Thursday, January 29, 2009

No point in procrastinating

Lisa tagged me with a fairly simple request. The rules are:

1. Go to the 4th folder in your computer where you store your pictures.
2. Pick the 4th picture in that folder.
3. Explain the picture.
4. Tag 4 people to do the same.

I do have some photos stashed on the computer here at work, some of which I even remembered to label, a definite plus when it comes to explaining pictures.

The photo above is of the Excelsior Brownstone Quarry on Hermit Island. Hermit Island is part of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore (and why is it no surprise that most of the photos I have stashed on the computer at my current job relate to my old one?). The photo was taken on a cold, dreary, rainy October 5, 2006. I was at Apostle Islands to lead a workshop training park-based staff in how to use two databases, the List of Classified Structures and the Cultural Landscapes Inventory. I'd spent the previous six months or so prepping for the workshop, coordinating with the park, working out details on where we'd do some field work, and promoting the workshop like crazy to the various parks in the Midwest Region.

The Plan was we'd spend a half day at headquarters with me doing a demo of the databases, and then we'd head out into the field for 2-1/2 days of actual data collection, a real live inventory of an existing resource, a historic landscape that included over a dozen buildings, a site that had no decent recent photos, condition assessments, or other information, and we'd have a good time doing it. Apostle Islands in early October -- it would be gorgeous. The folks coming from other parks would love it. They'd get to see lighthouses, fish camps, The Lake. We'd all learn a lot, I'd get to fill in gaps in the database, and we'd all be happy.

Assuming, of course, the weather cooperated.

It didn't.
Not only did it rain like crazy, there were gale force winds. (The boat on the horizon in the above photo is an ore carrier about 1000 feet long. The fact it was that close in to Sand Island is a sure sign things were pretty nasty farther out.) Park boats were effectively grounded. The site we had planned to practice on was on an island that we couldn't get to. We found ourselves trapped on the mainland, at headquarters, with me explaining the LCS and CLI over and over and over and over. Groundhog Day, but not as much fun. We did get a small break -- we went out to Little Sand Bay for a tour of the Hokensen Fishery (part of which is shown above), and spent some time sloshing around in the rain talking about condition assessment, the LCS, and evaluating landscapes for the CLI -- but mostly we were trapped at headquarters. Parks had spent good money sending people to this workshop -- I couldn't bring myself to just tell them to go, wander the streets of Bayfield, find a bar, enjoy yourselves.

And then the tour boat company saved our sanity. I can't remember who worked it out, or how (although I'm thinking it was probably the guy who was the park's chief of resource management at the time), but the Apostle Islands Cruise Company gave us passes for an abbreviated version of the Grand Tour. The weather was still too nasty for the boat to do the full cruise into the open lake past the Devil's Island sea caves, but it got us out of headquarters and on to the water. Folks from Buffalo River, Herbert Hoover, and other parks were able to see the Raspberry Island Lighthouse, the Manitou Fish Camp, and Excelsior Brownstone Quarry, albeit only from the water. (The tour boat was considerably larger than the park boats, hence, it could handle waves the park wasn't willing to risk.)

I didn't know it at the time, but the LCS/CLI workshop was my last trip to APIS. So now when I look at the photos from that trip my feelings about the experience are definitely more complicated than they were at the time.

I'm tagging Ranger Bob, DaveO, the Attentive Aphorist, and LegalMist. They all seem to be pretty good at coping with weirdness, and should have photographic evidence to prove it.


  1. Wow! I'm glad I tagged you with that since we got a great story out of you. The best laid plans...

    How bittersweet that trip turned out to be. Thanks for grabbing this one and running with it.

  2. I just saw that on another blog. The picture was two women having a ball at a dance I was at last October. We all had a ball that night.


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