Thursday, September 18, 2014

To Houghton After The Gale

Dave and Amy Freeman—2014 National Geographic Adventurers of the Year— are paddling from Ely, Minnesota to Washington, D.C. to protect the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Sig traveled by land to Houghton, MI and so did I. A gale churned up 40+ knot winds and 15 foot waves on Lake Superior on Wednesday. (See Dave’s video clip of the gale.) No way were we going to sail to the Portage Lake District Library in time. Our team discussed the options and we came up a practical solution: Olivia, Sig and I would drive to Houghton while Dave, John and Yemaya would sail once the waves died down.

At the presentation in Houghton I was taken aback by the passionate people who filled the room. There were so many thoughtful questions and words of encouragement. We gathered many petition signatures that night. Chris, the librarian gave us local honey and box full of vegetables—her share from the CSA. Connie, who we just met that evening, took us in for several nights. Thank you to the Portage Lake District Library and FOLK for making the event possible. Thank you to Chris, Connie, Larry, Don and Lynn for making our stay in Houghton a memorable one.

As Olivia and I waited for Dave and John to arrive, we caught up on office work and managed to have a little fun too. On Friday Connie took us hiking at Canyon Falls on the Sturgeon River so we could marvel at just how much water was deposited from the recent storm.

The day got even better when Connie told us that Arun Gandhi (grandson of Mahatma Gandhi) happened to be speaking at Michigan Tech that evening. Did we want to go? What an honor to have the chance to hear him speak! He shared his grandfather’s lessons of peace and nonviolence. Perhaps the statement that resonates most with the expedition at hand is his explanation that wasting resources is violence against nature.