HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns

July 30, 2007

A trip to Lake Superior

By SAM SCHOMMER
Vacations are a great time to bond with your family while seeing new and unfamiliar sights.

My family recently took a trip up to Minnesota’s own North Shore of Lake Superior.

We took a few bike rides on this trip to utilize the many trails that the North Shore has to offer.

I’m all for biking; it’s a great way to exercise, however, I do not particularly enjoy the long, agonizing treks up the hills.

Even in low gear, it is a struggle to make it all the way up without stopping.

The rides down the hills – now those I can deal with. The wind whips your hair and provides you with a cool relief that is so refreshing after that tough trip up.

One day of the trip, we took a three-hour boat ride to an island on Lake Superior, Isle Royale.

The island is about 45 miles long, and it isn’t even like a tenth of the size of this great lake.

I read in a guidebook somewhere that Lake Superior is so huge that every person in the world could spread a 12 by 12 foot blanket out on it.

That is one big lake!

Anyway, this island is a National Park (one of the fewest visited, considering it’s in the middle of a lake) with a few summer residents.

This got me thinking about their lifestyles . . . no cell phone service, fresh food brought in every couple of weeks, and mail once a week, and not to mention the wolves. Of course, they eat the moose, so maybe they’re all right.

How do moose and wolves get on an island 20 miles off shore, you ask?

Apparently they walked across when the lake was frozen over. (A side note: Lake Superior has only completely frozen over twice)

Another one of my adventures of the trip was a trip up to the Alpine Slide in Lutsen.

On the chair lift up, we got to see some kind of a woodchuck type animal sprawled out on a rock. We thought, “how nice.” On the way down, I saw a similar, but not the same, creature right next to the track, which lead to an ear curling scream from my mouth as I whizzed by.

These unidentified creatures were not my only encounter with nature. My other was with a highly intelligent flock of seagulls.

Actually, I’m not even sure if that was supposed to be sarcastic because these birds are pretty smart, if you think about it.

So every night, we would go down to the rocks off of Lake Superior with some delectable bread (in other words, whatever was old, frozen, or moldy) to see what kind of creatures we could entice.

As soon as one bird would see that we had food, they would alert the troops and the rest of the birds would fly in from who-knows-where to take part in the feast.

As it turns out, I am quite a natural at seagull feeding. I would hold up a piece of bread above my head so that the smartest birds would hover over me, waiting for me to throw it into their mouths. About eight times out of ten, they would catch it mid-swoop.

Some of the seagulls could even catch the bread on the downward assent. It was pretty cool.

Now, if you really want to stir up a ruckus among the seagulls, all you have to do is throw a whole piece of bread in, or better yet, the rest of the bag.

They will fight like crazy with each other in order to get some of that scrumptious wheat.

It was then when we discovered which gull was dominant. He sure gets crabby . . . and he’s kind of selfish, too.

For some reason, I just really enjoyed this pastime, but my favorite part was definitely when one of them dumped a load on my mom’s head.