Five Days by Black Lake

If you’ve been following along with me, you may remember my huge relief at spending five days in Savage River State Forest in Maryland, where we had no electricity and no cell service for a glorious five days. That was extra peaceful and quiet because we’d been camped at Small Country in Virginia for two months and finally were “abroad,” away from 24/7 wifi and the dreadful news. 

Here at Black Lake campground in a Northern Wisconsin national forest, again we’re without connection to the outside world, and the relief is from a break in both the news and the heat.

We’re camped directly on this eerily tannic-stained lake, with sunsets each night over the water and a loon calling in the mornings. 

Yesterday I was out in the kayak when I was struck still by the presence of a bald eagle circling the lake overhead—a common sight here, but it surprised me so that I stopped flailing around with my paddle and looked up to wonder. 

Here’s a terrible shot I took from the kayak but you can see Tracy getting in the water, with the tent and the Airstream up on the hill behind him.

Back to Life in the Airstream as It Should Be

What’s been most welcome is a relief from the extreme temperature of the past few weeks. When parked in the sun, the trailer heats up like a bottle of water left in your car. We had been resorting to sealing her up and blasting the ac, then lying in the cool back bedroom for a couple of hours each afternoon, with the blinds drawn, reading quietly. Not how you experience nature.

Here we have no electricity and don’t need it. First thing after we parked, I opened all the windows and once again remembered why we bought an Airstream. The forest air moves through the large window over the sofa, down the hall, and through the large window over the bed like it’s an open verandah in here. The skylights show flickering tree branches above, and we keep the awning rolled up tight so the breeze can come at us from the lake. All windows open, all access to outside.

And as we did at Savage River, we’re keeping an eye on the solar intake and the battery level, but the only electricity we use is to charge our phones, and the only way we use our phones is to take photos of the lake. I think that’s a much more agreeable cycle of electrical use. 

The Usual Complaints

There are downsides, of course. My feet are covered in poison ivy blisters (yes, I know what the leaves look like and I try to avoid them). The screened tent is keeping us bug-free when we’re in it—wonderfully—but several mosquitos have taken up residence in the trailer and are so glad when we finally come inside at night. 

And I was  extremely satisfied to enjoy two pots of tea special black yesterday morning looking out at the lake and listening to the loon last night, 18 hours later, I was still buzzing with caffeine. 

I’ll blame my struggling paddle skills on that, too. Tracy is graceful sitting back in his kayak, rotating his paddle slowly while gliding through the water, looking around him and enjoying an effortless calm. Meanwhile I’m getting tangled in lily pads and flailing around like a slapstick character, rushing up to meet him then stopping to readjust myself and remember all his tips for better paddling, then rushing again. 

The beauty of the lily pads and blooms were worth it though, as were the lake grasses and the eagle.  I’ll keep trying.

Final Friends and Family Visit

Just as we’re melting into the northwoods for the summer, we’ve visited with family for the last time on this route. Tracy’s aunt and uncle plus his cousin and her son all generously drove to see us last night, and they brought literature about the area, plus local beer and wild strawberry cake. (Thanks Angela!) Tracy’s uncle Rick compared notes about the trailer (they’ve camped in Wisconsin all their lives), while Banjo attached herself to Aunt Kathie. I think Banjo knew this would be her final chance for attention from someone other than just us in a long while.

Our connections to people we know are lingering away. We still have one more of Deb’s beers in the fridge; in fact, my notes for blogging on my phone start with Tracy’s shout, “Jesus Christ, Deb, this beer is good!” We’re also making our way through the mead, the smoked fish, and the cheese curds. If I don’t get better at paddling my big kayak I’ll have to resort to working out by the trailer again, or I won’t fit in the hammock the next time I hang it.

Today is Friday, when this quiet, wooded campground by the lake will be quickly filled to capacity.  We’ve devised a plan to hang sheets along two sides of the tent for privacy depending on who moves in beside us, and Tracy’s going to get out on the lake in his kayak early.  I will not be drinking caffeinated tea but perhaps will be napping on my folding sofa in the tent, glad to be unable to read the news, glad to be feeling a breeze instead of the ac.

6 thoughts to “Five Days by Black Lake”

  1. Testing 1-2-3….are my posts posting yet? Send me an email if you read this. MM