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.
Early September 2021
Three adult eagles circling, ominous (there are only two adults living on this lake, and they're a mile south of here at the moment; these are foreign raiders)
And here are our two adult loons, with one chick mid-dive just now, but no second chick in sight.
So only three of the family are accounted for, but the eagles are still circling.
Now two of them are soaring off to sit in the tops of trees on George Island. Goodbye.
Happily, there's our second loon chick -- the one who's already been learning to go off on his own -- on the far side of Raymond's island from mum and dad.
But there's the third eagle raider, watching and waiting high up on Raymond's island ('Crescent' on the map below).
Lacking patience, he gives up and flaps north.
Here's a small parade of ducks weaving in and out amongst the tag alders; points for how many can be spotted.
31 August 2021.
This is 'Frog Bay', just inches north of Mussent Point, and a tree that tragically collapsed into the lake exactly eleven years and ten days ago.
That's a ramshackle bridge over a mud-creek tributary through the Mussent Point swampy parts, and the plastic deer-fence that surrounds the property.
The eleven-year-old arboreal casualty of age, tasty bugs and woodpeckers, and the ravages of lying submerged in water (and solid ice, in season) for all that time
We dream obsessively about coming in here and disturbing all this complacent greenness, like it's mocking us, but with a hydrobike we'd have to abandon it at once and hope for the best walking out (perhaps never to be heard from again). So today we're sneaking in with a canoe.
Marsh marigolds (caltha palustris) in profusion
Like clouds from an airplane window, those green pad-things look almost thick enough to walk on. But they're not.
Savage nature, brooding, threatening, keeping its own counsel, watching, silent, except for the highway just 378 meters on the far side, with articulated trucks and police sirens piercing the quiet at 15 second intervals.
We're slinking in for a closer look and, as the green things are reaching out and trying to grasp our aged Grumman canoe, holding our breath.
Now we've done it -- we've bottomed out on some submerged swampy horror, and the paddles are useless to get us off it. Luckily, though, they can double as barge poles, and 'Bob's your uncle'.
Here's the top of the main lake, between the two northern coves. We're going in to disarrange the floating vegetation in the northwestern cove, maliciously.
Here we are in the northwestern cove, which is normally (seasonally) covered with beds of green things crying out to be brutalized, at least a little bit, but evidently the coming of autumn is doing our destructive work for us.
More marsh marigolds; we recently ran into a bed of them up on the 'Dripping Rock' trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia, but these are much more abundant and well-organized.
All the green things are giving up and turning brown, this may not be any fun anymore.
That's a horticultural aberration -- a dead fallen tree that's become a lengthy nursery for all manner of flowers and weeds.
Somewhat disappointed, we're leaving the northwestern cove and its unspiring green targets for canoe mayhem.
We always have half an eye open for the muskrat or otter that we know dwells right here somewhere but is evidently, week after week, smarter than we are.
Back to the Mussent Point boathouse and the looming tree-ish contortionist
The point of Mussent Point
Vestigial riprap shoreline protection from back in the way-old days and . . .
. . . the mournful remains of a long-departed dock just off Kristin's cottage.
The present dock for the whole Mussent Point gang. The boathouse and pontoon boat shore-station are round the far side of the point.
It's time to give the canoe a rest (its shoulders are beginning to fail us a bit) -- back around the pointy part of the point of Mussent Point.
A genuine, vintage Grumman Boats canoe, probably predating the famous Grumman Hellcat fighter planes of WW2. Now if we can just haul this thing back up onto the boathouse dock, and then haul ourselves up onto it as well, perhaps by piling stray cinder blocks up from under the boathouse.
The next day, our eyes gone foggy from much bookishing in the sun on the lawn, we're off to meet Cousin Rob for more hydrobiking, and Choupette is looking resentfully neglected.
Now for the mystery canoe
We're passing Chase Island near the highway bridge, 1 September 2021, on our way to look in on the strange canoe we observed on recent excursions through South Bay lurking up in the forest above the shoreline.
It's somewhere up in the woods past that suicidal tree, if our memory serves, and . . .
. . . uncharacteristically, it does serve, and as we clamber up the bank we approach this strange thing, apparently (we suspect) in a slightly different position than the last time we passed by.
'Flip over, this the bottom' -- a truer statement than we're likely to find anywhere on the national scene these days.
Fiberglass, outer fabric largely long gone -- a canoe that can't have too much of a future. Who on earth can have towed it up here, and why?!?!
It's called the good ship 'Cassée', which the appended gloss correctly translates as 'Broken'. Whoever left it here may also have been francophone; we're getting closer to an answer.
Could the thing have been dragged in from above? -- we've checked back a ways through the woods; there's a long-disused lumber sawmill rail right of way about a hundred meters back but no sign of it from here.
Well, it's a right mystery. Dumped here as trash, stashed for occasional use, planted by an alien intelligence for laughs, what?
With, under the near-wreckage, some decent looking safety-flotation gear. We'll have to check back again in the fullness of time.
Baby Leigh island, owned by the 'Great State of Wisconsin' (but don't mention Ron Johnson or Sean Duffy, or especially Scott Walker) -- well then, owned by the State of Wisconsin because (we're told) a long time ago the lake property owners neglected to pay the taxes on it.
So now, amidst the Grand Confusion of Trees, there is an ancient, nearly unreadable sign that dictates 'No Camping'. As if!
Another vigilant or snoozing eagle near a tree with some obvious circulation problems in its limbs.
We're just passing by the Two-Flagger Cottage and can't pass up a photo -- actually there seems to be a third flag there, too -- is it? Yes, almost certainly, Green Bay Packers! [Subsequent update: it's a souvenir Green Bay Packer doll- or toy-thing.]
Oscar's back to rejoin us, again 'the Three Hydrobiketeers' as the wives call us (on another 'play date'!), and clearly, the lake is placid today in his honor.
The house with the nearly perfect lawn, meticulously maintained by products that we can only hope don't end up in the lake. (But they haven't far to go.)
More political conversations, we'll hang back a little.
[To be honest, our politics are mostly all the same.]
When hydrobike repairs are required, call Cousin Rob.
This is our tastefully decorated 'study' gratefully provided by Kristin as part of the bedroom wing of her cottage.
And that's our summer work space, with a helpful curved screen half the size of our screen back in Virginia, and a screen-background photo of Dr Joe, our old snowshoeing mate in Switzerland, appearing confused by the terrain.
We'll be decamping soon and are tasked with sorting out which books need to be sent on ahead in the book-rate post.
Choupette doing what she does best, but at least . . .
. . . she hasn't forced Melvin out of their preferred snuggly saucer this time, for some reason.
It's another day, and another rainstorm soon to come deluging in upon us.
If it keeps up all day, there'll be less chance of hydrobiking delights this afternoon, and we'll become despondent.
It looks like it's settled in for good.
And no one's sadder about having to stay indoors than Melvin the Doge.
Someone's rearranging the furniture on an inclement day.
Mussent Point is at no. 12.