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if your friends jumped off a bridge

<< Aug 22, 2006 @ 01:17 >>

I had to work a half day on Friday because there was a lot of work to do, but it was okay because Kyle had to do a half day, too. So the two of us headed up to Lake Superior's north shore for my first camping trip up there in a second car, a few hours behind the first car.

You had to hike your supplies into our camp site. The two of us set out on the hike through the forest. It was probably nearly a two mile trail. The dark came swiftly after the sun has dipped below the trees and ultimately the horizon. Our first steps into the woods included conversations about bears, wolves, and moose. I'd say it was sometime around mile one and a half when we were in the sun's last throes that I started to joke about grue, but it wasn't until near complete darkness that I realised there was in fact a nasty mythical forest creature to worry about after all, the Wendigo.

I can say with confidence, that of the two of us, I was not in fact eaten.

There's not much to do in the dark when you are camping besides eat, drink, and sit by the fire... so that's what we did that first night.

The next morning we feasted on the lamb, and the carp, and the orangutan, and the breakfast cereals (or maybe just the breakfast cereals), followed by a dip in the perpetually chilly Lake Superior. The swim was invigorating, and the water was crystal clear. My muscles felt like they'd be massaged by a big, burly, mustached woman when I finally got out for good, which was after I jumped off the rock back in the water and swam to a nearby rock island... like 20 feet away nearby. I'm not that crazy. The shoreline was pretty amazing. Quite identifiable billion year old basalt lava flows dump right into the water. And where the lava flows weren't, there was a fine collection of amazing petrified rocks. I present exhibit A:

an amazing petrified rock

The crazy thing was how light these rocks were, and how easily they broke.

When we got back to camp, we made a little vermin friend. This entirely too tame chipmunk was running around at our feet...

chip n' shoes

...and trying to grab my nuts.

chip n' nuts

We counted over 15 peanuts that he shoved into his little cheek pouches.

Right, so anyway we headed to the Temperance River for some exploring and hiking. It was fucking rad. This river had cut a deep, narrow gorge through the basalt on its way down to Lake Superior.

deep, narrow river gorge

There were many waterfalls and amazing rock formations, most notably perhaps the numerous perfect hollow tubes and circles cut into the rock. Even more amazing, I managed to capture the cause of these formations with my camera.

deep, narrow river gorge

For one reason or another, a divot gets knocked into the rock face, and a free rock or many rocks collect in this divot where they are swirled around by overpassing water, smoothly carving away a circular hole in the rock.

While we were hiking through the woods exploring all of this, I managed to get a little behind the group at one point. Out of the blue, hot searing pain. A yellow jacket lands on my arm and stings me twice, completely unprovoked. I curse and swear and brush the little fucker off. Luckily, having been stung by these unpleasant bastards in the mouth, just under the eye, and on the arms and legs more than once... I knew it would be nothing more than a minor inconvenience. I have something of an immunity to yellow jacket venom at this point. It stopped hurting almost immediately, and aside from a brief raised bump and red dot at the sting sites, the itching today is the worst of the discomfort.

We crossed a bridge over the gorge, and went off the beaten path to see what we'd see. We came to a dripping wet kid in a swim suit standing at a ledge overlooking a narrow crack with about a 50 foot drop to water below. Not only was it apparent that he was going to jump in, but it was obvious that he had before. We talked to him about it a little bit mostly because we instantly knew we wanted in on this shit. Then he jumped in...

reverse jumping angle

It doesn't look that high from this reverse angle, but just wait until you see me making this jump from the other vantage point.

We weren't in our suits, and there was more park to explore, so we headed off. We crossed over the road to get to the mouth of the river. I saw this middle-aged couple that looked awfully familiar. Nah. It couldn't be. Wait, they see me. They are waving. It really is them. What are the damn odds. Gray's parents just happened to be at this river.

"What are you doing here? How funny is this? Nice to see you."

"We'll let you go catch up with your friends."


Anyway, we found even more cliff jumpers down by the mouth. This cliff wasn't as high, and wasn't into a narrow gorge... which meant we had no second thoughts about trying it first.

me jumping off a cliff

It was probably about 40 feet. After our first jump we went right back up and did it again. Then it was on to the first cliff where that kid jumped. Here you can see things from the bottom looking up. This is the same place where that kid jumped earlier. It's probably 50 feet. That angle gave you an idea of how narrow it actually was from the spot of the jump, and this angle gives you a better idea of the height. Unfortunately the picture was snapped when I was just leaving the cliff edge.

me jumping off a scary cliff

You know you can click these photos to see a bigger version, right? On the way back to our cars for some delicious sammiches, Ranger Rick (who apparently saw us jump off the second, scarier cliff) stopped us to say that many people had died this way and that they don't want to see people get hurt. There were signs posted all over the place about how swimming was not recommended due to unpredictable conditions... namely rocks, logs, and currents. I'm glad we weren't ticketed or something. Then again, there were an awful lot of other people who jumped before us.

That's pretty much all the exciting stuff to report. There were no mosquitoes, the flies were not bad, it rained only at night (we missed the deluge Friday night with our bedtime timing by literally seconds). Our campsite was right on the lake, and the waves were quite loud on Saturday night. I read the "Guts" short story from Chuck Palahniuk's Haunted novel to everybody while we were around the fire.

They haven't found Kyle yet, but we're thinking he's probably okay.

The End (until the appendix).

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Reader Comments...

August 22, 2006 @ 08:57:10

jem.pngpamelaNeko (#1001)


August 22, 2006 @ 09:02:39

coleco.pngxopl (#001)

To be fair you can only see one. Maybe the other is smooth like a baby's butt?


August 22, 2006 @ 09:16:08

coleco.pngxopl (#001)

Appendix I: I don't think my knee appreciated the three impacts into water very much. Well, I mean my knee is either slightly injured and producing some fluid or the impact drove lake water into my knee.

Perhaps the fish tail protruding from the skin would be some indication.

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