Lake Superior Day
By Christine Sass
Reflecting on summer vacations when our kids were young, I recall a trip to Copper Harbor and the Porcupine Mountains. Our two kids were pre-teens, still at the age when we could convince them a ten-hour car ride would be tons of fun. Temperatures that summer were unusually hot and humid flirting with 100 degrees. We anticipated escaping to the cooler climate of the upper peninsula.
After an exhausting day in the van, we reached the Keweenaw Peninsula. Tired, cranky, and hungry we perked up at the Welcome to Copper Harbor sign and the sight of Lake Superior. We located our rustic motel tucked away off the main drag. Exiting our vehicle, a cloud of flies followed us into the office. Yikes! The dreaded black flies.
The desk clerk advised us rooms in the area were not air-conditioned, and that the current heatwave was unusual. She added that the black flies were thick that year and suggested we turn the fan in our room facing outward to shoo the flies away from the screens.
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We trudged up the outside stairway lugging our bags to our room. I stepped out on the balcony only to be bombarded by a swarm. I jumped back into the safety of our room. We locked the flies out and opted to have the tiny fan blow its tepid air on our sweaty bodies. At this point, the kids were in full-on whine mode and I fought the urge to join them.
With renewed spirit the next morning we took a boat ride across the bay to the Copper Harbor Lighthouse. While waiting at the dock, an elderly gentleman swatted vigorously at the flies with his cane. The spray from the boat crossing the bay was a welcome respite from the little critters and the heat. The bluff at the lighthouse offered a spectacular view of the sparkling harbor and Lake Superior’s splendor.
The following day we arrived at the Porcupine Mountains. Somewhat acclimated to the heat and the annoying flies, we hiked forest trails, encountered waterfalls, and rested on a rocky ledge overlooking the spectacular Lake of the Clouds.
At sundown, we relaxed on the shore awaiting the riot of orange, purple, and yellow colors that make up a Lake Superior sunset. We all agreed that the U.P. was a pretty cool vacation destination and made plans to return, maybe in the fall next time.