It had already been a full day, but we had one more stop to make. Who didn’t have a larger-than-life hero to whose exploits they thrilled as children? Katherine certainly had one: Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, Babe. How, then, could we pass through St. Ignace, Michigan without seeing Paul as immortalized at Castle Rock Curios? We couldn’t and didn’t.
Katherine was pleased to discover that Castle Rock Curios was one of those fantastic places filled with more questionable souvenirs than the amount at which one could shake a reasonably-sized stick. From agate halves to mugs to Yooper joke books to T-shirts with double-entendre slogans, they had it all. Chris was intrigued by their marketing strategy of not grouping items, but rather spreading them equally amongst the rows and shelves; in this way one couldn’t avoid seeing, for instance, the Bald Man’s Hairbrush or the plastic bow-and-arrow sets. Katherine remains impressed and vaguely puzzled by the sheer enormity of wacky and often furry hats available in the region.
Having purchased suitable souvenirs (a Paul/Babe salt and pepper set for Katherine, cheap plastic swords for the boys, and a yachting hat for Andy), we set off on the trail up to Castle Rock. Because why not? We’re young(ish) and in good health (physically). Several flights of narrow…uneven…fenced-in…stairs up a hill shouldn’t be an issue! Let me tell you: admission to climb to Castle Rock was 50 cents; the climb was much steeper than the price. However, once we arrived at the pinnacle of Castle Rock, we could see…well, a great deal of lake water. Which was pretty enough.
What wasn’t pretty was the ever-present humming presence of the Mosquitoes of Doom. Andy found a new use for his hat on the hike: “whacking mosquitoes in the face. Pretty good use, too, but I’m not sure it was their face.” We descended the stairs to the percussive sounds of our slapping our faces, necks, legs, arms, and each other in a futile effort to decimate the mosquito population. We only took a few pictures of Paul before diving for the blood-sucker-free interior of Bob, the Chariot of Fire.