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 season's changing fast, and the surf's up
Most of this summer, in northern Wisconsin at least, has been blessed with fine weather -- now, in September, it's time to pay our dues.
Here we are, on 8 September 2019, wondering when the sun's planning to come back.
Passing Raymond's or Crescent Island -- it's chilly and more than a little windy, but the lake seems calm; the wind's coming from the west, though, and it turns out that we're presently in the lee of the lakeshore.
This is the only boat on the lake today (not counting one hydrobike) -- the Labor Day bumper-to-bumper parade down the highway, towing skiboats, has been and gone, and it's mainly fishermen who've got the lake almost to themselves.
Halfway across to the eastern shore, we're emerging from the lee.
George Island with a brief ray of sun on it
The eastern shore of 'Manila Bay' (on the map; colloquially, Sandy Beach Bay) -- the ride is getting bouncy now.
Welcome calmer waters in the gap into Tomahawk Bay
The spit of land sheltering the little cove before Tomahawk Bay (no. 48 on the map below)
This is a little creek, long forgotten until the lake level rose a few years ago, that leads 200m through the dreadful muck to another small pond in the swamp.
Back to the point leading out to the main lake
More hydrobike fans, with a skiboat named the Cajun Girl
The onset of autumn accelerates, 9 September 2019, with temperatures in the mid-50s°F (13°C) and a very grey sky, . . .
. . . and a bouncy ride out to the mid-lake.
Back round the point again, calmer waters here, leading into Tomahawk Bay (no. 46 on the map below)
Everybody needs a hobby -- innovative yard art involving what looks like a cow's skull and a plastic snake.
The shrine on the end of the little point (the netting is probably to dissuade deer; the little angel was knocked over a few years ago)
A relaxing pedal around the Tomahawk Bay shoreline, with an eye out for purple loosestrife and a continuing interest in fallen trees
Tomahawk Bay, leading to the canal on the far side, is more or less round and about 500m across, generally fairly protected from the wind.
The 'deadheads' off the northern shore
It's raining now, worse luck; we're turning back towards the main lake.
Around the point
A healthy drizzle, so far, no worries, but . . .
. . . the T-shirt's getting pretty soggy.
Another bouncy ride, only five minutes from the dock, which . . .
. . . is bathed in sunlight as we arrive; Melvin's even snuck into the shade.
This we've named Ephemeral Bay, which appeared out of nowhere (in a manner of speaking) when the lake level rose a few years ago. 10 September 2019.
It's progressed from open water to a loathsome mud bucket since then.
Just beyond the Ephemeral Bay there's the roadbed of an old spur railroad line, formerly running north to the long-gone sawmill.
The famous leaning trees of South Bay
Defying gravity, temporarily
Back from the far cove into South Bay, and . . .
. . . under the highway bridge again.
And back to the main lake -- Raymond's and Adjidaumo Islands
Choupette with her impenetrable stare
Preparing an ambush for Melvin when his windowsill nap is over
Still another foul day, 12 September 2019, perhaps . . .
. . . we can leave the lake unhydrobiked for one afternoon.
We don't mind rain when it comes on in the middle of a hike or bikeride, but who wants to start out in a downpour?
We'll settle down in the pontoon boat by the boathouse instead, under its awning, with an improving book.
Ducks don't care at all about a chilly rain.
After all, water's water.
13 September 2019: More rain, more chilly wind -- where'd our summer go?
Once again, we're in the lee of the western lakeshore and sleepily unaware of what's going on in the middle of the lake.
But there's only one boat on the lake today, and it's bolting for home.
Approaching Baby Leigh
No more lee of the western shore
The middle of the lake is sending a discouraging message.
We'll duck into the little cove before Tomahawk Bay, rest a bit and assume a steely resolve, and head for that far shore. Where the waves, unfortunately, caught us broadside and tossed us up on the turf.
The trick (we should have remembered) is to take the waves head on, and enjoy the bouncy amusement park ride. Sideways is a gymnastic challenge, and going with the wind can be a really bad idea.
Hydrobikes are very stable, in normal conditions, but when we're pedaling madly in front of a following wind, the waves can be moving the bike faster than our pedaling can, and it wallows, and becomes ungovernable.
Into the lee of Adjidaumo, the centre island
Catching one's breath for a moment, and . . .
. . . admiring the duck family, who care for neither wind nor rain
Though, that said, when they've paddled farther out towards the waves . . .
. . . they vacate the territory.