Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Last Night at the Dassler Cabin

Isle Royale continued:

Upon our return from the Peterson's and the Edison Fisheries we had dinner, then I spent the evening sitting on the bench overlooking Tobin harbor. While it was only Monday, and the Ranger III didn't leave for Houghton until Wednesday morning, John had decided to get those of us who were leaving the island over to Rock Harbor on Tuesday. There were six of us leaving, and to get all of us and our gear to Rock Harbor would mean two trips in the skiff. We would have to leave very early Wednesday morning to get everyone there on time. So he chose the less stressful option, to ferry us to Rock Harbor Tuesday so we'd already be there for the boat's departure Wednesday morning. He secured one of the shelters at the Rock Harbor campground for us to sleep in, and we would be ferried to Rock Harbor Tuesday morning.

This meant, of course, that my work on the island was done and I'd have an extra day to explore. It also meant that Monday would be my last night at the Dassler cabin, so I wanted to take some time to sit and enjoy it. My journaling to this point had been mostly about what we'd been doing work-wise. I decided to sit and relax and take the place in for a while. Here's some of what I wrote:

So here it is, the last night at Dassler. Not sure how it happened so quickly. I am sitting on the bench that looks north across the end of Tobin Harbor. The sky is clear but hazier than it was earlier--perhaps a warm up is in the the works. The harbor is smooth and shimmering. 

Tiny, newly hatched spiders are floating everywhere on silken threads. I look up and see a pair of loons swimming slowly towards me. they dawdle in the water below, preening, foot waggling, diving. They come together and swim apart, and occasionally hoot softly to each other. A White-throated sparrow sings "Oh sweet Canada" beyond the cabin, his sharp song blending with the sound of low swells breaking on the point. I don't know that there's ever been an evening as perfect as this. 

Edwards Island (right) and Passage Island (in distance on left) from Dassler. The lighthouse on Passage is just visible to the right of the tiny island in the foreground.

Loons on Tobin Harbor.

--New cones on the spruce are soft and filled with sap. 

--No contrails mar the deep blue sky--it is absolutely, utterly flawless.

--Candy Peterson said some artists have come here and seen the accommodations and left. As if this place were about running water and electric lights.

--A seagull is perched on the Eastern-most rock of Smith Island, a splash of white on the dark rock.

--The loons linger on.

--As the sun slips closer to the horizon my heart aches. 

--If I am attacked by a wolf, please don't hurt the wolf. She is only doing what she needs to survive. We are not more important than them, despite our best efforts to convince ourselves otherwise.

--The gull has flown away.

--I look behind me and there is the half-full moon over the cabin.

Spruce cones.

Moon over Dassler cabin.

--The sun slips lower still and the chill air begins to climb the rocks.

--A breeze picks up and ruffles the surface of Superior.

--My fingernails are dirty--when was the last time I washed my hands?

--Sing me a lullaby, sweet little loons.

--The sun dips finally, fully, behind the trees and the loon--oh the loon!--begins her Northwoods song, as her partner swims past, oh so close. Thank you. A thousand times, thank you.

Next: Solo hike to Mt. Franklin and our departure.

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