Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Hope Bay a gorgeous spot on Lake Huron

Wendy's family has been going to Hope Bay for summer vacation since the 1920s. Her grandfather built a sturdy green house called "Creaky Anteaky," and that's where we stayed. The house did literally creak in the wind and weather, but it was a beautiful piece of old carpentry work that still survives to this day. Many of the roof ribs are visible -- they're true 2x4s, and they are still in great shape. Wendy and I got to sleep in the crow's nest, which is surrounded by open windows with screens (critical in mosquito country). The cool evening breeze of the north country reminded me of my Minnesota childhood.

For the last five years, Wendy has been trying to convince me to fly my boys to Detroit, drive 6 hours north across the Canadian border into Ontario, Canada, to Hope Bay, and stay for at least a week. This year, we planned for it, and went for it. It was a fabulous vacation.

I thought I'd mention this in case you haven't heard of the Bruce Peninsula, a vacation-zone gem that is surrounded by Caribbean-like Lake Huron on both sides. The Peninsula stradles the Niagra Escarpment, a Limestone-Dolomite rock formation that extends from Niagra Falls to the tip of the Bruce Peninsula. Up there, the escarpment forms cliffs surrounding the bays, and there is a fantastic, well-managed and well-signed long-distance trail that spans the length of the peninsula. We day-hiked several sections of the Bruce Trail, and saw a number of long-distance backpackers and rock climbers. The trail is marked by paint stripes on trees, and there are many side trips provided as well. Kind of reminded me of the Appalachian Trail.

Perhaps the best part of the trip for me was to enjoy a ton of quality time with my family, and Wendy's extended family, in a relaxing setting that felt a world-apart from Idaho.

Rosie is doing great

I wanted everyone to know that Rosie has made a full recovery, and she's doing great.

As many people know from awesome media coverage provided by all four of Boise's TV stations and the Idaho Statesman, Rosie got lost while Wendy, my friend Norm Nelson and I backpacked into the Vanity Lakes on July 19-20. We were catching up to friends who already were camped in the lakes basin, northwest of Stanley. Rosie is an English setter, and she tends to roam, normally circling back to us. This time, she didn't circle back.

Wendy spent the weekend scouring the backcountry for Rosie, but she didn't turn up. We had to drive away from Vanity Summit on a Sunday afternoon with a bad feeling in our gut, hoping she would be found ... we placed some posters on trees, indicating that Rosie was lost.

Tom Hickey and his friends and family from Meridian hiked into the Vanity Lakes on the following Friday, and encountered Rosie at the downhill edge of the lakes basin. They were a little bit lost, and seeing Rosie above led them to the lakes. Tom said, "It was by the grace of god that she led us to the lakes, so we called her Gracie."

Tom and his group nursed Rosie back to health, wrapping her bleeding pads, and feeding her 8 trout over the weekend. She was physically exhausted and a sack of bones. Then Tom's son, the studly dude pictured above, and his friend, physically carried Rosie out of the woods.

When I met up with them on Sunday night, it was really emotional to see Rosie alive. I called Wendy, who was in Ontario, Canada, and she was incredibly thrilled and relieved, as were the rest of our family.
So anyway, many thanks to Tom Hickey's backpacking party for saving Rosie. We will be eternally grateful.