Dennis and Grace are still asleep when I hike down to the beach.
On the way, I see my first cedar waxwing.
The beach is deserted, and I am alone with the sand and sky and water.
We promised Grace a lazy day with no hiking. But then we tell her of another falls and a lighthouse, and she’s all in for a three-mile “walk,” especially when we say she can take along a Littlest Pet Shop critter.
We stop to snap a picture of the Methodist Church (I beg to stay longer to visit on Sunday), and then we drive about 12 miles to the Hurricane River Campground.
We don slickers in the drizzle and keep our eyes on threatening clouds and ears tuned to occasional sky boomers.
We linger a moment at the place where the river flows into Lake Superior.
On the way to the falls, Grace points out Y’s in the trees and tells me how much my friend would love them.
It’s an easy flip-flop walk along the ridge to the lighthouse. The lake to our left churns around the rocks. We head down the steps to the beach and walk past the skeletal remains of shipwrecks.
It’s a sober reminder that floating in deep water is often the safest.
How our lives can be shattered if we don’t keep our eyes on the Light.
This is a particularly dangerous stretch of what’s known as the Graveyard Coast because of the shoal that stretches out about a mile and is only six feet deep in places. Ships often “coasted” with land in sight, so a sudden storm or thick fog could spell sudden danger.
We visit the Au Sable Light station on its 137th birthday. It went into operation on August 19, 1874.
We take a ranger-guided tour through the living quarters and wind our wrought-iron way up to the light.
We learn about the importance of the light and the role of the keeper.
Cedar waxwings frolic everywhere.
We’ve missed lunch so we stop for an early dinner at the West Side Diner and Deli–where the ceilings are tin, and fishing lures hang overhead.
The owner has just published her debut novel, South of Superior.
We’re sad because this will be our last meal here. We have to start for home tomorrow.
But then I remember I have my own novel to work on and a conference to attend.
And we walk the beach one last time.