Peck's personal Web site
2009 in the USA --
beaches, dinners, hikes, weddings, etc.
Grim determination for much of the summer, and a headlong footrace to complete a stressful project before launching off to the USA for a new chapter.
We've made it this far, "Just Married", to Lake Superior in that great state of Michigan.
Call it a Honeymoon if you like. The Volvo, which can levitate when it wants to, transports us à grande vitesse to the family's cottages on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, on Lake Superior.
Kristin taking stock of things and preparing to cart the groceries in. Dwight is working on getting the beer cartons onto a forklift.
A confirmatory call from Cousin Rob and Elke -- we're on for the Porcupines, hoopla-ho!
A little cabin just à côté -- we're going to sleep there instead of in the main cabin, so that the aged kitties can settle in more reassuredly and perhaps get off their meds for a while.
Lake Superior. It's very big! I could have told you that was the Aegean Sea and you would have believed me (unless you know anything about foliage).
Looking westward towards beautiful downtown Ontonagon (not shown)
Looking eastward, an alluring prospect for a good sandy hike for a while . . .
Good, a hike. Tomorrow.
[That's one of the New Glarus beers, by the way, all to be recommended.]
Our first evening on the beach, with Friday's and Crusoe's footprints alerting us to another human presence, which, in fact, there wasn't. They're ours.
The washing up place. "Just by the way, there's no running water here; we'll just go on down to the lake, shall we?"
In unfamiliar surroundings -- Bob's willing to have a look around, but Squirrel is burrowing in for the duration.
A quick view of the family's cottage on Lake Superior, with dortoir for the visiting kids above.
Kristin meditating, before a hike up the sandy coast to the Flintsteel River estuary.
A last stop before our hike begins. "Are you going to be long in there?" "No. A couple more pages."
The embouchement of the Flintsteel, and a quick swim.
Don't let me see that digital camera again, or this Honeymoon is well over!
". . . and may the New Glarus beer stash hold out. Please."
Would you like a cup of tea or an herbal infusion before bedtime? Okay, I'll be right back.
Choppy waves on the Aegean. ("Sophocles long ago / Heard it on the Ægæan, and it brought / Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow / Of a beer run into Ontonagon")
Beautiful downtown Ontonagon -- we're on the way to the Mall to stock up on vegetables, New Glarus beers, and whatever else may get in the way between us and the checkout.
The US flag is fading and beginning to show infrastructure maintenance problems. Like the bridges and roads, airports and seaports, schools, electrical grid, etc. (But the long-range bombers are in top form.)
Steeling ourselves for our hike in the "Porkies" (the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park), we've gone south a bit to visit Old Victoria, a volunteer-run restoration of an indentured-miners' community that was provided by the mine owners in the late 19th and early 20th century to immigrant families supporting their more-or-less doomed miners. In cabins divided by ethnicity, most families were Finnish, and the families lived downstairs and cooked for about 20 miner/boarders sleeping upstairs sharing beds over three continuous shifts 24/7. Without safety regulations, mining accidents were frequent, and without workman's compensation, injured miners were shit-out-of-luck (families, too).
And that entrepreneurial spirit is what has made America Great (tm).
Kristin checking out the historical facilities. (That one wasn't working. Only the Men's was still working. True!)
We're back staring out, like Sophocles and Matthew Arnold, at the choppy Aegean and wondering what's keeping Cousin Rob and Elke, as we need to be high up in the Porkies tomorrow. Early.
They're here (they were already out there walking on the beach, listening to The grating roar / Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling, /At their return, up the high strand, / Begin, and cease, and then again begin, / With tremulous cadence slow, and bring /The eternal note of sadness in.) So we need to decide who's doing the cooking for dinner.
Not early, but at least on the right day, we're setting out on the Little Carp River Trail in the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park on Lake Superior, prepared for whatever adventures the wilderness may throw at us.
The pace is a brisk one, and the slower members of the party are already positioning themselves for distance shots of the way forward.
Cousin Rob on a promontory about 30 metres above the Little Carp creek bed
The Little Carp's descending faster than we are towards the shoreline.
We're still staying high at this point, as the creek descends below us.
This is nature at its best, but with my highly suggestible mind for imagery, I find it disgusting.
Looks like a Very Big Tree. Also with repulsive mushrooms and fungi growing on it, but I'll omit those photos.
