One bay west of what local sailors call “Hurricane Bay” a structure of some kind is just barely visible above the bluffs, which rise at least 70 feet above Lake Oahe. I have dubbed this bay “House Cove,” though I’m sure there is some other name for it.

Yesterday, I pulled Wandering Star up to shore and hiked up the bluffs to see what the “house” might be. And, in fact, it was a house – but one that had been vacated years or even decades before. There was evidence of electricity, though it was also clear that this structure had started as a one room timber frame building and then been augmented with two or three more rooms. Could this house have been some kind of outpost for Fort Sully, which used to stand on the opposite shore and which was vacated in 1893?

I didn’t venture in to the house because I was worried that the floors might not bear my weight. As I stood near what used to be the front porch and looked northeast, I could only imagine what the original inhabitants would have seen long before the Oahe Dam was built. And I could only imagine what kind of rugged, independent, self-reliant people might might have lived in this isolated home.

(To get sense of the geography, checked out the photo on Panoramio.)

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