You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.
The far end of June on the northern Wisconsin lake
We disembark from our afternoon hydrobike hilarities, 24 June 2021, and there's a sizable marquee squatting four meters outside our bedroom window. Quelle surprise!
The puzzle has been solved -- as we're striving to keep abreast of the Late Trump Follies on the Guardian, NYT, Salon, and WaPo, 25 June 2021, we're serenaded by a wedding rehearsal dinner at full throttle in the post-gloaming.
And here we are, a joyous occasion on the 26th, a casual wedding ceremony in progress on Mussent Point. It's all focused on Zoë and Kirk, by the looks of it, so all best wishes for a long and happy relationship.
We're hiding back near the marquee (not suitably attired at the moment, to be honest) and straining to hear the ceremonial ritual, which is witty, humorous, not terribly sentimental or ponderously religious, nor overlong, and very fondly intended.
The cellist and keyboardist have musically accompanied the parties to their folding chairs and are now at loose ends.
It's a very nice wedding -- well prepared, thoughtful, all in the right key and suitable for the diversity of participants in the pageant, most in business casual attire (which I haven't), and soon to adjourn to some circulating and well-wishing all round.
One could be following the entire proceedings from that open bedroom window just above the beer table, but one isn't; one is here with the camera. Reflecting once again on a not too dissimilarly casual wedding here in 2009 -- not here by the bedroom window, but just down the shore a ways on the family dock.
We're getting down to the vow-ey parts now.
Here they go. No more time for wobbling amongst alternatives, this is it.
The orchestra strikes up on cue ('Für Elise').
Appreciative words from the groom
A lot of familiar faces here, which was to be expected, of course. Elke far right talking to Kristin.
Emily and Hazel finding room for some of . . .
. . . Hazel's acrobatics.
Photo ops . . .
. . . and the snacks have semi-miraculously appeared. Dive in.
Our nuclear family -- matriarch Joellen, George, Emily, bride Zoë, and Kristin. Kim Wasserburger, revered musician and longtime Experiential Education Teacher, with the bride's parents Liz and Kirk (the groom is frequently referred to as 'Kirk2').
Kristin renewing acquaintance with Michael Andrews, of the South Beach Chamber Ensemble of Miami, Florida,
who will . . .
. . . strike up the band.
Mr Andrews is from the region up here and in summers brings some of his Florida colleagues, combined with local talent for the occasion, for performances by 'South Beach Up North'.
Joellen and friend awaiting the promised menu items
As delicious as it all looked, some of us have retired to our chambers for a brief nap . . .
. . . which, alas, was not to be, in the circumstances, so a little incremental labors on this website, perhaps . . .
. . . but no, Kim has succeeded the South Beach Up North ensemble and is livening up the proceedings.
They're boogalooing so fast that we'd need a better camera than this to get this right.
Stay off at a safe distance, or take your chances.
A brief interlude for earnest conversations, and then . . .
. . . we're back at it. Kim with Zoë's sister Taya, a gifted improv artist
A good, and improvised team
We should stay, the best parts are probably still to come, but . . .
. . . we want to say thanks and good night to the dedicated support staff winding it up in the kitchen.
Subsequently, life goes on . . .
The enclave at Mussent Point, four nice cottages, a boathouse (out of frame), and an aging dock
The same, but focused on Kristin's cottage ('Manor Mouse') near the point
Mussent Point itsowngoodself, and a disused catamaran employed as a property buoy marker to keep the jetskis at bay
An adult eagle perched on our doorstep (as it were), his favored spot at this end of the lake . . .
. . . that's one really vile, filthy, scavenging national symbol.
We'll have to wait the awful beastly thing out before the cats can come out to play.
A swampy sort of walk
So much of the USA is made up of jealously guarded private property that it's difficult to find a place for a nice roaming-about sort of walk outside of a national or state park ('Stay on the Path'), or a small municipal amenity. Quite a few more developed nations have 'right to roam' laws for many areas, and in the Swiss Alps and Jura mountains we could pretty much go wherever we liked, within reason (as long as we didn't tip over any sleeping cows).
But recently we've learnt about this fine path that leads from just near our lake (beside the single road crossing the canal between the lakes) northward quite a ways through swampy country, blessedly dodging amongst the mucky bogs, pretty much.
We begin, having skirted that opening-act mud bath, by going up onto a ridge that continues northward . . .
. . . on firm ground about 20 meters above less salubrious terrain down on either side.
No bustling crowds here, either, in fact few signs of very many walkers at all, though the trail is mostly in very good condition.
And well-marked by little color-coded metal plates on trees from time to time.
In mentioning this path when we first heard about it, we were surprised by how many others didn't know it existed or had forgotten long ago.
A glimpse of a roadway down to the east -- we later discovered on Google Maps that that is probably McCoy Road, a dead-end track along the western shores of Lake Tomahawk.
We carry on, of course.
And then descend off the ridge into a mélange of who knows what mucky terrain
Kindling for the next once-in-a-century conflagration
Swatting pesky fellow travelers [the bugs, not that lady there]
We'll try to remember that we are on the red trail.
A doomed tree -- the woodpeckers have already pronounced the capital sentence upon it.
We've inattentively slipped off onto the blue trail and, luckily, we've just noticed that the rest of our party is sticking with the red one.
Here we are, a mere 45 minutes later, at the northern end of our journey, a meeting place for a number of carefully tended other paths in the immediate area.
We, as it transpired, were on the Canal trail, and will have to come back soon to venture onto the Anderson and the Helen Trails.
The road running past the northern trailhead
Back the way we came. We've learnt from a signboard at that trailhead that the trails are maintained by something called the 'Pottowattomie Colony', which evidently has historical resonances in the area, in cooperation with the Northwoods Land Trust (which presumably presently has some kind of easement or title to this whole block of undeveloped land).
[The Pottowattomie Colony invokes memories of Pottawatomie County, Kansas, home of Kansas State University, a one-time rival in the distant past. The Potawatomi Native Americans were an Algonquin people of the Ojibway persuasion, driven by You-Know-Who off their ancestral lands in the western Great Lakes region and relocated to Nebraska, then Kansas, and finally to the Oklahoma Indian Territory (though some bands survived in situ). We recall that US states seem to have had a habit of naming towns and counties after tribes they'd dispossessed -- e.g., the Shawnee people came from Virginia and Pennsylvania, and South Carolina, but most of them ended up in what's now Oklahoma in the 1830s; I lived for a few years in Shawnee, Oklahoma.]
Striding along with confidence, since now we recognize the landmarks . . .
. . . and the color-coding. We're back on the long ridge we started out on.
And now coming down off it again . . .
. . . to our introductory swampy thing.
And, if we've understood this correctly, that should be our road just above . . .
. . . and a hundred meters or so back to the car (our elegant little silvery Volvo).
Here at the 'mid-lake' or 'Mirror Lake' halfway along the canal between the two lakes is a thoughtful bench for the grateful weary, wisely chained down for the less well-inclined.
To the Pottawattomie Colony and the Northwoods Land Trust, 'ta, ever so'.