Friday, February 18, 2011

Where is Keg Island?

It's a day to work on my map, sunny, calm enough and crisp. Even during the mile portage I'm working out the survey, where to put flags, where to pace off distances, where to flag as I paddle into my start point. It always goes best if you have the game thought out a few steps ahead.

A woman rolls down her car window and with a huge smile says, "have a fun day!" Stuff like that always brings the day up just a notch.

The plane table (a drawing board mounted to an old camera tripod).
The aluminum gadget is a home-made alidade for sighting.

I put in off of a mud bank in the westernmost of the south lagoons. It is calm with sunlight shimmering on the trees. A pair of ringnecked ducks are with me. I've grown to really like the design of the males head, quite a bit. Even with the traffic noise, this little spot seems serene.

The west beaver lodge, about 20 feet in diameter

I start my survey work just southwest of the west beaver lodge. I flagged many of the points and little islands as I paddled in so that I can just do a bunch of plane table work from shore. But, after a couple hours, I find a huge error in the work, something that can't be reconciled as much as I try. I start over with a fresh sheet of paper.

This time it goes smooth. Points line up when sighted on from several positions, it would be an efficient job if I hadn't shot two hours. The little islands near the lodge need names. Where I found and removed the rusty keg becomes Keg Island. To the north is North Keg Island and to the west is West Keg Island. The hundreds of UW rowers that pass by will never know this.

While shooting sights off of Keg Island, I notice that there is a lot of slag in the soil. Someone, sometime ago has dumped the bi-product of a furnace or smelting operation here. Next time I hear someone bitch about the EPA, I'll have half a mind to shove a jagged hunk of slag up their ass. I also find a discarded syringe, but as a bonus gift for answering all of today's questions, I find a fine beaver skull with its incisors and molars still in place (that's all that they have). Their incisors definitely look up to cutting down a tree and the molars with their s-shaped pattern of enamel look like they could grind rock to dust.


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