THE LAST RESORT





A Continuation of the 20+ Years of
LBLR CHRONICLES
August 2020


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The Calends  
of August  
It is now August and the sun is somewhat towards his declination, yet such is his heat, as hardeneth the soft clay, drieth up the standing ponds, withereth the sappy leaves, and scorcheth the skin of the naked.
-- Nicolas Breton (circa 1590)

Ah, yes! August.......the Jewel of the Summer months! But the Summer Season is short and passes quickly.......or as Shakespeare so eloquently put it in 1609:   Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.

Although the real midpoint of summer is August 8th, the traditional midpoint has long been thought of as being August 1st. Back in the old LBLR days, it was the "beginning of the end" of the resorting season. The arrival of the Calends of August meant that there were only two more weeks of a full resort. Those two weeks would then be followed by a rather sudden drop in business which would bring the quiet, lonely, feel of Autumn to the resort, even if the weather was hot and muggy. The resorting season was virtually over. Oh, there would be a few guests all the way into early November, but not many. It felt sad.......but in another way, the quietness of Autumn always brought some good feelings as well.
August 2nd   This was 6 years ago today; can you believe the kids at the resort had this talent (click HERE)? This hippo was added after the previous picture was taken (click HERE).
August 3rd   To see the annual early August "Autumn-is-Rapidly-Approaching" picture, click HERE.
August 4th   Someday I'm going to write a short dissertation about "the art of procrastination".......someday.
August 5th   Hey Ange, I'm glad that you rediscovered the Chronicles. Yes, we'll have to get together again when (and if) this darned COVID thing lightens up. Bring Jode.

By the way Ange, thirteen years ago yesterday, you arrived at LBLR for the first time after a several year absence. As I said at the time, "there are a couple of kids with them who didn't exist at the time of their last visit. Ya know, a lot of "kids" from my early years at LBLR are now bringing their own kids up here with them", of which you and Jode are prime examples. And that means that since Oliver wasn't around for your last trip, you'll have to take him there sometime in the future. Look at "Today's picture" at the top of this page (I'll leave it there for a few days in case you don't get at it today), and look at the Chronicles entries for the week beginning August 4, 2007.......they're HERE.
August 6th   What do I want to take with me on my summer vacation? Time......the wonderful luxury of being at rest. The days when you shut down the mental machinery that keeps life on track, and let life simply wander. The days when you stop planning, analyzing, thinking and just are. Summer vacation is my period of grace.
-- Ellen Goodman (circa 1975)

What a great thought for the start of a vacation!!!
August 7th   For today and tomorrow ignore what I said yesterday!

The plan:   Ride our bikes from Cass Lake to Park Rapids (50 miles) on the Heartland Bike Trail.
We hit the trail at 7:45 AM and arrived in Park Rapids about 3:30 PM; luckily we arrived minutes before a rather hard rain started. It was just a tad grueling for older (me, not Deb) amateur bikers, but it was fun and we made it.
August 8th   The plan:   Ride our bikes from Park Rapids to Cass Lake (50 miles) on the Heartland Bike Trail.
Again we hit the trail at 7:45 AM, but right from the start, things were a tad rougher than yesterday. First of all, a storm from last night blew lots of trees down on the trail between Park Rapids and Nevis (click HERE for a sample). Six or eight times we were forced off the trail, some with more difficulty than others, which set us back 45 minutes or an hour. At Nevis we stopped for ice cream and discussed the possibly of a storm coming up, but decided to press on rather than call one of our four on-call friends with pickups. When we arrived at Walker we were starting to hear thunder off in the distance and the weather sites were issuing severe storm warnings with high winds and possible hail. After some discussion of maybe "holing up" somewhere in Walker until the storm passed, we decided to contact one of our "on-call" friends, who just happened to be in Cass Lake at the time. They picked us up just before the storm hit, and drove us back to the car in Cass Lake. We ended up 22 miles short of our planned "100-miles in two days" bike trip, but we'll make those miles up later this week.
August 9th   There are people who are of the opinion that rain during a vacation is a distaster, but that's not necessarily true. A nice, relaxing, morning rain, expecially in a cabin by the lake, can be very pleasurable indeed. Click HERE for a view from cabin 2 at the moment, and HERE to see what we're looking forward to for the next hour or so. It's a pleasure.......AND it'll clear up shortly so we can take advantage of the lake's other pleasures.
August 10th   Ya know, sometimes a person should just look at things and think about things, without actually doing things...........vacation is a time for that.
August 11th   On July 3, 2013, seven years ago last month, my son-in-law, Jeff, pulled eight tubers on four tubes behind his boat for a modern era LBLR record (click HERE). Today, seven years later, the same son-in-law pulled ten tubers on four tubes behind his boat for a new modern era LBLR record (click HERE).
August 12th   6:00 PM:
Although it's probably the smallest one so far, click HERE to see the 2020 version of the Angst "at-the-lake" group supper. Incidentally, it was a surf & turf meal consisting of steak and shrimp francese, compliments of Tracie and Jeff. Deb is not in the picture because she was the photographer.

