Just east of Moss Island, Lake Superior – September 10, 2013
Wally, you’re up.
“No I’m not.”
Yea, you are.
“It’s the tenth, you’re a day early.”
I know, but if I have to sit in this cabin waiting out the rain any longer I’ll end up reading one of these trashy romance novels I found.
“Don’t you mean reading another one?”
Wally, how are you going to throw me under the bus like that? Don’t pretend that you didn’t want to find out if Chrys would chose her career as a dancer over Anton de Casenove, the half Russian prince, half man of the desert.
“Who the hell spells Chrys with a Y?”
She’s named after Chrysanthemum.
“Well that makes me hate everyone in that book.”
What about Craig Ransom, with his huge, modern resort, threatening the small, family hotel run by Sandra Hamilton and her Aunt Vi?
“Don’t know, don’t care.”
But the even greater threat is the one Craig is having on Sandra ‘s heart!
“Craig Ransom? Are you kidding me? I’ve been repairing that nasty cut on the toe for a week, down in the trenches fighting infection cell to cell, and you’re talking about Craig Ransom and Chrys with a Y?”
Ok, sure Chrys gave up the career she’d worked her entire life to build for a man who’d kidnapped, stalked, threatened her with physical violence, and called her a “white skinned devil” and “English piece of ice,” but he was a half Russian prince and half man of the desert!
“It’s enough to make you cheer for the Bolsheviks.”
That’s a little harsh.
“Get over it. Those romance novel women aren’t your type anyway. Half your ex-girlfriends would have punched that prince in the face by the third page and sued Ransom’s hotel for systematic gender discrimination and sexual harassment.”
Ah, good times.
“Good times indeed. I’m so happy we’re almost done. It’s getting cold and I’m tired of repairing fifteen joints a night. What are we, less than a week away from finishing the loop?”
A week? No.
“What? But we’re almost to where we came into Superior at the end of the Grand Portage. How could it take us that long to get there?”
What makes you think we are going there?
We’re going all the way back to the Angle, Wally, the full circle.
“But…but…oh…haha, you are so funny.”
No, really, all the way back to the northern tip of the lower 48. We have to end where we began!
“Are you out of your flippin’ mind? No, absolutely not. I won’t go. I refuse. I am not about to haul everything up the Grand Portage. Once on this trip is plenty. No. No. No.”
Oh! Don’t worry about that. No, no, of course not, we’re not going up the Grand Portage, don’t be silly. We’ll go another way.
The one the voyageurs switched to when they moved their fort to Thunder Bay from Grand Portage.
“No Grand Portage? You promise?”
Don’t look so distrustful, Wally. No Grand Portage, I promise, cross my heart, pinky swear!
“Whew! You had me there for a moment. I was going to shut this place down if you tried to haul me up that thing.”
I would never do that to you, Wally. I love you! You’re the best!
“Wait a minute, what are you not telling me. I can see it in that shifty smile of yours.”
“The one under that silly bomber hat you’re wearing. What route are we taking back?”
It goes up the Kaministiquia River, Wally, that’s all I know.
Ok, fine. So all I know is that they switched the routes because the US was going to start charging taxes or something and this new route wasn’t ideal.
Well, they had to pay each man a bonus to go this way.
“A bonus? A bonus!?!”
On account of the difficulty.
“So you’re telling me they paid a bonus because hauling 180-pound loads up 8.5 miles at Grand Portage was the easier way?”
It sounds so dire when you put it that way.
“It is dire when I put it that way.”
Well, you said no Grand Portage and there will be no Grand Portage, what more could you ask for?
“No Savanna Portage either. No, no, no. Absolutely not. Will not do it. That thing barely existed through the swamp.”
Don’t worry, Wally. I mean, there is a portage up there that barely exists through a swamp, but it’s called the Savanne Portage and I’m sure the e makes all the difference.
“Do people say it’s impassible too?”
Of course, Wally, of course. And the Prairie Portage just before it too. Impassible all. But that was back in the sixties so who knows what they look like now.
“I’m sure another fifty years of deterioration has cleaned it right up.”
Maybe, no one knows.
“I bet we’ll find out though.”
I bet we will too, but first we have to finish Superior.