Thursday, July 23, 2009

The South Shore:

How cool is it to float down a river of crystal clear water? What if that water is flowing OUT of Lake Superior? And INTO Big Bay slough, powered by a seiche that cycles as regularly as a sine curve. I haven't found a slough like that on the North Shore.

How cool are ferries? They lift you, your family, your worldly goods and worries, off the land and carry you across the water to some place no roads reach. The views expand as you leave shore. Climb up to the top deck and you can see in one great sweep where you came from and where you're going. Basswood Island is nearby, but the North Channel out past Stockton Island calls out for big adventures sometime. The only ferry on the North Shore is to Isle Royale.

And how cool is it to play on a beach you played on as a child? Right next to the marina in a tiny South Shore town? As a kid, the days disappeared into a haze of sand and sun and water as your father waits in Cornucopia for a part for the Chris Craft. A Chris Craft named after you, Sally B.

I am a rugged North Shore person. To me growing up, Lake Superior was something to fear, to look at, but never to experience first hand. Cliffs and stony beaches and the cry of herring gulls through the fog. There is a clear line between land and water, a line most people do not cross.

But on the same damn lake, there is this whole other experience. On the South Shore, people and water merge and mingle. You float with the seiche into the slough. You boat, not drive, to a town, then build stick houses on the sandy beach you reached. The lake water is warm and inviting. In Bayfield, sailors talk about secret coves and perfect days, not about wrecks or ruins.

Fortunately, I married a South Shore gal. Sally knows the back beaches of Bayfield, the warmth of Lake Nebagamon and Julian Bay, the fastest way to Washburn and its underground DQ.

Okay, it's like this scene from Jerry Maquire:

Without the South Shore, Lake Superior would just be this cold depressing place. Same thing for me without Sally. One....completes...the other.

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