Sunday, July 20, 2014

Day CLIV: Island

On the second day of our north shore adventure, we were lazy.

No, really, we were. We watched Anchorman and took a nap after lunch. That's how lazy.

But, we were also adventurous. And rather than tell you about how nice it was to be completely relaxed, doing nothing so well, I think it's more fun to talk about a journey Mike and I took to an island.

Standing at the marina in East Beaver Bay, at the very end of the cul-de-sac, you are graced with the above view. An expansive stretch of Lake Superior, cut into by a jumble of massive boulders and rusty, moss-covered rocks. And at the very far end of this path-that's-not-really-a-path: Pellet Island.
The only way to access the island is via these rocks. Getting near the island with a boat proves exceedingly dangerous, and to do so would almost certainly mean the destruction of your ship. So you walk. You hike. You clamber as best you can across the rocks to an island far, far in the distance.

It's too bad it's so ugly out there, right?
When you reach the base of the island, you hop from the rocks and onto a small landing of green and stone. Awaiting you, in a tiny corner of the island, a bundle of downed-trees and rope. Using these, you climb. You hoist yourself up and over the edge of the plunging cliff and on to the top of the island. From there, a path forks and winds across the walkable areas on top of the stony mass. Grasses tower over you, trees ache in the wind, and gulls screech and from mere feet above your head. If you take the left path, you find a small, downtrodden lighthouse.

Decorated in graffiti, the lighthouse is operated by a solar panel that feeds life to the small, minty light atop the crumbling structure. Just beyond the square base, the island stops. And all that exists is the potential to fall to your freezing, rocky death.

Let's pretend you went straight and slightly to the right instead. No lighthouse to be seen from this path. Rather, you're greeted by the most spectacular of views: a comprehensive glance of the Beaver Bay shoreline. And if you could see the resort just beyond the bend in the lake, you'd see the entirety of the town.

At the very tip of the island, the southernmost section, a small mass of rock and seagull poop separates itself from Pellet Island. A quick swim away from the main mass, if Lake Superior were not so damn cold, it would have made for an excellent mini-adventure. Regrettably, after stripping down and bracing myself for the water, I came to my senses--with a little help from Mike--and decided my health was more important. 

It would have made for a great shot though.

Scaling back down the island, with the trees and the rope, was more difficult than the climb up. Just trickier and scarier, I suppose. The sun was a little lower, the water a little calmer. But every little bit was just as remarkable. On the north side of the craggy, man-made path to the island, the water was beautifully still. You could see for yards and yards into the depths just off the edge of the rocks.

We wandered back, quickly and with less time for photographs. The sun set and chilly air coaxing us along at a slightly urgent pace. Writing this, I realize that small sense of urgency was perhaps the only time I felt the sensation of a rush during the entirety of the trip.

And while climbing this little-seen island made us feel like royalty, I have the feeling that on Pellet Island, relaxation is king.

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