9:00 PM:
LBLR campfire.......and with sparklers even (click HERE).
August 13th   8:00 AM:
It's a cold (for August anyway), dark, and windy morning.......not good "at-the-lake" weather. Click HERE.

4:30 PM:
By noon the wind had eased up just a tad, so we put the finishing touches on our bike trip (see August 7th and 8th, above). We rode from Gunn Park to Grand Rapids, then from Grand Rapids to Bovey, then from Bovey back to Gunn Park. Today's mileage was 23.13, which brought our total to 100.18 miles in 11 hours and 12 minutes of peddling. We hit our goal of 100 miles, but due to stormy weather on August 8th, instead of doing it in 2 full days, we did it in 1 full day and 2 half days. Oh well.......
August 14th   The penultimate day of a vacation is tough. Some people want to sit around and do nothing but relax and enjoy being in an environment that's not normal for them; while other people want to squeeze into that last day all the fun they possibly can. But instead.......there's packing to do.
August 15th   Between 1992 and 2018, I watched over 2000 groups of people leave their cabins on the last day of their vacation. During that time I listened to tons and tons of people grumble about how bad it felt to have their vacation at LBLR come to an end. NOW I KNOW HOW THEY FELT! Sigh.......

Later:   Home again, home again, jiggety-jog.
August 16th   Nada.......
August 17th   This pond is on the Mesabi Trail a few miles west of Coleraine, click HERE. I don't really know why it's red, but one would think that I has something to do with the iron mines since it's in the same vicinity, and almost the same color as the huge piles of low grade taconite that are left over from the old mining days. I've traded emails with Aaron Brown, a writer, radio producer and college instructor who knows a great deal about the history, science, and politics of the Iron Range. His comment when I asked him about the color of the pond was: "I'm not a geologist, ecologist or hydrologist, all of whom could give you a clear and definitive answer to your question. I'm aware of some algae blooms that can turn ponds red, but it could also be the result of taconite tailings that escaped downstream from their holding pond." If anyone has a more definitive answer to why that pond is red, please let me know.

PS:   If you're interested in knowing more about Aaron Brown, click HERE.
August 18th   Nothing of interest happened today, hence, no entry. But it's not even 8:00 AM yet.
August 19th   Speaking of a nearly empty resort causing "sad but still nice" feelings (see the August 1st entry, above), consider this: A vacation spot out of season always seems to have a very special magic. No doubt Tim and Monica have cabins at LBLR available in the Fall. So if you're interested in experiencing the quiteness and the "very special magic", (not to mention good fishing) that Autumn brings to LBLR, give them a call at 218-328-5037 (or click HERE to go to their web-site), and make a reservation for the fall.......I did.
August 20th   Two days ago (and after 4 1/2 inches of rain) Little Bass Lake tied a record for the highest level in the Modern Era. It was 1283.06 feet above sea level, a level which it also attained on May 14, 2008.

If your interested, the lake's lowest level in the Modern Era was on August 11, 2006 when it got down to 1281.95 feet above sea level. Therefore, the difference between its highest and lowest levels is a tad over 13 inches. By the way, historically August has been the month with the lowest water levels, but this year it contained the highest level. As Sherlock Holmes would say, "Most singular indeed, my dear Watson". And incidentally, the highest water levels usually occur in late May or early June.
August 21st   Hmmm....... Here's a thought:

For many years I've been referring to my time at LBLR (1992 to 2018) as the "Modern Era" (see the above entry for an example). That poses the question: what should Monica and Tim's time at LBLR (2018 and beyond) be called? The "Neomodern Era or the "Postmodern Era" immediately come to mind as possibilities, and both terms (as well as the Modern Era) have been applied to movements in Philosophy and the Arts for particular points in history. However, for no particular reason I prefer the term Postmodern over Neomodern, so we'll use that.

But there are still two periods of time to consider: the Jellison Era (1933 to 1972) and the Anderson Era (1972 to 1992). Although terms like the "Classical Era" and the Neoclassical Era" would work adequately, how about if we simply refer to them as the Jellison Era and the Anderson Era? That would be much simpler, but I'd still like to stick to Modern and Postmodern for the later Eras. By the way, in the 1990s an article in the DNR magazine "Conservation" mentioned that the average length of ownship for a small resort was 8 years. Compare that to LBLR. Clyde Jellison started it in 1933, "to give his wife something to do" as he was so fond of saying at the time, and 39 years later he sold it to John Anderson. John kept it for 20 years until he sold to me in 1992, and I had it for 26 years before I sold it to Tim and Monica in 2018. That's an average of 28 years per owner, which is 3 1/2 times the norm of 8 years.

Before you say it, let me say it first:   Yes, I have too much free time on my hands.......but NO, I don't need a job!!!!
August 22nd   Today is another "pass" (so far anyway).
August 23rd   A haircut on the shore of Little Bass Lake. Click HERE. A note to my buddy Gary in San Pancho: Go ahead and make any comments you like about not seeing any hair to cut. I'm used to it.
August 24th   THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES!

