Thursday, December 2, 2010

Wandering back through my summer

I woke to a leaden sky, and a cold, damp dawn that in every way spoke of winter’s return.
I love this season more than do most--its character of change, its constant contrast from the delicate vulnerability of a single snowflake to the strength and fury of a stinging blizzard. But, given a shorter day, one bound by a hesitant sunrise and hasty sunset, I am left with little time to be in the outdoors.
It’s just as well.
This is the space between the holidays.

To that, introduce deer hunting season with its dangers to off-trail pursuits, and it's likely that a trip to the store or a jaunt along a tamer trail will, in this time, replace my walk in the woods.
I wander through my summer memories.

Lake Kabetogama
Voyageurs National Park

This is Lake Kabetogama (Ka-buh-toh'-guh-muh), an expanse of cool, clear northern Minnesota water that, linked with Rainy Lake, Sand Point Lake, and Lake Namakan, makes up Voyageurs National Park.

Un voyageur

Named for the apparently very large French Canadian voyageurs of the late 18th and early 19th centuries who paddled canoes for fur trading companies along a route between Canada's northwest and Montreal, its 55-mile length is a maze of inland waterways including over 30 lakes and 900 islands. In addition to its being a water-based park, meaning that the access to sites within its boundary is primarily by boat, Voyageurs National Park is the most recent addition to the national park system, having been acquired just 35 years ago, in 1975.

The dock
Moosehorn Resort

With walleye, northern pike, muskellunge, small mouth bass, and crappie abundant in these large lakes, fishing is by far its greatest draw. Try to find just one poster promoting the area that does not boast a boatful of broadly smiling fishermen or a toothless child proudly displaying his record-breaking catch.

common mergansers on the lake

But the attraction for me was its wilderness.
Accessible to any who wishes to hike the miles of backcountry trails or step out of canoe or kayak onto the land once walked by the Chippewa, the morning air rings with the call of the loon.
A wolf print is left in the soft mud along the trail.
And the still water is parted by a beaver swimming at dusk to his lodge at the edge of this small island.

Echo Island
Lake Kabetogama, Minnesota

Translated as Rough Waters, Lake Kabetogama at 25,000-acres in size can in one moment become a small craft’s captain’s nightmare. Wind raging its length piles 5-ft waves on top of its 80-ft depths. Islands become the only refuge in a storm.
But, each morning it lay again invitingly still—shrouded in a heavy fog that obscured both boat and bird.
And begged to be discovered.

Foggy Morning

Morning Sun

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Laure Ferlita said...

What an enchanting place to wander, your summer memories. Beautiful, Nina!

Arija said...

An absolutely wonderful post. Oh how I would love to catch a pike! I haven't even seen one in 70 years . . . that really makes me old doesn't it? I was 4 when I saw one last.

Glorious photos and I completely concur about staying on well populated trails during the hunting season. When we lived in Vermont, they shot from one hill to the next straight across our yard! I had to keep the children inside.

Endment said...

Thanks for a wonderful post - you have made me take a new look at my world

KaHolly said...

I have to agree with Laura, simply enchanting. Your photographs could be used on brochures and postcards, they are that beautiful. What a lovely place! ~karen

nina at Nature Remains. said...

Funny that you should say that, Karen! I was offered some brochure work right on the spot while we were there.
There's no finer place to wander than the back waters of our national parks.

Thankfully, hunting season will be over fairly soon. And having nice memories to reflect on in the mean time helps the time fly past.

Kathiesbirds said...

Makes me want to pick up a paddle and start paddling! Lovely foggy mornings and cloudy skies. All captured brilliantly in words and photos Nina. Love the scenes from the dock.