You never know what you’ll stumble upon when you take a turn off the main road. That’s what Ed and I did one evening. We headed east in our Toyota on Wisconsin’s Highway 2 from the Bad River Casino where our coach sat parked. We had an Ashland County map as our guide.
“What’s down this road?” asked Ed reading the sign, “It says Madigan Road.”
“Looks like it heads straight north then ends at Lake Superior,” I barely had a chance to respond. Ed had already turned left onto a hard packed dirt road.
True to the map line, the road went straight – no curves. When it dead ended, we got out of the car.
Hundreds of feet below us, we could see an isolated Lake Superior beach. If Ed hadn’t worn his house slippers for our impulsive drive, we might have dared to descend the bluff and claim the beach as our own if only for a short visit. Instead, we decided that we might come back another day wearing hiking boots, totting a backpack, and sprayed with Off. The mosquitoes drove us back to the car; they even attacked Ed who is usually spared their bites.
Ed noticed a road heading west off the dead end of Madigan Road. We still had some time before sunset so we road down this unmarked dirt road. It opened to a field – a special field for the Bad River Indian Reservation.
We found the outer shell of a long house. The rope lashing holding the branches in place looked new so we knew this was recently constructed. A plot of land next to it sat ready for a second building to be constructed from the pile of branches. No one was around to explain what we found. We suspect it was an Indian ceremonial ground - authentic and not created as a tourist attraction.
We tiptoed around a bit amazed at what we stumbled upon high on the shore of Lake Superior when we turned off the main road.