This is one of my earliest LBLR memories, and it's a very pleasant one indeed. On Saturday, June 20, 1992 (over 28 years ago) my first customers arrived at LBLR. The next Saturday morning when their week at LBLR came to an end, we all said good-bye, and they left. That evening I wrote a letter to my Dear Aunt Janice in Michigan, and gave her an account of my first week with customers. It included the following passage:

I had four cabins rented this past week, and among the guests were 7 kids (5 girls and 2 boys between the ages of 7 and 14). When they left on Saturday morning I got 3 hugs from each of the little girls, and 1 hug from each of the three Moms. That's 18 hugs!!! I got 18 hugs my first week on this job.......I worked 24 years for IBM, and in all those years I didn't get a single hug. I like this much better.
August 25th   This resort season, which is just about at its end, was the 89th one for LBLR. The Jellisons had 40 of them, the Andersons had 20 of them, I had 26 of them, and Monica & Tim are finishing their 3rd one already. Tempus Fugit! Of all the little resorts that I'm familiar with, the only one that has been around longer than LBLR (which was started in 1932), is Sunset Point Resort on Bass Lake which was started one year earlier. A lot of resorts which appear to be older, really aren't.......Back O' The Moon resort, for example, was started with one cabin in 1946. Does anyone know of any older ones? Gary (in Tennessee) and Laurie (in North Carolina), do either of you know when the resort from your younger days (near Walker) was started?
August 26th   Here is yet another little known LBLR fact which is not germane to anything (ie, "it's neither here nor there", as the saying goes):

During Labor Day weekend in 1994, my Dear Daughter Tracie broke the little finger on her right hand while she was water skiing on Little Bass Lake. During Labor Day weekend in 1995, she broke the little finger on her left hand while she was water skiing on Little Bass Lake.
August 27th   In these golden latter days of August, Nature has come to a serene equilibrium. Having flowered and fruited, she is now enjoying herself. I can see how things are going, it's a down-hill business after this. But for the time being, it's like swinging in a hammock.......such a delicious air, such a graceful repose!
-- Charles Dudley Warner (1870)

It's now the "golden latter days of August", and Mr. Warner's words are perfect.
August 28th   THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES!

Entry for August 28, 2016 (4 years ago today):
Yesterday an Osprey caught a large fish and was flying over the lake with it when an Eagle (much larger than the Osprey) took notice and decided that he'd like to make of meal of the Osprey's catch. What ensued reminded me of a World War II dogfight between Nazi and Allied fighter pilots. Again and again the Eagle, being the faster flyer, would zoom in for the kill but the Osprey, apparently more maneuverable, would turn away just before contact and open up the distance between them. The Eagle would then circle back, pick up speed, and come in for another attack. This attack and evasion occurred six or eight times before the Eagle finally gave up and flew away. What a spectacle!!!!!

Note added today:   I was in a small fishing boat at the time, and I wish I had had a camera with me. Even today, all I can say is the same thing I said at the time: What a spectacle!!!!!
August 29th   THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES!

Here's another "Eagle losing a battle" story, but this one never made it into the Chronicles until now. One spring in the late 1990s, Bob Frey and I were trolling for Northerns in a small fishing boat on Little Bass Lake. As we trolled through Beaver Bay we noticed a Loon sitting on her nest, and across the bay an Eagle was sitting in a tree watching her. Between the two, a second Loon was sitting in the water watching the Eagle, and occasionally he would give the short low Loon call which often means that there's an Eagle in the vicinity. As we continued to fish, we trolled through the bay and around the bend into Landing Bay, where high cattails blocked our view of the nest and the Loon in the water, but we could still see the Eagle in the tree. Eventually the Eagle flew out of the tree and dove at the Loon sitting on the nest, which was unfortunately just out of our sight. Almost immediately he flew up a short distance, and dove again. We presumed that he was after the Loon and/or the eggs in the nest, and that the Loon on the nest was fighting him off each time he dove at her.

After watching this happen several times, we pulled in our lines, and headed back toward Beaver Bay where we could see the nest, and maybe watch the actual battle. As we slowly traveled around the bend with our little 6-horse motor, the "attack and repel" sequence continued. But just as we turned the corner back into Beaver Bay and got into position to see the nest, the Eagle gave up the fight and flew off. The Loon that was in the bay between the nest and the Eagle apparently never got involved in the fight; like us, he just watched the action from a distance. Apparently, a Loon is a tough competitor in a fight, and like the aerial battle in yesterday's story, that was quite a spectacle.
August 30th   Nuthun'.
August 31st   [August is]
Like a quick kiss;
One wishes for more
But it suddenly turns to leave,
Dragging summer away.

            -- Elizabeth Maua Taylor

Hmmm........ Elizabeth was right. August just arrived and already she's turning to leave. Oh well, September has her pleasures too.

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E-Mail: jerry@littlebass.com