August 7, 2013 | Vol. 94, No. 184

Lake Gogebic saw best of times, worst of times

To the Editor:

Ghost wind haunts my midnight reverie and eliminates the need to whistle out from underneath the shadow of the tree.

I gaze at my large, framed map of Lake Gogebic, dated 1948. The lake was in days past much more isolated than at present. There was no Mackinac Bridge, and when the interstate freeway system money allotted by Congress began to run out, plans to extend the system to the “Soo” Locks were abandoned.

Being so isolated, it was a scary place to visit, especially for an imaginative young boy. Dwellings were few, and acres of forest often separated them. After a late-night visit to the outhouse, noises in the surrounding woods made that trip back to the cottage a quick one.

But then, the sun would rise again over the far shore, and so would begin another day of swimming, fishing for crawfish with a bit of bacon on a string, a walk to the local store, a hike to Alligator Eye or a special trip by boat or canoe on the Slate River to the falls.

Just up M-64 was the resort where we dove off the dock and sunbathed with the owners’ daughters. Rainy days were spent down in the game room at the main lodge.

The two dimensions of my map morph into three, and I envision the lake in reality from the southwest shore where most of my memories are caught among the rocks like driftwood.

Safe in the boathouse sleeping loft, I hear the rustle of the poplar leaves, the wind sending in the waves and the ripple of the brook. There are scents of pinewood, storm-delivered seaweed and a hint of disintegrating fish.

It was at Lake Gogebic that I first felt the pangs of puppy love, received my lever-action .22 rifle and experienced the best of times, as well as the worst of times, the former far outweighing the latter.

Now, in 2013, it is evident that “my lake” has indeed been discovered. In some cases, it has been suburbanized from the shoulder to the shore. It may be a blessing that there is no freeway passing close by Marenisco or Bergland.

And yet, though a bit more elusive, the basic natural simplicity is still there in everlasting, seasonal beauty, and as with all treasures, something to be shared.

“Mi lago, tu lago.”

Thomas Ylsabeck

Ironwood