When it comes to taking in a good dose of fall fishing and
color, it’s pretty tough to beat the border country of Wisconsin
and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. There are great fishing lakes on
either side of the border, but if you want to get a little closer
to the color, then just slip on a pair of hip boots and start
wading the trout streams near Conover, Land O’ Lakes, Watersmeet,
Mich., or Marinesco, Mich., – or other points along the border.
There are plenty to choose from.
Or, if slipping over the water is more your game than sliding
through it in waders, then head into the Sylvania Wilderness Area.
The Sylvania is a canoe or kayak area that is a mini version of the
Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area of Minnesota. The Sylvania
tract offers great fall fishing and scenery. The Sylvania sits in
the U.P., but just north and northwest of Land O’ Lakes. The
southern border of the Sylvania runs along the state line near Land
O’ Lakes, but entry is not allowed from the Wisconsin side.
Dave and Luann Lamoreaux, of Wind Drift Resort just outside of
Land O’ Lakes and on Lac Vieux Desert, reminded a couple of
visitors recently that there are things to see even after dark in
the border country. Ever hear of the Paulding Light? Well, after a
day of fishing and color watching, just head north of Watersmeet,
Mich., and stop off to see this mysterious light. I had heard about
“The Light” ever since my oldest daughter was old enough to drive.
Living in western Vilas County, it was nothing for the kids to run
over to the Paulding Light on a Friday night. It was a fishing
trip, sure, but darkness comes early in the fall, so it didn’t take
much talking by Dave and Lu to convince a pair of visitors to head
for the light.
Just Google the Paulding Light and you will see plenty of
references to this unusual phenomenon.
“Explanations vary, but really, there is no explanation,”_said
Dave Lamoreaux. “Some say it’s the spirit of a long dead mail
carrier ambushed by Indians more than a century ago. Others insist
it is the ghost of an engineer killed in a nearby railroad accident
in years gone by.”
The railroad engineer theory seems to be the most popular.
To get to the viewing area, drive north from Watersmeet on Hwy.
45 for 4 miles toward the village of Paulding. Watch for the
Robbins Pond Road sign. Turn left on Robbins Pond Road and drive
for a short distance west on a gravel national forest road. That
road dead-ends (no pun intended) at a guard rail that serves as the
viewing area. Robbins Pond Road and the right-of-way that extends
beyond the guard rail was once part of a military road authorized
by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War in anticipation of a
British attack through Canada.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, or if I even expected to see a
light. But a light there is. Sometimes white. Sometimes red. It
appears at irregular intervals, then disappears.
At night, it’s easy to imagine that there must be a reasonable
explanation if a person were to return during the daytime and walk
the right-of-way to where the light appeared the night before. No
I guess we have no choice but to take it for what it appears to
be – a mystery light.
However, there is another sight nearby that is no mystery, but
just as interesting as the Paulding Light – this is Bond Falls, a
huge waterfalls below the Bond Falls Flowage. Bond Falls is also
located near Paulding, but to the north and east.
In between viewing waterfalls, watching mysterious lights, and
looking at colored leaves, there is plenty of fishing to do on the
border line. A check of the Sylvania tract parking lots showed
plenty of parked vehicles bearing plates from Wisconsin, Illinois,
and even Ohio. Jan and Stewart Keller, of Minocqua, were in the
Sylvania for the day, fishing for panfish in the rain on Crooked
Lake. The panfish were cooperating there, as well as back on Lac
Vieux Desert, where Dave parked his pontoon boat on top of a school
near Draper Island.
While we were fishing, geese flew overhead while ducks buzzed
shorelines. The clouds opened up often enough to remind us of what
fall in the Northwoods really looks like.
Close to brilliant, I’d say.
If a person could just keep it this way for 12 months. Now, that
would be something.