Saux Head Memories by the Hunter Brothers
When Mom and Dad first bought the place I remember driving into it and seeing Lake Superior – WOW – I was blown away. Then I saw the big house and again said – WOW – this is one big house with an incredible view!!
Among the many changes to the big house were the removal of the second story and the lowering of the roof to make it a 2-story facility. Dad figured it could be done, even had cardboard models of what it would look like. He talked with several engineers who all told him it couldn’t be done. Never one to take no for an answer, he persevered, hired Ben Scott and his dad and got the job done. I was there the day the roof was lowered – will never forget the crane lowering it into place; as I recall, it had to be done in sections, but it got done! Great celebration that night!
One of the pieces of old furniture that was kept was a huge round table, which we reduced in height and placed in front of the fireplace in the living room. It has served as the gathering spot for family and friends for all these 50 years. The stories that have been told, the tears that have been shed, the meals that have been consumed were numerous and provide many memorable moments. The kids would sit around and listen to the stories – many of which were about their parents and previously untold – and remind us later of what they now knew about us. They didn’t miss a word.
Saux Head has been the glue that has held our family together – we’re all over the U.S. now, but we have gathered there as single-family units or collectively for 50 years. Without it, it’s possible that we would have drifted apart as in the case in many other large families.
Our introduction to the UP was when Dad was with the Electromotive Division of General Motors in LaGrange, Ill. I think I was 5 years old when Mom & Dad packed us into the car and we drove to Ives Lake
It wasn’t too long before Dad would be gone all day. Unbeknownst to us, he was either picking up a boat in Marquette and going half way up the big lake and back again looking at property or he was going from Big Bay down the coast half way towards Marquette and back again. He was trying to find the most unique spot between Big Bay and Marquette. Once he laid his eyes on Saux Head he researched who the owner was.
On hot humid days it was great to just jump in the big lake and start swimming around the point to the big black granite islands offshore from Bruce’s Cove, lie down on them and it was like a sauna on one side. Once we were warm we dove back in the lack and swam back home again. To this very day, the tradition continues.
We would spend the entire month of August at Saux Head, we had many friends that came for visits and the reaction was always the same “WOW”, “no place like it in the entire world”. We had developed many friends in Marquette that we did fun things with and still do – such as playing golf. It is a great place and will always hold fond memories for us. It was where our kids grew up loving the outdoors, the big lake and it is a phenomenal part of our family’s history and we thank Mom & Dad for making it possible.
During one summer night, with Saux Head on the most westerly part of the Eastern Time Zone (never understood that), the sun wouldn’t go down until sometimes 10pm at night and we noticed over the green boathouse point and Granite Point an amazing red sky that looked as though sparks were flying into the sky. We looked and looked and finally said we’ve got to call the Forest Service because we were sure it was a fire. We called but they had had many other reports of the same thing and said it was just the sun setting – truly amazing.
The whole family was always doing odd jobs around camp and down on the beach, cutting trails, and hiking. It was where our kids grew up loving the outdoors, the big lake and it is a phenomenal part of our family’s history and we thank Mom & Dad for making it possible. A great place to unwind and know the closeness of God & His peace.
The living room has great light at any time of the day – be it storms or full on sunshine, you can watch it all from any number of perches in that great room. A wonderful time of each day is the gathering of all in attendance in the living room around the low-slung table in front of the fireplace. It is here that the adventures of the day are retold.
The 1957 Jeep figures in each of the brother’s driving stories and in those of our kids as well. It sits in the boathouse, temporarily disabled, ready for a tune-up and another generation of new drivers. We’ve had offers for it but, my sense is it belongs right where it is!
Although our name is Hunter and we’ve been the proud occupants of this wonderful place for the better part of our lives, we’ve never hunted or fished to any degree but I do remember, when the smelt were running, standing in the river on the Superior side of the dam with a bucket and hauling out hundreds of smelt which we cleaned and fried up with eggs in the morning. Many of our kids caught their first fish at Saux Head (usually a sunfish or pike). There are many of our guests over the years who were fish inclined and have pulled many trout, salmon and whitefish out of the big lake, river and Saux Head lake. Our family activities usually involve hiking, biking and running the trails and lots of swimming and kayaking (and waterskiing in the early years) in the big lake and Saux Head.
In more recent years, Saux Head has not been used as much as it should have been by our families – with homes all over the country and growing families, none of the brothers have spent extended amounts of time in residence. For me, Saux Head long ago became a state of mind – a place that I can go at will. It is the peaceful place on the large secluded beach next to that freshwater ocean, Lake Superior.