Road Warriors 5, Day 5: The Fight

Sunset over Lake Superior

August 17, 2013

We got up and made leftover potatoes and some eggs for breakfast. Then we went to the beach and hung out for a while. Took a walk to the rocks.

[And here is where, as I sit and write this, I realize my trip journaling skillz — ever been to Zorbaz? never mind — are leaving just a bit to be desired, as I have not ranted and raved about this actual campground anywhere. So I shall need to depart from my lame spiral notebook for the first time, though surely not the last]

This campground is like… paradise. True, the sites themselves are not super private, nor are they anything to write home about. But it’s far from the ghetto, despite Jan and Wes’s continued complaints (we got the better of the two sites) But right across the road — and right out your campsite if you are lucky enough to score a site on the west side of the campground road — is this BEACH. With this VIEW. That beckons to you to sit. And do nothing.

Which is exactly what we did. All morning. And last night. Picture roll…

Agawa Campground Beach

Sunset Cee-gar

The teenagers

[back to journal]

After several hours on the beach, just hanging out, Dave planned a hike for us. The girls had no interest whatsoever. They had their bikinis on, snacks out and a grand plan to cook in the sun. We talked Charlie into coming with us. We set off at about 1:30 for Orphan Lake and Katherine Cove, taking two cars so that we could do the Coastal hike and not have to do a loop or an out-and-back hike.

It was a pretty trail. Kind of rugged, not too many people. Early on, we got in to a huge area of blueberries and picked enough for pancakes in the morning. We literally had to drag Wes away. He can be a wee bit compulsive. I mean seriously. This behavior swings sharply in my favor in May and June during Morel Mushroom season (my birthday present when I’m lucky), but I have not ever had to stand and wait while he picked just “few more” morels. Actually that would be pretty cool. But we had enough blueberries, already. COME. ON WES!

Blueberries on the trail

Wild Blueberries!

The trail spit us out on a rocky beach — think large, smooth, round Lake Superior stones, a foot deep. Your feet literally sink in to the rocks. We apparently had to walk 1 km along it to reach the next part of the trail, where we would scramble up the cliffs and climb a tall peak and continue on the trail along the lake. It was harder than you can imagine. Way, way more difficult than walking in sand. Ugh. One kilometer felt like three miles.

At the end, Dave ran into and talked briefly with, a guy who said that the Coastal Trail to Katherine Cove was “really far” and would take a “really long time.”

So, *bam* we are no longer hiking the planned route. Just like that.

Now, why Dave — who was so positive and literally so sure and confident prior to this conversation that our planned route would be a very doable 8 km that could be completed in about 3 hours — would so quickly and suddenly take this guy’s word for it and suggest we turn around, is anyone’s guess. My theory is that his confidence was false confidence. This is known in other families as lying. But let’s be generous and call it false bravado. The outcome is the same: he should not be believed. Pretty much ever.

As a side note, Jan, who was with Dave during the conversation, describes this guy who was with his older son as “scary.” She said that if she ran in to them while hiking with a girlfriend she would “fear for her safety.” [I don’t know why this has relevance, but it’s in the journal, so…]

**Shoot. The streak is over. Dave just asked me to drive. I knew I’d jinx myself. Maybe he had a vision that I was getting to the part of the hike where he was a complete jerk and I got mad. That would make him clairvoyant and if that were true, life would be a lot more interesting. Either way, it’s time for me to drive,**

OK. I’m back. Blah. That was no fun. I drove for about four hours and listened to an audiobook called “We are all Completely Beside Ourselves.” I listened to Morgan sing with her headphones on. *sigh* I listened to Charlie complain about her singing. There were lots of stinking farts. ANYWAY… back to yesterday.

The rocks at the end of the beach

So we ended up hiking just another mile or so, along the Coastal Trail to the top of the peak I described earlier called Bald Eagle Peak. Then we turned around and went back the way we came. I was very unhappy about having to walk on that rocky beach again. So, instead I decided to run it. And as crazy as that sounds, it was way, WAY easier than walking. The down side was that I had to wait a really long time for the walkers to catch up. I chatted with some random people milling around on the beach to pass the time.

