IT WAS Labor Day weekend, and I arrived at the campsite on Friday. I could tell right away that this was going to be a good trip because one of the members of our camping party brought his big boat. This vessel was a 25-footer with all the fishing gear a man could use on the big lake, the Lake they call Gitchie Goomie in the land of Hiawatha Lake Superior. He brought downriggers, water skis and a state-of-the-art fishsponder.
We were camping at the Black River Harbor campsite about one-eighth mile south of Lake Superior in Northern Michigan. There were about ten of us camped out, and we were ready to have a good time of it.
No mans land
As the night crept in, the wind began to pick up just a bit, and the creatures of the nocturnal realm began their nightly rituals, their instinctual song and dance; after all, this was no mans land, as Bob Seger puts it. The trees were glowing red and orange in the heights as I gazed up into the heavens. It was the clamber of the fire mixed with the autumn colors and the warm summer breeze that gave me a warm and comforting feeling with my surroundings.
As the night settled in, one by one the camping crew nestled into their sleeping canopies. A few stayed up drinking beer, fueling the fire and enjoying the Indian summer that had been gifted to the land we encroached upon. It was truly a feeling of being in tune with nature on this fine Saturday morning. As everyone else began getting up early for the start of the fishing tournament on the big lake, I was ready for a nap, along with a few others.
When I awoke a little later, there were only a few people remaining at the campsite. By now others were just pulling in. A couple of us volunteered to make some grub for the crew. Brats, burgers, and pork and beans sizzled over the campfire. It was the staple for the day. The rest of the crew was out fishing on the boat.
Now it was late in the evening and Steve C., the boat owner, and his crew came in from the lake. He had left the boat moored in the harbor. They had strung the days catch of lake trout and coho salmon on an embankment to show of their prizes. They werent trophy size, but plenty big for the next days smorgasbord. This had been a long day for me, so it was, Nookomon time for me, sleep.
The night run
I was awakened at about two in the morning by one of the campers who told me that they needed a couple of volunteers to go into town for a cigarette run. Everyone else was had been drinking and could not drive into town as it was miles away. I got up and grabbed some campfire molasses coffee still sitting by the fire and gulped it down. Wayne said he would make the cigarette run, and I offered to go along for company.
I jumped into Waynes LaSabre, and we were off to town heading south. The night was a little breezy with a warm southern front and partly cloudy skies cluttering up the stars. It was a nice night.
As we drove on about a mile or so, we saw something in the distance on the road ahead. Its eyes reflected back to us. Wayne kept driving, but had started to slow down when we noticed it was a raccoon running around in circles in the middle of the road. He slowed down a bit more, thinking that the raccoon would scare and run off.
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