A Very Windy Day

To my ear, Gunflint Lake is one of the most quiet places on earth. Most nights, the sounds melt away, leaving us with only an occasional loon call or owl hoot. The days, while busy with many different sounds, still don't come near to the amount of audio stimulation I have when I am away from here. Even in Hawaii, I noticed it was much louder. The sound there that I noticed most was the ocean and the wind. The surf and the pounding of the waves were always in the background. It reminded me of a dull roar--the term my dad used to say to us when he wanted us to take things down a notch. "Hold it to a dull roar!" Yes, Gunflint Lake is one of the quietest places, except when the northwest winds blow.

Today is a very windy day. It came along yesterday, that sneaky west wind, relatively mild in the morning, but in full swing by early afternoon. It blew all day, calmed for a bit in the late afternoon, and then resumed while the pizza-making was at its busiest. The night was a blustery one, and by the time we got up, it was kicking up well. It's really not a problem for me, since most of my day is land-based. Heck, all of my day is such, since I've only been on the water about four times so far this summer. For the folks who are supposed to be out on the lake, today is a bad day.

Before the morning had fully started, we could hear voices down by the shore. I figured they were canoeists, trying to take advantage of the early hour in order to make it to the landing before the big waves rolled in. I've heard of people getting up and paddling at four a.m. sometimes, just to get the big water behind them before the winds became too strong. Sometimes folks will pull over on our beach, and call it quits here. We are about two-and-a-half miles from the public landing, and when you are fighting a 15-20 mph wind, that can feel like forever. These four canoes were determined. They soon were pulling past our main dock, making some decent headway, but wisely sticking close to shore. They definitely had their work cut out ahead of them.

Another group came by around eleven. These folks were still on land, with a plan to put in at our landing and head on east towards South Lake. But by that hour, the wind was really in full fury, with several large waves knocking on the dock and soaking the ramp. They consulted and contemplated, and finally compromised. They decided to find an alternate route east of here, one that would still allow them entry to South Lake, but didn't put them into harm's way. They likely evaded a good soaking by that choice as well. Not everyone was happy, but at least they could continue their trip.

It's interesting how the vacation we plan isn't always the one we face when we reach our destination. But with Mother Nature in charge to some extent, we must take what she sends our way. Plan B is a good thing to have, and in the process, those changes can sometimes bring the most unexpected surprises. We just have to be on the watch for them.