Porcupine Mountains -- Lake Superior Trail
Biting black flies. Everywhere. That's alright. At least the storm is over. At least it's not snake season, like it was last summer.
It was a relatively easy hike in. Throughout the four mile journey I marveled at how infrequently I needed to stop in comparison to last summer, how physically capable I felt this time around; "I guess I was sitting in an office nine to five back this time last year," I remarked to Beth while crossing the wood bridge over the Little Carp River gorge. We frantically set up the tarp and tent near a heavily-bouldered stretch of shoreline, beating a fierce and frantic storm by seconds, literally. It felt relaxing to hunker down in the tent with our books and watch the storm blow through the screen window of the tent, Superior's gales howling like spirits, its surf crashing like battle ships, until the bottom of the tent started to puddle.
Lake Michigamme -- Van Riper
First air of summer up your nose. Campfire, fresh air, pine needles on the floor. Play camp games, ride your bikes, and pray you don't get old.
Longetudinal clouds like rows of cotton extending to the horizon -- the western shores of Lake Michigamme -- where mountains of blue green were juxtaposed against a sapphire sky. Miniature American flags are staked at campsites throughout (large ones, too), a lone boy fishing at the lake, whiffle ball, swimming, making railroad pennies, up to no good out along railroad tracks. Grown ups lounging languidly in folding chairs underneath camper awnings and mosquito tents, dog sleeping in the heat, retired grandfathers sleeping with beers in their hands. The tugboat choo of the Illinois Central train horn sounds sundown, its smoke above the pines visible before its red head end emerges along the shore, followed by its short tail of black box cars. Once upon a time it carried great loads of iron ore from the mining country to the straits of the Sault and further south. At night, in the tent, distant explosions in the sky echo another American Independence Day.