo and I must have disturbed some sort of ground wasp/hornet/bee nest.  I heard the buzzing and looked down to make sure Milo wasn’t getting stung (I don’t have bee issues) and next thing you know one had crawled up into my hair and stung me on the back of my head!  When I reached my hand up to pull it out of my hair, it latched onto my hand and stung me again in the finger!  Thankfully I am not allergic to bee stings but oh man, my head was on fire from the back of my neck to my forehead!  So we fumbled our way back down the ridge and back to the cabin to put some ice on my head, which didn’t really help anything.  My head continued to burn for the rest of the day and into the night!

Friends of ours had invited us to go for a ride in their motor boat, so we met them early in the afternoon and headed back over to Lewiston to put in on West Twin Lake.  A boat ride was just what I needed to get my mind off my bee stings!  The sky was still fairly dark and looking like a storm any minute, but we put in anyway and enjoyed a nice ride around the lake.  We saw loons and cormorants and lots of gulls.  I could not get a picture with my camera, but did manage a couple with my phone – just of the lake.

Cruising West Twin Lake.

Cruising West Twin Lake.

Sometimes we went fast, sometimes we just puttered around and looked at all the “cabins” that line the shore – some of them are quite grand!  We had plenty of discussion about “how the other half lives” lol and what it would be like to have that kind of money!  The sun did come out for a short while around 4 o’clock.

It was after 5 when we pulled off the lake, and after 6 when we got home.  Thunder was rumbling and it looked like another storm was on the way.  Mark cooked us dinner on the Coleman stove and after we ate we drove the dogs up Stevens Spring to the big ATV trail crossing.  It was spitting rain and thunder rolled in the distance, but the beagles will hike in any kind of weather!  I wasn’t feeling very well and every step was an effort.  At one point I thought I could crawl into the ferns and fall asleep!  So, we didn’t hike very long.  We didn’t see anything spectacular – well, except for a faint rainbow – and later as we drove around the sun broke through the storm clouds and everything was bathed in this ethereal orange glow.

I don’t know if it was a residual effect from the bee stings or the time we spent out on the lake, but I was so exhausted that after we returned to the cabin it was all I could do to help wash up the dishes before falling asleep on the couch!

Our real northwoods adventures would start tomorrow.  That will get a post of its own, so stay tuned!

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2 Responses to Summer’s Last Gasps

  1. It’s a shame that you had such crappy weather during a long weekend, especially the last of this summer. You’ve also hit on two of the reasons that I have become an off season adventurer, bugs and crowds, I hate dealing with either.


  2. Yeah, guess what day was lovely? Tuesday – the day we left! It was gorgeous! We had a fun adventure that day though, I will post more about that later! 😀


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