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Eichenlaub Travel Blog: Sand Point Trail

There are places in this world few dare tread. Places of which we do not speak nor even fully contemplate. Sand Point is a beach on the Mississippi near Frontenac State Park. Some claim it can only be reached by boat. This is nearly true.

For the way by foot is fraught with peril.

Welcome to the Sand Point Trail.

These Guardians Three

There are three guardians at the head of Sand Point Trail, and the wary traveler does well to heed them. They appear often as frogs or toads, but they always approach with words of warnings. Heed their words, but remember:

  • One will speak only truth
  • One will speak only lies
  • One sings the blues on the night of the full moon, and is the only of the three to have ever known true love.

The Infinite Boardwalk

Despite its name, the Infinite Boardwalk is not actually infinite. Nearly so, but not quite. In traversing the Infinite Boardwalk, the traveler must walk for seven lifetimes, each more difficult than the last. On the last lifetime, after hundreds of years have passed, the final step brings a traveler back in time to five minutes past the moment of departure.

There are many who have broken during these long years of walking. The savvy traveler, however, is certain to bring along a guardian for company. I recommend picking the one who sings the blues.

You may wonder, looking at the photo, why there is a boardwalk at all. The land next to it is dry and clear. A foolish traveler might be tempted to touch the earth here. Do no such thing. In the spring, this land is flooded and filled with the waters of the mighty Mississippi, and the ground is infused with the spirits of the damned.

The damned like swimming, it turns out, and can be quite grumpy if left too long on dry land.

The Swimming Hole

Walk taking too long? Is the day too hot? This refreshing swimming hole is just what you need. Bring your second guardian with you into this lime green pond. You’ll be thankful for your friend’s companionship as you splash in the slimy waves. Also, the spirits who live in this part of the wood always claim one soul of any group that wishes to leave.

The guardian who lies need not die for this payment. He is happy to stay here for eternity.

Or so he says.

Sand Point

You’ve made it! That long and harrowing journey is finally at an end. Welcome to Sand Point, one of the upper Mississippi’s very best swimming beaches. Your truthful guardian will warn you when the witch of Sand Point is near. Heed his words, and make any sacrifices necessary to appease the witch. She is most likely there because it is an excellent place to land her kayak.

A Felled Troll

A warning before you start the long walk back. The path home is the same as that here, but is now filled with many-limbed trolls. Bring a sword or your trusty troll-slaying dog.

Worth it?

This is a long, contemplative walk, but definitely worth the trip if you don’t have a boat. If you do have a boat, take it to Hok-Si-La or Frontenac and find Sand Point by way of water. This hike easily earns its four of five stars, but only if the guardians agree to help you in the first place.

If not, best skip it.

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Macro Monday: Fuzzy Bee With Dust

Look, I know it’s cold out now and nobody cares about the dusty bees. I’m here to tell you that even though it’s not dusty bee season, those bees are still important. And that dust? Yeah, that’s pretty important, too.

So here are some pictures of some bees I got before the frost ruined everything. They’re nice, warm pictures, and I hope you like them.

In other news, my class is finished now, and it went so well that I’ve scheduled another one. My students were all fantastic and the stories they’re coming up with are getting really good. I’m looking forward to hearing more from them.

Oh, and I’m writing another novel. It never stops, right? Gotta get these stories onto paper. Digital paper. On the screen.

Anyway, here’s your stinkin’ bees:

 

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Macro Monday: Burdock

Burdock grasps out with its hook-claws, purply mass exploding in a flurry of velcro-like abominations.

Burdock flower

I like the photo, though. Almost makes my plague of burdock bearable.

*burrs claw at every surface of my body*

*burrs dig hooks deep into my soul*

*I am burrs*

In other news! My class is coming up soon, and there are still slots open. I’ve been putting together the material for Writing the Strange for a while now and things are really starting to look good. If you’re in the Rochester, MN area and want to come write short stories with me in October, HERE YOU GO.

 

 

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Macro Monday: Bees in Helsinki

Well, WorldCon was an incredible success. It was an exhausting, fun adventure that I look forward to repeating as long as it isn’t any time soon oh wow I’m really tired. I met some great people and ate some excellent food, including a super-fancy buffet where they just keep bringing you meat until you beg them to stop oh, please stop.

Anyway, got to hang out with some of those cool kids from Angry Robot (pic from Nick Tyler):

Fine folk from #worldcon75

A post shared by Nick Tyler (@captain.pigheart) on

Jet lag really punched me around this trip, and I don’t think I ever really adjusted to the time zone. It probably didn’t help that the hotel I stayed at had a coffee maker in the room but no coffee. Tired brain never really figured out how to solve that. Also, this may be my American bias, but the coffee they sell in Helsinki is tiny. Like, really tiny.

Once the convention was done, the wife and I went on some adventures. One of these was a trip to the Helsinki Botanical Garden.

Where we met some bees.

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The Blue Knight and the New Year

 

BlueKnight by Anthony Eichenlaub on 500px.com

 

Look, the Blue Knight is a symbol, okay? This is totally art and it symbolizes how we’re going to go all “L” shaped on the new year. Yeah, running at 2016 like some cracked up bishop didn’t get the job done.

2017?

Totally sending in the knights.

It’s a symbol.

Happy New Year.

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Photo Tuesday: Pepper Time

There’s a lot to be said for a decorative pepper.

*looks around*

Ok, look, I don’t have a lot to say about these peppers. They’re colorful, I guess. I’m not really sure what the endgame is for these guys, but the new house lets us grow all kinds of things indoors. I mean, we actually get TOO MUCH sunlight. Continue reading Photo Tuesday: Pepper Time

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Photo Tuesday: A Boring Old Hosta

Hosta_1 by Anthony Eichenlaub on 500px.com

 

Nobody ever cares about hostas. They’re space fillers. They come in so many varieties and then they just sit there like *blech* in your landscape like a leafy turd.

Sometimes they’re nice, though. These hostas are on the side of my house where I rarely see them. It rained. They were kinda pretty. So, there you go.

It’s good that I’ve been doing this flower series. In less than a month my family is moving. New house, new flowers. I’m going to miss this display. It’s hard to imagine that when we moved in here eleven years ago there was nothing in this landscape. Only grass.

But the new house is going to be great, too. I’m looking forward to getting pictures of the new landscape and the view from up on the hill is absolutely stunning.

In writing news, well, no real news yet. An Imperfect Reflection is still with beta readers, and I’ve started on a new unnamed project. It’s a near-future sci-fi and it’s going to be really fun.

If only I had time to write with all this packing going on.