Posted by: mesabimisadventures | May 30, 2009

Rocks and Docks

I’ve never lived outside of my area code – 218.

A friend from Colorado snidely commented that if the original immigrants to America had behaved like Northern Minnesotans, America would only consist of Plymouth Rock. 

I’m not sure they would have made it over to this side of the Atlantic in the first place!

Granted, it’s a vast area that’s covered by those three digits.  In fact, I’m pretty sure if I was GIS-happy this morning I could overlie plenty of East Coast states on top of it. 

But why don’t more of us venture out and why do so many of those who do either move back or clog up Hwy 53 every weekend?

Rocks and docks.

I spent Memorial Day weekend at a cabin on an island in Pelican Lake up in Orr. (Could I have possibly put more prepositions in that sentence?!)

Pelican Lake is a great alternative to Vermilion for those of us who are more interested in kayaking and quietly enjoying vast expanses of water.  It’s been referred to as the “Dead Sea” for fishing in Northern Minnesota and that’s quite alright with me.

Approximately 11,000 acres with a average depth of 12 feet, a smattering of islands throughout and a significant portion of undeveloped lakeshore (Kabetogama State Forest is on the northern boundary) all combine to make Pelican Lake a peaceful escape from the real world.

It’s an aptly named lake with not only a surprising population of white pelicans, but also comorants, ducks of all varieties, loons, herons, and gulls that could keep a birdwatcher occupied for hours. 

And honestly?  The fishing isn’t half bad if you’re interested in crappies or bass (which you might be after reading my mercury article!).  Give the Northerns a few years though as the State is focused on developing the lake as a trophy lake and has enacted special regulations for Northerns.

It can be a tricky lake to navigate though courtesy of the shallowness and large rocks that the glaciers didn’t feel like carrying any further.  Which is exactly why kayakers and canoeists should consider it.  Well, those reasons and that I’m horribly selfish and don’t want to listen to boats whizzing by when I’m out there! <evil laughter>

Rocks and docks.

I learned to fish this past weekend and as I sat on a massive rock on the shore watching the bobber, I felt nothing but quiet (and approximately 6 years old).  At that moment, with the sun nudging the clouds out of the way, I wasn’t worried about my upcoming layoff, selling my house, losing weight, balancing my checkbook, writing the Great American Novel. 

I was focused on that bobber. 

And on the rock islands in front of the cabin where the pelicans and the comorants had created their own version of segregation with the exception of a few open-minded pelicans. 

And on… well, honestly, nothing more than that.

That’s why I stay. 

Water, water, everywhere, and some that I can drink! (my apologies to Coleridge).  Rugged landscape that still shows the markings of glaciers scratching across it.  Towering red pines.  Soft tamarack needles when they grow back in the spring and look like little green dewdrops from a distance.  Bogs with pitcher plants and blueberries.  That fizzy sound when rain drizzles onto a lake.

“Searching for heaven, when I know where you are.” – Waylon Jennings

“Why stay?” you ask?

Why leave?



  1. Ditto, as one who moved here 32 years ago. Never been to Pelican L with a boat of any kind because we like Elbow Lake for some of the same qualities, but there are more and more “cabins” and more and more faster boats all the time. Still beats L Verm. for quiet.

    • I still need to make my way over to Elbow Lake this summer – I better put that on my to-do list! Don’t worry – I’ll be quiet 😉

  2. Be honest now… You were thinking about your iPhone as you watched that bobber dance in the water. 🙂

    Honestly, I am now inspired to make our next family boating trip one to Pelican Lake.

  3. There are lots of reasons that people can (and should) leave a place; adventure, money, love, or just itchy feet. Most people will end up somewhere that they feel at home. Some people are searching for it, some already have it, and some may never find it. Feel lucky you’ve found your home JK 😉

    • Great comment BL! I was taken aback (in a good way). I really do feel lucky that I’ve found it, but your comment made me realize why I’m able to call it home. I have enough adventure, I have a job (as of today), I have love and my itchy feet are taken care of with trips and having a variety of interests. Now that you have love, I hope this feels a little more like home to you 🙂 I think the world needs both types of people, otherwise we’d grow stagnant as societies, but you also need the long-term people for traditions and such. Thanks for reading 🙂

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