If it is a dead-calm moment on Gunflint Lake, it's best to quickly grab a canoe and seize the opportunity. That is exactly what we did on Saturday night, after making pizza in the bread oven. I looked down at the lake, and asked Greg what he was doing. I told him that it was time for us to slap the stickers on the Wenonah, and take it for a quick spin. He bought the canoe several years ago at the North House's boats-to-tools auction. As far as my memory serves, I could only recall taking one short ride in it. Last year, I renewed the license, and never even got around to putting it on the craft. Now that's bad. I wasn't going to let that happen again this year.
He found the wooden paddles, we dusted the cobwebs off of the canoe, and launched from the side of the dock. It was so peaceful as he steered us towards the point, and then around. Suddenly, though, I could feel the power in his paddle strokes, as we began to lunge forward. I picked up the pace from my own rather relaxing paddling, and I asked if we were suddenly in a race. He said no, it just felt really good to be out there. Just ahead, I could see a loon, and we headed in its direction.
We are so fortunate to hear the loons often throughout the summer. I also get to observe them swimming near the main dock, or past the beach when I am walking by. If I get out on the lake, it is usually by motorboat, and the loons are off in the distance. What a treat, then, to be able to drift near this fellow. He circled us several times, and uttered a few soft calls. With the aid of my zoom lens on the point-and-shoot camera, I was able to get a fairly adequate shot of him. Then he headed off to the north, and we turned towards home.
We continue in the pattern of cloudy, grey skies, occasional showers, and cooler temps. But while we were out on the water, none of that mattered. The moment of quiet, surrounded by the shores of Gunflint Lake was enough to make me forget all about the weather, and just enjoy the riches literally at my doorstep.