The weather forecast was ominous - thunderstorms, 15 foot waves, and a gale warning already in full effect. My kind of weather!
I strapped on my backpack and made for Mosquito Beach. The glimmer of sunlight I saw for a few minutes on my way in was quickly replaced by a torrent of nasty sleet as I neared my backcountry campsite.
After I pitched the tent and got everything set up, I began scouting the area. It was instatnly obvious the waves and wind really were playing for keeps. As I watched these unbridled forces of nature clawing at the shoreline, it was easy to see why Superior holds the dubious honor of being the most deadly of the Great Lakes.
Scouting revealed the spot you see in the photo. I decided this would be the ideal area this evening, and headed back to camp for a little freeze dried dinner. I knew I needed to finish eating, filter some water, and get back to the location with plenty of time to fine tune a composition. It was probably just over a mile round trip from my camp, so I took off 90 minutes before sunset.
Despite temps hovering in the mid 40s and a blistering wind, I ventured out in flip-flops and shorts. I know, sounds a bit crazy, but I couldn’t risk getting my pants wet or my hiking boots submerged (weight and bulk prevented me from packing any extra footwear beyond the flip-flops). Besides, 99% of the way was sandy beach and it really wasn’t that bad – till after dark!
After at least 45 minutes of studying possible compositions, I situated myself in a position that was, as you can see in the photo, very close to the water. In fact, more than once I had to scramble back when a large wave broke to avoid getting soaked.
The camera was in a position even more precarious than mine; the tripod balanced with two legs on land and one in the water. Each time a big wave would crash, the lens needed wiped clean. I was lucky enough to pull this shot off between all the chaos.
After the shot, it was back to camp. The blustery wind screamed and howled as I made my way along the beach. My shorts were (mostly) dry, but from the knee down I wasn’t so lucky. With the temps plummeting, the storm coming, and the light failing, it was a race to get back to camp. I was only in my tent for a few minutes when the storm in the photo overtook the area with a dazzling display of lightning, wind and rain.
I hunkered down in my sleeping bag, cold and exhausted, but thrilled about the amazing evening I had the privilege to participate in.