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 last week of September, before we vacate Kristin's uninsulated cottage in the Wisconsin Northwoods
And naturally, our last week here, and the weather has been persistently but excitingly grim.
Like today -- with a wind like this here in our little bay, out in the middle, with a three kilometer wind and wave fetch, we'll have an adventure.
So off we go.
A bouncy ride, as we're headed out to the middle of the lake
We're power-washing the pontoons in the waves, and . . .
. . . ice appears to be forming on our shins.
We'll spend a little time in the lee of Adjidaumo, the main island, and reflect upon on our planned itinerary, and cancel it. And go home (with a tailwind).
Melvin is a reflective cat in any weather, to be honest.
But when he wants to play, he can play seriously.
But he usually just reflects on things. On what things, we can't begin to guess.
Choupette has fewer intellectual depths, and mostly just scowls, petulantly.
Except when she's on the hunt for tiny shrews and voles, etc.
We're at the boathouse, and Melvin is wondering if the lake water is drinkable.
Choupette appears to be waiting for his verdict.
So, at least for cats, it appears to be drinkable.
Cats demand entry to the boathouse
(where they'll secret themselves amongst the bric-à-brac and take an hour to be got out again).
Choupette is trying all of the alternatives.
Guess who's going to get the blame.
Melvin just hopes that patience will be the answer. (Not this time.)
Frog Bay in the westering sun
In mid-afternoon, the weather looks delightful for a change. We'll grab the hydrobike and pedal off in a rush.
A little bit of wind from the north as we crank along down the eastern side of the lake . . .
. . . bound for the Tomahawk Bay, to see if the leaves are turning color yet. That's the point leading into the Bay -- there's a little shrine on it that we've wondered about for years. Probably a very sad story there. Someday we'll have to go ashore and have a closer look.
Some fall colors. Gee whiz.
And a tenement for burrowing creatures
Some colors, pretty faded. At least they're not just this ubiquitous green.
We've been floating about, bobbing in the tiny waves, just weighing alternative schemes for future career triumphs, and the weather's 'gone south' . . . or rather, 'gone north', or just going bad. We'll streak back across the bay and head north with vigor.
Back around the point and out into the unsheltered lake, and the wind.
Looking westward past Adjidaumo, on bouncy waves. The clouds are 'scudding'.
It's not clear that our best efforts are having much effect against the wind -- any pause in pedaling madly loses us about ten meters' progress.
Commemorative selfie -- pedaling madly northward into an autumn headwind (steering with one hand). This is the part that is really fun.
Autumnal winds in Wisconsin -- the weather can decline pretty rapidly, evidently. We've progressed past the main island now and will persevere.
Home again, headed in for a nice hot shower and perhaps a 'brewski'
This really is virtually the end of the month, and under the spell of the hydrobikes all summer we haven't taken much time to warm up the canoe. So we'll take a quick turn out round Adjidaumo, despite the north wind, for old times' sake. We're in the lee of the eastern cove now.
Still in the lee of Adjidaumo, we'll make a furious dash for the western shore and try to sneak back behind the trees.
This is it -- we're resting up a bit and preparing to pedal like a lunatic to the far shore.
By the time we've made it up the western shore to this point protecting out of our little bay, the wind's almost died and the canoe's become manageable again.
We beach the thing next to the boathouse and work at trying to get out of it, after two hours of sitting cross-legged with aging knees.
Once we've figured out how to clamber ourselves onto the dock (piling some stones up, as it turns out), hauling this old Grumman up will be the work of a moment.
We're passing Chase Island and heading under the highway bridge to a last piece of unfinished business -- all summer we've been checking in on the mysterious canoe, which has been drawn up into the woods of the South Bay, like this . . .
One question we've entertained all summer has been whether it's been discarded there, or if someone would be coming back for it.
Well, it's gone.
Somebody's come back for it, evidently . . .
. . . but we still don't know why.
(On the other hand, Cousin Rob mentioned the thing to the Northwoods Land Trust, and perhaps they've come along to collect it. This is part of their Forest Reserve now.)
Precious little in the way of 'fall colors', we'd say.
But that's not too bad.
We're back towards Tomahawk Bay again, here looking out at the main lake.
And that's the point with the little shrine, and maybe today's the day . . .
. . . that we'll leap ashore and make further inquiries.
It does all look evocative, very sad . . . but what's this?
Beset by alligators?? Well, that's a relief, no need for tears.
Autumnal colors getting into gear in earnest now . . .
Tamaracks, we'd guess
Goodbye to the canal for another year
Resting up for our long car journeys to come
The cottage is not winterized, and arrangements will be made to do the needful for the long winter.
A valedictory visit to say goodbye to Dave and get a final 'Dave Wave' for the year
A tearful farewell to the hydrobikes. We're on our way to Chicago, where . . .
. . . Hazel has prepared a Welcome for Melvin and 'Shoopet' [vere, Choupette].
This will be fun.
Mussent Point is at no. 12.