July 16, 2008
My plan for the next few days:
Today – finish driving along Lake Superior, lunch in the town of Superior, drive to Duluth
Thursday – leave Duluth and drive to Ely, MN which is in the Boundary Waters area
Friday – canoe and stay in Ely
Depending upon how much I like the area, I will stay longer, or head northwest to Canada. I suspect I’ll be heading north on Saturday.
My main concerns re canoeing the lakes are:
Most importantly, I know I’m going to get lost. I know this with 100% certainty. The outfitters set you up with a canoe, gear, and a map. And off you go.
Yesterday I went kayaking. I took the ferry from Bayfield to Madeline Island, which is one of the Apostle Islands. I met up with Ed, who is an ex philosophy professor who moved to the island 5 years ago and started up a kayak business. He looks very much like Ken Lay, but sexier. I was going to kayak around the part of the island where his shop is, but he wanted to swim at Big Bay State Park – another part of the island. He said the water temp was 45’ degrees. I believed him…it was ice water. He wore a wet suit. It was REALLY beautiful. But, after a short while, I turned around to see what I have done and realized that I wouldn’t have been able to find my way back except I could see a foot bridge that we had to cross over. If that wasn’t there, I’d be somewhat panicked. [There were all these “fingers” – don’t know the right word – feeding into the lake, and I couldn’t easily tell which one I came from.]
In Ely, there doesn’t seem to be group “day trips”. Ely has 22 outfitters, so I will figure this out when I get in on Thursday. Even if I do find a day trip:
I’m thinking that a little canoeing will go a long way. I know that I little kayaking went a long way with me. Do I really want to be on the water for 4 or 8 hours?
And then…the bug factor. If the black flies et al are out, do I want to be tortured for 4 or 8 hours?
So, will play all this by ear.
I do want to relay a couple Sexy Ken Lay stories.
As we were driving to and from the state park, he would raise his hand off the steering wheel to wave at certain cars. When we were close to coming back to his shop, he said that the other drivers think that he is waving at them, but he is really signaling to them to slow down. I told him that he is the only person alive who knows that the International Hand Signal To Slow Down is to raise your index finger off the steering wheel and just lift it up.
Also, when we were driving to the state park, we drove past this man on a bike, that had one of those tagalongs with a girl riding behind him. She was singing.
We stop at the park and unload, and up rides the man and girl, and she is still singing all by herself. Simple joy. How nice.
After I was done kayaking, where I brought the kayak to shore, she is there in just her underwear [she’s 7] and playing in the water. The water is ice water, seriously. But she is just playing away.
She tells Sexy Ken that her name is Annika. But he thinks she’s saying Chanukah. And he starts cracking jokes, which she of course doesn’t “get”. She’s with her uncle, and he says it’s Annika [he’s not bothered by the jokes]. She has never kayaked before, so Sexy Ken puts her into the way too big kayak, with the way too big paddle, and gives her a lesson. Within a few minutes, this kid is doing better than me. Nothing like being shown [showed?] up by a naked 7 year old!