Monday, August 06, 2007

Prospector's Big Trip, Part I

Prospector's last cup of coffee before hitting the trail. Mackinac City.

I first got Prospector and his pack mule, Lucky, for my two year old. He was meant to be a present before we left the kid and his sister for four days of hiking the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore up in the U.P. But then Prospector wanted to come with us, so he did. He was a real crotchety companion at times, but he had a lot of good folk wisdom to share with us and also plenty of stories to tell around the campfire. Sure, most of his stories involved snakebites and claim jumping, but you'd be surprised how much variety there is in that genre. Most nights, we were riveted to his tales about the Badlands and the Yukon. He's a wise old S.O.B., that Prospector.
Prospector's first big find

Above is a picture of Prospector with a bucket-full of blueberries, which he called "Blue Gold." Here is an excerpt from his diary entry for the day:

"In the mornin', when I told the young'ns that we'd be findin' blue-berries as big as your head this day, they got all excited-like. Especially the tall, gangly one. But later, when I showed them this great haul, they were, well, I reckon you'd say they was disappointed. There's just no figurin' youngsters today."

I feel bad for disappointing Prospector now. I guess I did misunderstand him a little. And them berries were pretty great. Blueberry bushes lined probably 20 of the 37 miles we covered. And raspberries, too:One part Grape-Nuts, One part Granola, Raspberries, and dried milk.

This is breakfast on the first morning, the only rain we had the whole trip. Lake Superior was kind of angry just next to us but didn't rush our coffee and cereal. I swear, you could eat nothing but sand on a hiking trip and you'd think it's the best meal you ever had. Something about being outside and tired. Maybe it's the flavor of bugs in your food. Anyway, an hour after this, we came across two kayakers who'd given up on the lake and were actually dragging their kayaks down the trail because the waves were too big. They looked, well, miserable. We were a little wet, but our MSR Hubba Hubba tent had kept us pretty clean that night.

12 comments:

LetsGoThrow said...

I bet I was probably just as miserable as those kayakers when I was running a marathon on Grand Island near Munising two weeks ago. We may have been there at the same time. Did you happen to stop in the Falling Rock Cafe? All the locals had mugs hanging on the wall. It made me wish that I was a local. Or at least a regular vacationer there. I'm not sure that I could handle all that snow. I almost died in Michigan snow once. That was enough.

Mr. Hill said...

We started in Munising, but didn't spend any time in town--spent more time in Grand Marais on the eastern end.

For part of the first day, we were looking out at Grand Island, though, and we were thinking it looked pretty hilly for your marathon. I bet it was brutal.

The snow does something to the locals. We had to do a little hitch-hiking, and the guy C conned into the ride was nice in a scary way. "Did you grow up on a farm?" he kept asking her.

Calypso said...

For some reason I am strongly reminded of the Travelocity gnome... I love it! I wish I could take a trip like that, just out in the wilderness for a while. Commercial campsites just don't cut it...

nathan_fisher said...

That's some pretty hardcore wilderness.

I've never been farther from civilization than Bozeman, population 32,000. It counts.

But as an aside, I have study hall first period. Would you be up for an assistantship again? Or would you rather get some fresh blood.

Mr. Hill said...

Hey, that's perfect, Nathan; first is my prep for fall semester. Grab any paperwork I need to fill out.

Mr. Hill said...

Interesting that you noticed the resemblance, Caly; Prospector said something about being related to that gnome. I had trouble understanding him, though, b/c he'd been drinking some of this blueberry mash he'd made at the time.

Calypso said...

I heard that you don't have a prep second semester and hence no assistantships, is that correct? And if so... that sucks.

Mr. Hill said...

No, that's not right. I have one 7th period in the spring. I must have misspoken to someone.

Calypso said...

Oh, alright! Awesome! I'll see what I can do...

Mr. Hill said...

Yeah, try to work that out. I could leave school early and if someone stopped by you could tell them I went for a walk or something.

LetsGoThrow said...

Watched Half Nelson today. So good.

marie said...

so great. "blue gold"... i wonder where prospector (and lucky) are today.