A brief water and ibuprofen pause along the route.
A tributary creek that wants crossing
When I say "Leap", leap!
I said, "When I say 'Leap', leap!"
The Little Carp River Trail is a very beautiful one, a very forgiving downhillish one, in this quite diverse protected area for recreation and wildlife. There's much more varied, and somewhat more challenging hiking elsewhere in the Porkies. Some years ago we got stuck out in the middle of it in torrential rain and a sea of mud over ridge after ridge, and Kristin's been coming here since childhood and seen about all the adventures it's got to offer.
The Little Carp River. I believe that there is also a Big Carp River, but I have no direct knowledge of that. Only the map, and I have no idea of who made that map, or for what reason. I can only attest to the Little Carp River at this time. Which is probably this one. As far as I know.
More creeks to be crossed. There are ALWAYS more creeks to be crossed, even when you thought you'd crossed them all at last.
One more creek crossed. But, trust me, there will always be another.
More Little Carp River scenes, because they're restful to look at.
A few uphills from time to time, leaving the stragglers a little bit more straggly each time.
Rob and the Little Carp . . .
. . . which eventually disgorges out upon Lake Superior, here.
The Little Carp Expedition taking stock of things, and wondering where's the way back up to the other car.
Kristin on the shore of Lake Superior, proudly demonstrating her Insect Defender which depends from the front end. Just above Joe the water bottle.
A powwow or self-selected board meeting, but missing one (me) for a plenary session or quorum.
Back across the Little Carp or some other listless little watercourse along the way, as we plod dutifully up another trail -- the "Pinkerton Creek Trail" (please god, not named after the death squad mercenaries who terrorized the American labor and union movement in the 19th and 20th centuries) -- towards our prepositioned other car.
The last kilometre or two up the Death Squad Trail to the car, and then we're off, all sweaty and stinky, to dine at Paul's Restaurant in Silver City on the lakeside, a perfectly appalling dinner of tasteless whitefish and urine-based beers with humorous names, and almost absent service. Good to get that done with.
The next day, we're over at the Sturgeon River ravine, near Baraga in the Upper Peninsula (UP) of Michigan, peeking down the hiking trail, and deciding that we'll come back for this one another time.
So -- instead -- we're walking up nearby Silver Mountain, so named because some very earnest entrepreneur heard an Indian legend about lots of silver in these parts and came out and built a fairly elaborate mining operation here. But there wasn't any silver -- ha ha, sucker -- so that was that. But the state or somebody has thoughtfully laid on well-made wooden staircases so that we can go there anyway, without getting our sneakers dusty.
Kristin, past Hillary's Step, summits on Silver Mountain and sets about to look for raptors.
Only one raptor in sight, so far, and I don't count, so we'll keep searching.
Kristin, gazing off the summit at lots of Michigan, still looking for raptors
There's a Raptor!!!
Time to leave Silver Mountain -- down the thoughtfully-placed excellent stairways, however unnecessary they may be. The end of our Honeymoon is on the horizon. Like the raptors.
As our Honeymoon draws towards an end, we're getting our cleaning up instructions. Those of us who are so inept at hoovering up and scrubbing the sinks often get a reprieve when someone decides it's easier just to do it herself.
A last look at Lake Superior. Which will probably still be there if and when we can ever return. (But not necessarily, if the southwestern states of the USA succeed in their plan to drain off the water southward for the industrial farming of strawberries and avocados in the deserts.)
Honeymoon's all over now, way too soon. Time to return southward, to the lakes of northern Wisconsin, in the Levitating Volvo that does your homework for you as you speed above the clouds, and then back to Heidiland.
Rhinelander airport. "Never apologize for being white." (KKK). Was I thinking about apologizing for being white? To whom?
Leaving America! (Whew.)
At Minneapolis aeroport. Raise a Glass! Salute Our Troops! They're only killing people around the world to defend Our Freedoms! (not our jobs, nor our homes, nor our constitutional rights, just 'Our Freedoms'!)
Operation Homefront!! We must all stick together in Times of Wars of Choice.
(Mind you, trying to gag down Jim Beam bourbon whiskey mixed with Coca Cola might well be worse than having to go and kill peasants in Iraq.)
and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, .
All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 19 September 2009, revised 11 June 2012.