LAKE TCSHIDA, Grant County -- The wind came out of the southeast on Aug. 22 at a steady 25 mph with gusts up to 40. The temperature made it up to 80 degrees and I had just completed a full day of cabin maintenance when my old friend Bud rolled out of the fridge indicating it was quitting time.
So I quit what I was doing and we hopped into the golf cart and headed for Nev’s beach. For those wondering how to get to Nev’s from my place, you just head down Muskie Lane, take a left on Pike Point Road and a right at Drum Drive, then a sharp left onto a dusty ATV trail.
Once there you’ll notice shade trees, chairs, picnic tables and a gently sloping beach where little ones can wade quite a ways out before their parents panic. The area is sheltered from the north by rocky cliffs with a huge portion of Lake Tschida exposed to the south.
So when the wind blows out of the south, Nev’s beach sits along an open lake where the waves begin blowing toward it from about 5 miles away. Thus by the time the waves reach Nev’s they are huge and most locals find something to do that’s out of the wind and away from the water.
So me and Bud pulled up on the beach; the wind was a stiff 25 mph and we were staring right into it. First off, the noise of a stiff wind is rather deafening. Secondly, it stirs up a lake to the point that the waves become huge frothy whitecaps that seem angry enough to swallow whatever dares enter its abyss.
So there I sat, watching waves, and if you’ve never done such a thing, check it out, it’s rather hypnotizing. The first thing one notices is that the big waves have whitecaps that blast a huge off spray into the air when the wave finally rolls over. The next thing you note is that the bigger the wave, the wider the gap between swells gets … and it’s the swells that can swallow a boat by trapping it between the waves.
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As I gazed off into the distance, I noted where the wind was gusting up to 40 the waves would swell over the waves in front of it. So I watched for long lines of whitecaps and waited to see if I could tell the difference when they hit the beach in front of me.
Sure enough my theory proved out and these waves not only made more noise as they crashed further up the beach and created quite a splash whenever they slammed into the rocks. Like we land lubbers say, "it looked just like the ocean." So there I sat doing something that not many folks will admit to doing, watching waves.
Next thing I knew, the air off the lake was refreshing, the wind howled so loud and the waves crashing into the beach seemed to take the outside world away - and me along with 'em.
Then Bud ran out and it was time to head back to the cabin to find supper and wonder if you might be interested in hearing my lecture on wave watching.
I’ll just let it go there and see what I come up with next week. May your travels be filled with more smiles than frowns.