Hiawatha

We were camped in a forest near Iron Mountain, Michigan. With any luck, we’ll cross into Wisconsin tomorrow afternoon and continue westward. We crossed from EST into CST earlier today (which are the east coast and central american time zones).

I want to share a brief story from yesterday.

The sun had been beating down on us for hours as we rode west through the vast Hiawatha State Forest, hugging the northern shore of Lake Michigan. We spotted a small island not far off shore. It appeared to be uninhabited. I thought it’d be fun to swim out and explore the island.

We pulled off and laid our bikes behind a sandy dune, stripped down, and waded in toward the island. The sound of seagulls engulfed us as we neared the island’s shore. We clambered up onto the island and immediately saw what all the racket was about – we had just landed in a seagull colony, or a breeding ground.

We could see adorable baby seagulls sitting in their nests under bushes and behind rocks. We steered clear of the babies, so we wouldn’t infuriate their parents. We turned a corner onto the southern shore of the island and came upon the chief source of the raucous sound.

Hundreds upon hundreds of seagulls were gathered together. When they spotted us a few dozen took to the air, and they all started making even more of a racket than before. Clearly we were unwanted guests.

It wasn’t until they started diving at us from above that we were fully aware of how upset they were that we were in their island. When we would look one way, they would dive at us from behind, screeching, nearly grazing the tops of our heads with their feet, then veering off.

We huddled together back to back, and worked our way back to the beach we’d landed on. We pushed off into Michigan’s frigid waters and made our way to the dune where we’d stowed our bikes.

P.S. We saw a different kind of road kill earlier this evening – a giant diamondback rattlesnake. Another creature we must look out for now.

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(The island in the background is the one we visited)

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