Shipwrecks, Superior, Sailing, Survival

Last week I had the opportunity to see Gordon Lightfoot live in concert. I am not a huge fan, but have a great appreciation for his music. It was almost magical hearing him perform The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald considering that today is the 40th anniversary of the ship’s sinking. Over a decade ago, Paul and I had the opportunity to go the Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Bay on Lake Superior near the location of the wreckage. I remember really enjoying the tour of the lighthouse there. I can’t imagine the solitude of being a keeper of the light over the cold lonely winter months. The summer months alone offer cool temps and solitude.

After touring the museum and lighthouse, we walked along the shore of Lake Superior. Even on the warmest summer days, the water is too cold to swim in. A few minutes of exposure gives you the pins and needles feeling. The average surface temps of the water are between 32 F and 55 F, so if you are thinking of visiting in the summer make sure to bring a winter coat. I have seen very hot days of 90 F on Lake Superior, still not a lot of swimmers.

On the way back, we stopped for a whitefish fry in Paradise. Then winding our way  back down Upper Michigan, we stopped at Tahquamenon Falls State Park to view the waterfalls. We decided spontaneously to take a hike from the upper falls to the lower falls and back. It was a total of 8 miles. This was before I became a runner. Why I thought that hiking an eight mile rustic trail in flip flops was a great idea, I will never know. Upper Michigan is an absolutely beautiful area to travel. If you do get the chance to put your feet in the water of Lake Superior that would be a great bucket list item. Or better yet, sail all of the Great Lakes. That may end up on my bucket list soon.

Last night I dreamt that my husband wanted me to go sailing with him on Lake Superior. I remember feeling trepidation towards those trepid waters. I woke up thankful that the sailboat is tucked away in hibernation for the winter. Absolutely no way we could be tempted to take a quick sail on Lake Superior even if it has been a warm November. I couldn’t fathom sailing or being on a ship on Lake Superior in November with hurricane winds and during a blizzard. Imagine if you can getting sprayed with ice cold water with 20 to 30 foot waves. I remember getting sprayed with cold water in 4 foot waves and that was bone chilling enough for me. That was in the middle of summer.

If you want a true survival show experience I would suggest November on Lake Superior. I bet even the producers of Naked and Afraid know that the survivalists probably wouldn’t even make it one day there. A couple years back, Paul went ice fishing on Lake Superior. It was during that weekend that Lake Superior claimed the life of the Lake Superior ice fishing expert and guide. What a fearful place, the lake that is so cold that it doesn’t give up its dead.

The lake does draw people in like a siren with its immense beauty. I would like to see the ice caves, only made under the right conditions, along Lake Superior. I have toured the Apostle Islands. I also toured the Pictured Rocks, someday I will show you those pictures. They are absolutely breathtaking. Someday I may even be brave enough to sail on Lake Superior. It is beautiful enough to draw me in, but it can’t keep me.

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