Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ramp-ant beauty

More observations and reflections from the UP trip...we tallied 70 bird species including american white pelicans soaring over Route 41 in northeast Wisconsin...I was hoping for a more remote campground, but Bay Furnace was fine. It's right off a state highway, but the views were so nice it was easy to forget that. The privacy wasn't exceptional, but it was good enough. We gathered enough collateral material on the trip that now we know where the other good spots are. Across the highway, Christmas, Mich., had the requisite Christmas gift shops, but some had fallen into disrepair--as evidenced by a giant headless Mrs. Claus...A NASCAR race was really popular in the steakhouse there and in the campground. Radios blared the call all night. It shows how far Indy racing has fallen that this was the marquee event on the day of the Indy 500...Our kayak outfitter, Northern Waters, was great. Our trip was unfortunately shortened because of a seasick member of our group, but I learned a lot and felt that we were all prepared for the experience. My rudder was jammed at one point and taking me out to sea and our guide, Carl, calmly paddled over, reached into the kayak and fixed the problem...Seney National Wildlife Refuge really is a pestilential, malarial place. As one would expect of a huge swamp in the middle of the UP in May, it's super-buggy. I don't think an extended visit there is really possible this time of year...I was fighting a cold during most of the UP trip, but it was easy to forget. The forest floor above the Pictured Rocks was carpeted with ramps and wildflowers. Warblers were calling everywhere.

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