We departed last weekend on what was intended to be a circle tour around Lake Superior.
The theme, in a way, was water, as we circled the largest freshwater lake in the world.
How much the theme would become water had yet to be seen.
Our departure was planned for 10 am last Saturday. Naturally, this means that by the time we finished loading the car and worked out the many bugs of pulling a pop-up camper for the first time, we rolled out of town at 5:30 PM.
Miraculously, everyone was still smiling. A good sign for the (inevitable) future bumps along our journey.
Despite our late departure, we couldn’t resist a couple of detours along the way, then spent our first night in a free public campground somewhere between home and the lake.
The next morning we drove the final stretch to the Big Lake, and began our circle tour in Bayfield, WI, at a friend’s coffee shop (which seemed a logical place to start).
We went to the lake for a wade/swim, then started moving westward along the shore.
And then the rains began.
As we worked out way toward Duluth-Superior and our second camping stop, it rained.
And rained, and rained.
We set up camp in the deluge, our rain gear failing, our mattresses damp, and weathered the next two days of flash flooding, as our phones alerted us again and again to “seek high ground” from the storm.
In that imperfect way that we humans so often do, we saw this as an inconvenience for us, dampening our spirits and soaking our camping gear. It was raining (as it were) on our parade.
In truth, we had it easy.
We received news the next morning that the flash flooding we experienced on the south shore was nothing compared to what was going on at home. The Driftless, which has experienced multiple 100- and 500-year floods since we moved there in 2006, was underwater once again, at record levels even for this flood-prone region.
Our farm-sitter reports that aside from our driveway being rutted by runoff, we’ve faired quite well, but many of our friends and neighbors have not been so lucky.
This knowledge of how things are going at home, paired with our wet camper and wet gear as well as some hopefully minor car troubles that I’ll space you the details of, makes us feel pulled back homeward, perhaps sooner than we originally planned.
As this trip is our plan C already (after the fires chased us away from the Southwest and then the Canadian Rockies), we’re now mulling over the idea of a plan D: going only partway around the lake, then doubling back toward home to clean up from the floods (if we can get home at all, with all the bridges that are gone, that is).
Tomorrow there is more rain in the forecast.
Today, however, we have sunshine.
So we’re headed back to the lake. To hike, to pick rocks, to regroup, and watch the waves.
Where we go tomorrow has yet to be seen, but we’ll make the most of this break in the clouds, and send dry wishes home to our loved ones in the Driftless.