Hauntings from the past

Poverty Island Michigan Travel Blog

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The abandoned lighthouse

Leaving Big Summer, I paddled along the Lake Michigan side of the island. A few fishing camps and summer homes dotted the thickly wooded shore. One of the small bays held a shipwreck that was supposedly visible in glassy waters but instead of spending time searching for it I needed to take advantage of the calm morning seas to begin my island-hop toward Wisconsin. I knew all too well how quickly the lake could change. Clearing one point, a Great Lakes ore boat inched seaward in the distance and reminded me of more potential hazards that lay ahead. As I approached the bottom of Big Summer, Poverty Island came into view at less than two miles, an easy run.

 The abandoned lighthouse on Poverty had deteriorated noticeably in the seven years since I had last seen it.

Garter snake
White paint was withering away and its roof had lost many shingles. Bats fluttered when I peered inside the upper window which was still uncovered. I did not enter, having spent two nights in that haunting room while stranded during the 1999 storm. Half its floor was collapsed then and I was not about to test its strength now.

Walking back to the kayak, a two-and-a-half-foot garter snake appeared from under some rocks twelve feet away. It came toward me. When I held up the paddle that I carried, it retreated but only to turn and crawl at me again. That went on for awhile and I let it get a little closer each time while trying to figure out its intentions. I had seen bushmasters in the Amazon, adders and spitting cobras in Africa, and sidewinders in the Middle East, all deadly, but none were as aggressive as this harmless garter snake. It must have had new young in the rocks.

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The abandoned lighthouse
The abandoned lighthouse
Garter snake
Garter snake
Approaching Poverty Island
Approaching Poverty Island
Poverty Island abandoned lighthouse
Poverty Island abandoned lighthouse
Poverty Island Michigan
photo by: rotorhead85