Rumor had it:  a three-masted Great Lakes Schooner called the Denis Sullivan was sailing from the Keweenaw down to Huron Bay this afternoon.  My husband, who’s the editor of our town’s small weekly newspaper, planned to write an article and take photos.  The minute he announced his intention I thought, “Aha!  Outdoor experience!  Blog!  Must accompany him!”

Looking out to sea

Looking out to sea

Who knew it would be pouring rain, northwest wind and 56 degrees?  Who knew we would stand on the rainy beach and in the soggy woods for more than two hours before returning home without even glimpsing the schooner?  (But never fear!  Wait for tomorrow’s blog.  We received a phone call from the marina just after taking off our sodden rain clothes and Barry re-traced our tracks to photograph the ship in its glory out on the bay.  The ship’s sails will wave on this blog tomorrow night, if all goes well.)
Still looking out to sea

Still looking out to sea

The land where we waited for the “Tall Ship” now belongs to the Keweenaw Land Trust.  This group, according to its website, is a community partner protecting land, water and quality of life through conservation, stewardship and education.  Several years ago they bought a beautiful piece of coastal wetlands near Skanee from Jerry and Gail Mattson in L’Anse.  They aim to protect these wetlands and this fragile Lake Superior shoreland so future generations can enjoy this landscape. For more information about Lightfoot Bay kindly click here.
Old "Caretaker's Cabin" on the property

Old "Caretaker's Cabin" on the property

Since you (and I!) have to wait until tomorrow to see the Denis Sullivan schooner, which was sailing with a group of participants learning about ecology, seamanship, conservation, water quality and history, let’s look at a few more photos of the property.
It's been a few years since this rowboat floated on the water

It's been a few years since this rowboat floated on the water

A lovely woman named Patricia, a member of the Keweenaw Land Trust, showed us around.  She exhibited such an enthusiastic passion for the connections between landscape and people, sharing stories about the people who grew up here swimming in these waters, the man who built the cabin, the caretaker who lived down the way.  I loved the way she wove the two elements together:  landscape and human stories. 
We shared with her a small story of our own about this particular place.  Years and years ago, when we were in our 20’s and raising young children, a large group of us camped out on the point beyond the cabin.  It was an idyllic weekend and we still have memories and photographs of wading across the inland waters to reach the point.  If I close my eyes I can see a half dozen or more pre-schoolers in bathing suits splashing in the waves and screeching in joy.  Do you ever open your eyes after a memory like that and wonder where the years disappeared?
Patricia waiting on the porch in the rain, scanning the horizon for the ship

Patricia waiting on the porch in the rain, scanning the horizon for the ship

Eventually the group plans to rent out the cabin, so if anyone who cares deeply for the environment wants to spend a week or weekend here…remember the link to its website!  You can’t bring your ATV’s, but that probably won’t be a problem for too many of us.  Also, you’re not allowed to have fires on the beach.  I’m sorry about that one, as we enjoyed great bonfires in the “old days”.  However, I’m sure you’ll still have great fun.
Here is the outside of the cabin:
Isn't it a cute little cabin in the woods?

Isn't it a cute little cabin in the woods?

We were so soaked and sandy we didn’t want to mess up the inside of the cabin with a full tour, but we ventured inside a little bit to admire the curving wooden stairway and the massive stone fireplace.  And it felt sooooo warm inside the cabin.  You could just imagine a cozy evening with the crackling fire…in late June!

Stone fireplace

Stone fireplace

Patricia heated water for hot chocolate just as we said our goodbyes.  Our feet were so soaked that we later wrung out our socks.  We stayed relatively dry though, beneath our rain jackets and pants. Part of me wanted the hot chocolate…but the other part wanted dry feet.  The feet won! 

Stay tuned tomorrow for this two-part adventure.  There’s at least four or five more photos to show you.  Keep your eyes peeled for that three-masted schooner!  (and will tell you more about it, as well.) 

P.S.  During two hours of waiting in the rain along the shore Barry sang me every sailing song he could remember.   Mostly:  “Brandy, you’re a fine girl, what a good wife you would be, but my heart, my love and my lady is the sea…”  and “Hoist up the John B’s sail:  drinking all night, got into a fight…This is the worst trip I’ve ever been on.”   Yep, that was our outdoor adventure this afternoon on the shores of Lake Superior.

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