It was hot and Dave took the plunge again. What the HECK?

Cooling off in Lake Superior

We continued back to the car around the other side of Orphan Lake, passing some pretty falls, which we explored by walking down a steep side trail. It was a crashing and majestic waterfall for August. Dave, Charlie and I poked around. Charlie and I reconvened on the trail and waited for Dave.

Playing near the falls

And waited.

And waited.

We walked up the trail a bit.

We yelled.

We walked all the way back down to the falls.

And yelled.

And whistled and whistled and whistled. (I can whistle VERY loud. I was very nearly deaf from my own whistling.)

I’m not gonna lie. I was trying not to panic — remember, Charlie was with me and while he acts all cool and whatnot, his nickname is still StormBoy. And CaveBoy. And MothBoy. That won’t make any sense to you, but rest assured, he is susceptible to panic, and I didn’t need that on my conscience.

Seriously, what the heck. Did he go over the falls? That’s the only explanation. Where else would he be? He wouldn’t have left without us. No way. We’d been calling and waiting for at least 15 minutes. And just when I was at my wits end, we heard what might have been a person yelling. We decided to continue and hope and pray it was Dave.

About a quarter mile later we passed a bag of chips impaled on a stick. Ostensibly this was a sign that Dave was alive.

And now the question that begs answering: Was I happy about that.

He not only was alive, but he left us a bag of chips from the backpack he was carrying. Was he trying to be funny? As Charlie bent down to retrieve the chips, I quickly stomped on them, crushing them beneath my foot, as my blood began to boil — the likes of which I have not experienced since the Black Rage. [nor since]. Charlie slipped in to his peace-making mode and tried to talk me off the cliff. He’d witnessed these fights during Road Warriors of year’s past. He knew what life would be like for the next day or so if I was really as mad as I appeared to be, now that we knew Dave was alive and well…

It did not help in the least that we did not catch up with him for another ten minutes and bag of soft dried mangoes impaled on a stick later.

[Oh how I wish I would have taken pictures of those signs of Dave’s beating heart. I do admit as I write this, that it was sort of funny.]

I will not dwell on this more than necessary, but in short, he saw absolutely nothing wrong with disappearing by a cliff next to a waterfall, continuing to hike without telling anyone by blazing a trail on the other side of the river [I, to this day, do not know how he got back across and I still refuse to ask him] all while his wife and son searched in vain. — “What?” and “Are you mad??!” and “Why didn’t you just keep hiking?” and “Did you seriously think I went over the water fall?” These were the questions he asked me. The idea that you would just leave your family behind astounds me. [It STILL astounds me.] If we learned anything at all during our teen years, it’s that you never leave your wing man. Never. Dave is no better than Maverick was. And now Goose is dead.


I spent the remainder of the hike in a haze of anger so profound it made me literally breathless. Then, somehow, by the grace of God, I was able to simply let it go and called a truce in the car. If that isn’t proof of the existence of God, then I don’t know what is. [Right Dad? Can you — or anyone who knows me –imagine me just letting this go? Well I did. And it was truly miraculous.].

To the best of my knowledge, he never did apologize. He did, however, thank me for calling the truce. So I guess that is something.

[Seriously though people, it’s been almost 10 months and I haven’t been that mad again. What is with stupid men and their cluelessness?? OK I’m done.]

We hiked a total of three and a half hours. It was a good hike. The Koo’s made foil dinners while Jen and Dave had beers on the beach and watched the sun set. Astoundingly beautiful. The kid’s (most of them) helped prep the veggies and we played another hysterical round of Celebrity.

I love these road trips.


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  1. says

    Well done…I SAY…WELL DONE!!

    Most wonderful story telling as well as gorgeous photos and “you are a better man than I Gunga Din” – for the letting go :) !!

    Love, Love, loving this RW series.

  2. Sharon says

    You are a great story teller, Jennie. I too would have been furious had that been Stephen. It’s not funny!
    Looks like a gorgeous place to camp with your children and friends. What’s planned for this summer?

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