“Next time.” I thought as I stood looking down a steep embankment, the only way into this bay. Holding onto a tree on the edge of the only remotely level ground, I looked at my son – certainly the adventurous fifteen year-old would be down for some bad idea fun – but he wasn’t going for it. “Nope.” was all I got.
“Next time.” the little voice in my head said.
The waves weren’t too high, but they were high enough to fill the bay entirely on occasion. If you spend enough time next to Lake Superior, you’ll learn that every 10th to 15th wave is bigger than you expect, and will come further up the shore and fill your shoes if you aren’t ready. The same went for this bay. Events had to be timed correctly, or I’d get wet and or any one of the bad scenarios my brain could conjure would occur, too. No matter what, I had to limit my exposure and keep my wits about me.
I went from tree to tree on my way down. Sliding. Scraping. Calculating. When I reached the floor of the bay, I was wearing a fair amount of red clay on my legs and backside. “Why am I down here again?”
I had a vision in my head that was driving my filter selection as I rifled through my bag. “Where is that adapter ring? Did I bring it?” Photography is a contact sport and will test your decision making in high pressure situations. I saw visions of myself being swept out into the lake each time a deafening wave would roll in. I couldn’t locate the filter adapter, so I had to hold my polarizer pressed against my lens with my hand. I took several shots; something would work. I would make it happen.
After what seemed like hours, but was really less than ten minutes, I went to scramble back up the hill. There was only one way and it required me to trust a vine-like root with my “healthier than two-bills” weight. The root was thinner than a pencil and the only thing between me and crawling up the embankment on my hands and knees, 45lb. backpack and all. Somehow, the root held, and the trip back up was easier than the way down.
The resultant image below makes the scene look calm and almost relaxed. That couldn’t have been further than the truth.