June 14, 2012

Vilas County Day 3


On Day 3 we packed up at the cabin, loaded bikes with camping gear and some sports drinks, and lit out for the Paulding Light near Watersmeet, Michigan in the Upper Peninsula.

Growing up in the area, trips to the light were something of a teenage right of passage.  Coming up small town, you get crazy bored and the major teenage passtime was complaining about how much it sucks and how there's nothing to do.

Now as an adult going back to the land of my birth, I firmly believe that it's flipping paradise.  There was a time when I looked down my college educated nose at the kids who chose to stick around and build a life in the Northwoods.  Now I'm the one jealous of the lakes and woods, wishing to escape the pressures of life in the city.  The grass is always greener I guess.

Anyway, a popular way to alleviate the boredom was to go hang around places and do what teenagers do, fire towers, big rocks, boat landings etc.  all were sport for underage drinking, smoking and adolescent bullshit.  At the age of 16, cars got involved and we were able to take our boredom further.

Often that meant an hour drive up to Michigan for a Friday night visit to the "Light."
What is the light you ask?  Well assholes will tell you it's just car headlights, but I tell you that it's much much weirder and awesome than that.

If you want the Wiki version, go here, but here is the oral history as passed down to me.

Years ago there was a drunk railroad worker walking the tracks with a lantern, when a train came along and smoked his ass.  During the collision his head popped off and every night he walks the tracks in search of his head, his lantern visible from a dead end on a gravel country road.

What it is: A light high on a hill that moves around, disappears, changes size, and color (I've seen white, red, and even green).  It's there in spurts every night, from below freezing to hot summer.  I have friends who have driven up in the dead of winter and swear to have been chased by it.  I've had girlfriends refuse to speak to me for  hours for taking them there and scaring them shitless, and I've had big tough guys bug the fuck out.

In this modern age it's not very often that you're confronted with something that you can't easily just explain away, and whether or not you believe the skeptics who write it off as merely cars coming and going from a highway 7 miles away, there is definitely some crazy weird phenomenom that makes the lights behave in a manner that only exists in this place.

To bolster the Lights pedigree, Unsolved Mystery's visited a number of times without reaching a conclusion, and recently the show Fact or Faked came up empty as well.

The ride up was 60 miles, and we camped a few miles away from the dead end deep in the woods.  Needless to say it was well worth the effort.  The light was out, but the full moon kind of negated the effect a little bit.

Here are some photos from the day:









it was a good day.


J.R. Hunter said...

You should do a photo retrospective of Joshy. I would bet he looks just like this in 90% of the photos. I hear on the street, that look is called the Josh. So I hear...

Scott said...

Great post. I like the version of the railroad worker looking for his head. I also like the description of going back to the area as an adult. Nice one.

Natalia said...

I am so jealous of your group adventures