Angle to Key West: Leaving Windigo (7/30)

Long Point, Isle Royale National Park – July 30, 2012

I woke up to thunderstorms, lightning, and a sky twisted dark with clouds. So I sat and waited.

Windigo becomes a family of familiar faces after a while. There’s the mother and her son playing cards down at the pavilion. They remind me of my mom and me on trips back when I was his age.

There’s the two cruisers with their sailboat who I cooked dinner with last night and talked about learning to sail. They told me the Mississippi would be rough and it’s not like Huckleberry Finn anymore.

There’s the father who’s visiting his son that works in the store. We sat on the ranger station deck and talked about the giant glass lens that used to shine in the lighthouse seven miles away.

“Art like that doesn’t exist anymore,” he said. “Now its all electronics in a box.”

There’s the two yachters in their dingy who came in to use the store’s internet connection.

“Is it working today?” the man asks me.

There’s the woman who works in the ranger station that says hello in such a way that you feel at home and who spent half an hour pointing out her favorite places on a map to help me plan my trip around the island.

“Hopefully we’ll see you here again in a week,” she said, her voice genuine.

There’s the man giving the ranger talk to the ferry-boat arriving from Grand Portage. He throws in as many jokes as he can to keep it interesting. Every morning another boat arrives and someone has to go meet it.

There’s the younger guy who guided sea kayak trips in San Francisco and told me how Windigo got its name. We talked about kayaking and he was patient enough to answer a dozen questions about technique that have bothered me.

I sat at the ranger station for a while, then the bench below the store, then the pavilion by the dock, always watching the sky and talking with whomever passed by. Sometimes I wondered if I wanted it to stay dark so I had an excuse to spend another night.

It’s hard to leave so many friendly faces, but then blue broke through the grey, the sun spilled out in the early afternoon, and the wild called.

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