Monday, October 18, 2010

10/10/10 Day 7

     We woke and started packing our stuff (my goal was to leave by noon at the latest). We both thought it was a good idea to take a shower (never know when we will get the next one).  We had a breakfast of coffee cake and coffee. Then there was about an hour of them fussing over us and trying to send things with us; music, food etc.  Following this was a photo session, 
Us and The Blondos!

then we were off, our destination being Eric’s family’s property on Deer Lake.  It was only about an hour and a half drive so we had plenty of time to mess around in Grand Rapids, MN before driving the 10 minutes north of the city to Deer Lake.  We went to Glen’s Army Navy Surplus, which is apparently a tradition within Eric’s family whenever they get up here.  It was a great outdoor and hunting store.  I found some turtle fur which is basically a winter weather neck wrap made of fleece.  Everyone in my family had a turtle fur at one time, but most have worn out, so I picked up a couple to take home to my mom and brother.  We also picked up some extra propane, a grill lighter, and some mosquito repellent (which proved VERY useful over the next few nights). 
     We were getting hungry and Eric remembered a pasty place nearby, but upon driving by, we discovered it was closed on Sundays.  We proceeded to drive through town looking for a Mexican restaurant Eric also remembered from a previous visit.  We found it and gorged ourselves on chips and salsa, chimichangas, and burritos. 
     After lunch we toyed with the idea of walking around the downtown area, but decided to head out to the lake instead so that we could hike around and make sure we had plenty of time to set up camp. 
     The drive was about 10-15 minutes, then down a secluded drive lined with towering pines and other trees to a large “cottage” that was one of what I would call a small mansion.  We parked the car next to this cottage and Eric jumped out, excited to show me around and tell me of how their cottage used to be. 
     Eric’s grandmother‘s family used to be the owners of a much larger piece of land in this area, but some of the other family members sold their portion of the land.  The old cottage from Eric’s childhood was located on the property that was sold and was destroyed by the new landowners to be replaced by a mansion cottage.  There are several other cottages in the nearby vicinity just as lavish as the others.  They seem to be used as summer homes by some very wealthy people. 
     No one seemed to be home at any of the cottages, so we walked all around their yards as Eric pointed our where their cottage and other related structures had been located.  The boathouse they had used was still standing and in much the same shape as they had left it, however inhabited by someone else.  We walked around the boathouse to the spot where Eric’s grandmother had imprinted her initials in the cement near the garage doors facing the water. 
     I can tell that this area holds many fond memories for Eric.  It is very unfortunate that the cottage is gone and that I never had the opportunity to experience it with him. 
     We began formulating a plan for how much stuff we actually needed to take to the campsite and the most efficient way to get it there.  We decided to get the stove out and hard-boil some eggs before heading to camp no.  1 (a name given to the area the family has come to camp several times in the past).  We wanted to be sure that we only took enough food to eat so there was none left over to tantalize bears and such.  We packed the tent, chairs, sleeping bags, pillows, lantern, some clothes, 4 eggs, trail mix, 3 apples, a jug of water, and 4 beers. 
     Eric wrote a note to leave on the car just in case anyone came along and was suspicious of our car being parked there.  We loaded ourselves lightly for the first trek to the camp.  This property is only accessible by an overgrown logging trail or by canoe.  We were taking the trail, which is about a fourth of a mile hike.  There are many obstacles littering the path, mostly fallen trees.  Eric explained that his family encourages the trail to be unkempt so that intruders have a harder time getting back there. 
     The hike was enough to make us break a sweat (that and the 80 degree weather).  Eric showed me where they usually pull up their canoe and where they had carved “camp no. 1” into a nearby tree.  It took one more trip to the car to get all of our supplies.  We set up the tent on a cushy bead of leaves.  The entire forest was covered in a blanket of colorful leaves, it was really quite beautiful, but would prove to be unnerving later. 
    Eric uncovered a previously used fire pit and gathered some wood.  I set up the beds while he started a very well constructed fire. 
Deer Lake Camp No. 1

     We settled by the fire and ate our eggs and apples with our beer.  After this snack, it started getting dark.  We brought out our instruments, Eric on the ukulele and me on the djembe.  We played and sang ‘til it was pitch black and the only light was the glow of the campfire. 
     I must mention that the blanket of leaves makes even the smallest creature sound HUGE! In the previous entry we mentioned a conversation we had with Steven about Sasquatch sightings in Minnesota…  Needless to say we were a bit jumpy (I was at least). 
     Our music making was soon interrupted by the rustling of leaves to our left in the direction of the logging trail.  Eric flipped on his “head-light” and looked in the direction of the rustling.  Whatever it was, it seemed to be making much more noise than the squirrels we had grown used to.  We looked all around in the direction of the sound for a couple of minutes.  We could see the glint of eyes, or something.  I began beating on my drum to scare the thing away, but it didn’t seem to pick up it’s pace.  We even called out to it a couple of times, but there was no reply.  It certainly wasn’t scared of us and we both felt like the glints of the eyes were too high to be that of a four legged animal.  “SASQUATCH!”  was our first thought, or maybe a bear.  I am not sure which is scarier.  The thing seemed to walk off and we couldn’t hear it or see its eyes anymore, but its presence haunted us!  Eric thought that perhaps the glints of eyes we saw may have been the LED flashlight of a hunter trying not to get caught hunting illegally on someone else’s land. Maybe it was a bear or a deer.  Whatever it was it sure freaked me out and even though Eric claims that it didn’t scare him that much, it spooked him enough for him to draw his knife!
     Soon after The Thing came and went, we let the fire burn down and went to bed.  I had a restless night of being concerned about other “things” coming to get us.  Eric slept like a damn baby.    
 - Virginia

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