Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Northwoods Adventures

As the holiday weekend approached and we watched the weather forecast for our northwoods getaway, we feared an adventure full of sweltering heat and vicious bugs. Several years ago JoyDad and Rose had suffered through such a Memorial Day sweatbox at the lake, barely able to step out of the overheated cabins without being carried off by mosquitoes and biting flies. (Other years, we've had snow at the end of May. You just never know.)

This year couldn't have been more beautiful. The sun shone hot at mid-day, but the air was dry and didn't hold the heat at night. In fact, everything was dry. The lake was low. But the drought meant that the bugs were at an all-time minimum for spring. It felt like mid-summer.

The dry roads meant we could go driving on paths that are usually too muddy or flooded -- and as we were out driving, we saw a black bear! He lumbered along ahead of us for quite a ways along the road before crashing his way into the forest. Fortunately we were several miles from the cabins at that point. Right next to the cabins all we saw were hummingbirds, eagles, woodpeckers, loons, ducks, and a little red squirrel!

Oh, and the two little crawdads I caught by hand as we cavorted in the shallows right off the pier. And the leech I brushed off my foot. Rose was wary of the muck and rocks in the lake, but Joy could have played all day. She splashed and splashed...

... and climbed the pier and jumped back in, over and over.

She also figured out how to "swim" by walking on her hands in the shallow water, pulling her body along behind.

All that exercise could work up quite a thirst. One meal Joy was sitting next to me and reached over toward my share with a big "more"! The most likely desirables were the beverages -- a tumbler of milk and a bottle of beer. I poured her a little glass of milk, but she's been on an anti-milk kick lately and pushed it away after one sip. The comment came from across the table -- "Hey, maybe she wants your beer!" And from Joy, the explosive echo: "BEE!"

One of the great pleasures of the lake vacation is the photography. Rose now uses the old digital camera we got back when she was six months old:

She's learning to identify wildflowers as well as capture them in pixels. Here's a pink ladyslipper:

And I found and photographed a nodding trillium:

Ah, but I haven't yet shared the biggest adventure of all. Splashing by the shore was fun, but the real action involved the pontoon boat (thank you Uncle Marathon, and Uncle DO who couldn't be there this time!)

Take the boat out on the lake, anchor in about 20 feet of water, tighten up the girls' life-vests, and throw 'em overboard! OK, not really. We threatened to do it to Rose, but she shrieked and insisted on climbing gently down the ladder. Joy wouldn't have minded -- any way into the water was fine. Uncle Marathon was eager to take the plunge as well...

One one such swimming excursion, we were anchored a ways out in front of the cabin, about half-way between the pier and the eagle's nest. GrampaK had stayed behind at the cabin to take it easy. We were glad that he was in good enough health to come to the lake in the first place, but swimming wasn't part of that package. So the rest of us were out with the boat, just getting started, when suddenly GrampaK's voice came rolling out over the water, calling Uncle Marathon by name. And then these words, urgent and chilling:
Come. Home. Come home now!

And then silence.

[to be continued]


One Mom said...

Sounded delightful...right up until the end. Heck of a cliffhanger, lady!

Niksmom said...

I must concur with OneMom! Don't leave us hanging!!!

JoyMama said...

Aw, you guys, you know I wouldn't cliff-hanger it if it were truly that bad!

Tune in tomorrow... [insert evil chuckle here]

Anonymous said...

Considering my dad's state of health, you gave me a heart attack with this cliffhanger. It took me a moment to remind myself that if it were something bad, I wouldn't be hearing of it first on the blog.

But still. Momentary. Heart. Attack.

JoyMama said...

Goodness. Perhaps this cliffhanging stuff wasn't such a great idea after all. Sorry, Auntie RatM. If it's any comfort, our collective heart attacks lasted longer than yours did...

Everyone is home safely, and lived to tell the tale. Which I will do, I promise.

Anonymous said...

You are SUCH a tease!

And other than that, I loved reading this post. Thoroughly vicariously enjoyable. (And don't tell my I can't use two -ly words in a row.)