Day 218 – Wisconsin North Woods, July 22, 2011
Wow…I think I have had two “do-over” days in one week! The second half of my Wisconsin North Woods
drive I believe was more suited for kayakers or canoers. It certainly wasn’t a bad day, but there are
ways I could have enjoyed it better.
As usual I started my morning with a cup of coffee. I have to say the local coffee shop sold awesome
raspberry scones. This prompted me to
buy a container, twice the size of what is customary, of local raspberries at
the small grocery store for three bucks or so…a bargain and good! I thought I would be sure to have some food
for a morning at Madeline Island, the only inhabited island in the Apostle
Islands and the only island which is not part of the National Park. The rest of the Apostle Islands, remnants of
sedimentary rocks deposited in the Lake Superior Basin over 600 million years ago
that have survived the crushing action of four glaciers over the past 100,000
years, are a National Park and a popular kayaker destination. Getting to those islands was an all day
excursion and less than accommodating to Petey which is why I ended up choosing
I took a car ferry to the island. They charge by vehicle and person, so it cost
$37 for the roundtrip passage that was available every thirty minutes or
so. Once on Madeline Island, VANilla
carted us around as we explored the general layout before we finally stopped at
Big Bay State Park. After paying the
state park entry fee, Petey and I took a hike around the Point Trail Loop. The first half of the loop led us along the
shore of Lake Superior with lovely views of sandstone cliffs before the second
half of the loop led us through a dense forest, home to tons of dragonflies!
After our walk around the point, we visited another area of
the park. Petey waited in VANilla while
I took a boardwalk past a beach and toward a lagoon. He didn’t have to wait long. The biting flies were relentless. If anyone ever wanted to be a runner, but was
having a rough time getting started, these flies would be an incentive to pick
up the pace. With my personal Off device
in one hand waving around my head and with my camera being held steady by my
other, I basically jogged to the lagoon trying to keep the flies off of me. I was like Bill Murray in the movie What About Bob. Flies bit me on my ear, landed in between my
eye and sunglasses, and got trapped in my hair which was pulled back into a
ponytail. I don’t know how people were
just resting on the beach. I couldn’t
get out of there fast enough. I’m certain
Petey was thankful he wasn’t allowed to join me!
Around lunchtime we returned to the mainland to continue our
journey southeasterly along the border of Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of
Michigan. In Hurley, an old mining and
logger town, we attempted to visit the Iron County Historical Museum which
maintains a model 19th-century saloon, but its hours of operations
were limited. I suppose I could have
visited a real saloon on Silver Street, but it was the middle of the day.
We made another roadside stop at Lac Du Flambeau, Lake of
Torches, which has been a permanent settlement of the Chippewa Indian Nation
since about 1745. The tribe lived on
wild rice and fish found by torchlight in the numerous area lakes. The tribe was loyal to the American colonies,
never siding with the English or French and fought with the Union Forces in the
Civil War. Forts and posts used to
pepper the shores of the lake as the Northwest Fur Trading Co. established a
department for area trade here in 1792.
We ended the night in Escanaba, Michigan, part of the Upper
Peninsula (or UP as the locals like to call it).
I’m looking forward to some good exploring tomorrow. ETB.