From the depths of Lake Carlos...
For Jeff Bosek of Alexandria, there's nothing more fun than finding a fishing pole in the depths of one of Douglas County's few hundred lakes, and then wondering how long the angler looked for it once he lost his grip and it went overboard.
As the owner of Divers Clubhouse in Alexandria, Bosek, a certified diver and instructor, loves imagining the stories that go along with the treasures he sometimes finds at the bottom of the area's most pristine, yet muddy and murky lakes.
One particular find - a large set of antlers - made his imagination run wild - just like the animal that was once attached to them.
In a letter sent to the newspaper, Bosek tells the story of the elk rack he found at the bottom of Lake Carlos.
During the fall of 2007, I was teaching a deep diving class on Lake Carlos. We were in the process of coming up from a depth of 104 feet.
Around 74 feet, something caught my eye and at first, I thought it was a couple inches of a tree branch sticking out of the mud. With a second glance, I noticed it had a distinct look of an antler. When I tried to pull it up, a piece broke off. We didn't have time to dig it out, so I left it to come back at a later date.
In July of 2008, I went back to the antler. The ground was soft clay, so it took some time to dig it out. I was finally able to pull the rack out and it was big and had the skull still attached.
I then dug further into the clay and felt the spine. The elk must have fell through the ice years ago. I tied a rope onto the rack and pulled it onto the pontoon.
In an interview with Bosek Wednesday, he said that when he took the antlers home, he put the rack in a dark, cool spot to dry. At first, he thought he should call somebody, but didn't know who it should be.
After he did some research, he figured the elk antlers had to be fairly old.
Eventually, he contacted someone at the Science Museum of Minnesota, who was very interested in seeing the elk rack.
Bosek said that after the rack was examined by the people at the museum, it was estimated that the antlers were between 2,000 and 12,000 years old, but that they would have to have further tests to determine a more accurate date.
"12,000 might be pushing it," said Bosek, who noted that the Ice Age occurred 10,000 years ago.
Bosek added that just this week, he dove back into Lake Carlos and found the pieces that were missing off the elk antlers. He plans on drying them out, which should take about three months, and then after they are put back on, he will have the entire rack shellacked.
He also thinks he will have it tested further, but for right now, his only plan is to preserve it and maybe someday display it in a museum with some of the other gems he has found.
And his imagination can only believe that one day, a Viking was chasing that very elk around the frozen tundra of a then no named body of water when the animal fell through, only to be found thousands of years later by a man who lives in the birthplace of America.