A path to a place
My what a different place…
For anyone who is looking for an experience that is otherworldly, may I suggest a trip to the “Big Chip.” The Chippewa Flowage is a 15,300 acre impoundment located 15 miles east of Hayward, Wisconsin. According to the Wisconsin DNR website http://www.dnr.wi.gov , the Chippewa Flowage was filled in 1924, for the purpose of downstream power generation and flood control.
Today it is ranked as Wisconsin’s third largest body of water, and is home to world record musky fishing.
It’s easy to get lost…
In both the figurative and actual sense, it is easy to get lost in the “Big Chip.” The haunting beauty of the place with its endless coves, bays, bogs, inlets and islands, takes you to another place far from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Because of the aforementioned, however, it is quite easy to get lost in the very real sense of the word. Additionally, this is a place with history.
According to the locals…
I was told that the reason we were finding areas in the middle of the lake that shot from 40 feet deep up to just 2 feet was because of some of the bad blood that came with the establishment of the “Big Chip.” This area was home to the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Chippewa Indians. According to The Historical Marker Database, http://www.hmdb.org, when the decision was made to flood the area to create the reservoir, the Lac Courte Oreilles people “lost their “Post” village, burial grounds, and wild rice beds to the newly created lake.”
A local shared a story with me in which the people tasked with chopping down the trees in the flowage did so just below the water line as a way of payback for what was being done to their land.
Anyone who has travelled high speed by boat knows that you can take off your propeller by hitting an underwater “dead head” at high speed. This, of course, must pale in comparison to the pain caused by having your loved ones’ burial places immersed under a reservoir.
That haunting feeling…
One might attribute the prickly feeling of something just beyond his or her line of sight to be simply a reaction to the vast beauty and solitude of this place, however, it may be more than that.
In visiting with people at Indian Trail Resort, I learned that there have been several instances of people reporting seeing ghosts. The most prevalent of these reports, as they were told to me, seemed to be that of seeing a young Indian boy. Just across the lake from Indian trail, one can see what remains of two burial spots that remain above water. It is supposed that there are 200 more below the water’s surface.
Heading out for adventure
The picture is that of our boat at the dock down the hill from our cabin. If we headed right from this place, we could go down to our “secret” walleye catching spot. This was the same place that Thomas and I were stalked by what could only have been a very large and mischievous musky. We could also see the “dinosaur” that sat along the shore made of discarded scrap metal. If we went straight from our dock, we could see the burial markers and feel like we had just stepped back in time. If we took a left, we could shoot back into a cove where I saw a loon sitting on a nest on a tiny island.
This is also where we tooled around until we found our way into a secluded cove. Here we found the tree swing. In the middle of the lake, in this hidden place, someone had constructed a private place to play.
Although we have somewhere of our own to go now, the memory of this place will be with me always. It is a magical place of which I only saw a fraction. Just like the planet, in all of our years, there is never enough time to see it all.