Tahquamenon Falls

Tahquamenon Falls from Brink Overlook

We did our annual trip over to Tahquamenon Falls. Our Prius turned 100K on the drive over. First, we drove through the park. Our destination being the Brick Oven Bakery. They have a land line, but are otherwise off the grid. We bought two loaves of sourdough bread and a cinnamon roll. After our purchase, we hung around and discussed all manner of interesting things, like the weather. 😉

We were delighted to find that the proprietor is no fan of the orange menace or any of its ilk. On our way through Paradise, we saw two road signs, “Impeach Trump” and “#Resist”. So, even here in the heart of Trump country there is dissent. After this week’s treasonous Helsinki debacle, I can only pray that all true patriots rise up in protest of this Russian toady traitor of a president.

We headed back to the upper falls, snagged a cup of coffee and enjoyed our cinnamon spoils. Then it was off to the falls. We started with the gorge overlook, which is down river from the falls and a path that we had not yet traveled. As we were about to descend, another tourist announced to the world, “Well, that was a waste of time!” I couldn’t disagree more. It was an excellent boardwalk and newer than the brink overlook that we’ve traversed many times. The view may not be as spectacular as at the brink overlook, but it was good.

We descended the brink overlook next and then it was time for some lunch. We headed back to Paradise and Fresh Coast Café for a little something. It was mid-afternoon by then, so Anne and I split their Superior chicken salad sandwich. On the way back to the cabin, we stopped at the Dancing Crane Coffee Shop. This is easily the best coffee shop in the Soo area. We bought a bag of beans and a cup of joe to go. Then it was back to the cabin, where apparently wind and wave had blown all day, meaning that we didn’t even miss a beach day by leaving. 

Big Baby Mergansers

Mergansers In Front of the Cabin

Anne and I walked the beach this afternoon. As soon as I popped out of the woods, I spied a flock of mergansers and more importantly they spotted me too. They were directly in front of the cabin and before they got too far away, I got several el primo pics of them. I liked this one the best, because it doesn’t look like they are swimming away from me and you can see them in profile. There were actually about a dozen of the babies all told, but with of the combination of their fleeing and the intervening bouncing waves, I only managed to capture half of them in this photo, six babies in the frame are better than twelve out of focus.

This morning, Anne joined Gina and Dashie for yoga. I stayed at the cabin with the Units. Doesn’t cook. Won’t bite. In-between Harry and Gene’s morning ritual I snuck into the kitchen, heated some water and toasted a bagel. The water was for a cup of Starbuck’s instant latté (Val, thanks for the steer!) and the bagel was a Thomas everything bagel, which I slathered with whipped cream cheese. I made my escape again to the sleeping porch, with no one else being the wiser.

This all reminds me of a story that I would like to relate here. Year’s ago, when I still worked for a certain defense contractor in Saint Louis, which had decided to institute random drug testing, one of my buddies at work, who had gotten on the outs with the department manager, who had the authority to order these tests. My bud was “randomly” chosen trice and passed all three times. I too had my run in with this guy and soon enough it my turn in the barrel.

I reported to the nurse and obligingly peed in a cup. A few days later, I was again summoned, “Sir, your test came back positive.” “I can explain, I had a bagel for breakfast that morning, which had poppy seeds on it.” “Sir, I’ll set that excuse aside for the time being. While, poppy seeds might explain the opioids that we found, they certainly don’t explain the crack or meth.” “But m’am, it was an everything bagel.” 😉

Birds on the Brain

In Front of Cabin Loon

Anne got me up early today and we walked the beach before breakfast. On our walk, we first heard the loon and when we went in search of it, it dove and circled around behind us. It wasn’t until we had turned and were almost back to the cabin that I spied it and then captured this distant, but still decent picture of it. It dove again and can hold its breath for a long time and was not seen again.

The loon was serendipity. They are relatively rare around here, but what are more plentiful are mergansers. The following also distant, but still decent picture shows a mother merganser, with her about half-dozen chicks on her back. She and they were in the mist of fending off a seagull attack at the time.

Mother Merganser with Chicks on Her Back

The one unique to here large bird that I have not been able to capture yet are the Sandhill Cranes. I need to begin intensifying my search for them, because soon they will begin departing. We’ve seen a few, but circumstance have just not permitted our photographing any of them yet. Anyway, we’ll keep looking.

We have a new spotter scope that we’ve bought, but its unwieldiness combined with all of the mosquitoes that are about have made it relatively useless so far. Expeditions to Seney NWR are on the agenda. We did some excellent birding there last year and I hope for a repeat this summer. 

I am always surprised that I have taken up birding as a hobby. I always thought of it as an old person’s activity, but then, I’m an old person now. So, I guess I was right. Except that this hobby makes me feel young again, plus there is a community to participate in, which only enhances the experience and the community frequently includes real young people. I love sharing the thrill of the hunt. Be it just Anne and I or a whole throng of birders.

Today, we waded the short end of the beach. We scared most of the mergansers off the rocks, at the end of the beach, but were able to come quite closely to the one that remained. Having enjoyed the thrill of the hunt, plus the cooling lake water that we were wading through, we backed off before spooking this last bird. It is better to runaway to then hunt another day.