Archive for Apostle Islands

Bayfield, the Apostle Islands and Superior, Wisconsin and Duluth and Ely, MN

July 16, 2008


My plan for the next few days:

Today – finish driving along Lake Superior, lunch in the town of Superior, drive to Duluth

Thursday – leave Duluth and drive to Ely, MN which is in the Boundary Waters area

Friday – canoe and stay in Ely

Depending upon how much I like the area, I will stay longer, or head northwest to Canada.  I suspect I’ll be heading north on Saturday.

My main concerns re canoeing the lakes are:

Most importantly, I know I’m going to get lost.  I know this with 100% certainty.  The outfitters set you up with a canoe, gear, and a map.  And off you go. 


Yesterday I went kayaking.  I took the ferry from Bayfield to Madeline Island, which is one of the Apostle Islands.  I met up with Ed, who is an ex philosophy professor who moved to the island 5 years ago and started up a kayak business.  He looks very much like Ken Lay, but sexier.  I was going to kayak around the part of the island where his shop is, but he wanted to swim at Big Bay State Park – another part of the island. He said the water temp was 45’ degrees.  I believed him…it was ice water.  He wore a wet suit.  It was REALLY beautiful.  But, after a short while, I turned around to see what I have done and realized that I wouldn’t have been able to find my way back except I could see a foot bridge that we had to cross over.  If that wasn’t there, I’d be somewhat panicked.  [There were all these “fingers” – don’t know the right word – feeding into the lake, and I couldn’t easily tell which one I came from.]

In Ely, there doesn’t seem to be group “day trips”.  Ely has 22 outfitters, so I will figure this out when I get in on Thursday.  Even if I do find a day trip:

I’m thinking that a little canoeing will go a long way.  I know that I little kayaking went a long way with me.  Do I really want to be on the water for 4 or 8 hours?

And then…the bug factor.  If the black flies et al are out, do I want to be tortured for 4 or 8 hours?

So, will play all this by ear.


I do want to relay a couple Sexy Ken Lay stories.

As we were driving to and from the state park, he would raise his hand off the steering wheel to wave at certain cars. When we were close to coming back to his shop, he said that the other drivers think that he is waving at them, but he is really signaling to them to slow down.  I told him that he is the only person alive who knows that the International Hand Signal To Slow Down is to raise your index finger off the steering wheel and just lift it up.

Also, when we were driving to the state park, we drove past this man on a bike, that had one of those tagalongs with a girl riding behind him.  She was singing.

We stop at the park and unload, and up rides the man and girl, and she is still singing all by herself.  Simple joy.  How nice.

After I was done kayaking, where I brought the kayak to shore, she is there in just her underwear [she’s 7] and playing in the water.  The water is ice water, seriously.  But she is just playing away. 

She tells Sexy Ken that her name is Annika.  But he thinks she’s saying Chanukah. And he starts cracking jokes, which she of course doesn’t “get”.  She’s with her uncle, and he says it’s Annika [he’s not bothered by the jokes].  She has never kayaked before, so Sexy Ken puts her into the way too big kayak, with the way too big paddle, and gives her a lesson.  Within a few minutes, this kid is doing better than me.  Nothing like being shown [showed?] up by a naked 7 year old!

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Wausau and Ashland, Wisconsin

July 15, 2008


I am camping in Ashland, which is near the Apostle Islands.

Yesterday morning started the same with the bright and cheery innkeeper lady.  I knew I was headed to this area, but again, had spent my time the nite before writing my email.  Again, she came at me with both guns a’blazing.  Again, she had great suggestions.

I left Wausau and took the scenic route out of town.  Then the scenic route along the river.  I stopped to pick strawberries.  Since I’m on the road, with no refrigeration, I bought what I thought I could eat.  Still, it was probably more than a quart.  Came to $1.75.  The strawberry patch didn’t look too big.  The kid working said that they’ve been thru it picking 7 times, then they open it up for people to pick their own.  He says that the farm is making money.  Nice to know that they can keep afloat and have what I consider a small patch of strawberries.

About a mile down this scenic road, I see a bear and two cubs cross the road about 100m from me.  Remember when I was hiking at Lands End [Quebec] and thought I spotted a bear, but it was really a fat porcupine or something?  Well, this time I was correct.  It WAS a bear and her baby cubs!!   I am having a blast!

I then went to the Concrete Park.  This is an outdoor park with almost life size people and animals re-creating scenes.  The figures are made out of concrete and adorned with broken glass and marbles.  Kind of fun and goofy.

I think I’ll be saying this a lot the next few days, but it’s really pretty here.  Lots of green, trees, rolling hills, lakes and rivers. However, hardly any places to pull over and picnic.

I had a late lunch and thought this café looked cute.  But in the window it said that they also sold nite crawlers.  So…I moved on down the road.

I seemed to have lost cell service, but it came back again when I arrived in Ashland. Unsure how much longer I’ll have that and thus my internet.

I went hiking in the National Forest to a waterfall [Morgan Falls] and to a lookout area.  Well, I should say I attempted this.  I went way out of my way to drive to the trailhead.  The hike to the waterfall was very easy and short.  And the waterfall was a disappointment – hardly any water.  Then I set out to hike to the lookout.

The problem…bugs.  Oh my.  Unsure what all there were – black flies, mosquitoes, gnats and others.  But there were buzzing around my head and ears.  I could literally see them orbiting my head around and around and around.  And for some reason, they seemed to want to get into my ears.  They weren’t bothering the rest of my body…they just liked my ears.  And it was driving me insane!!  I wondered if I wore ear plugs and couldn’t hear them, if that would bother me…would I still know they were there [besides the ones orbiting me].

After about 45 minutes, I realized that I am NOT having any fun.  I am being tortured.  They say the noise that will “break” a person being tortured is a baby crying.  Well, I can think of #2.

So I turned around and went back to my car.  I sure hope this isn’t how being outdoors for the rest of my time here will be.  If so, then it will be short.

The innkeeper highly suggested I make Ashland my home base while exploring the area.  It is on the water, and has great paths along the water and the view is simply beautiful.  However, the town itself does nothing for me.  I’ll be moving on…up to Bayfield which is right there next to/near the Apostle Islands.  Unsure if today I’ll kayak or will take a ferry and ride around one of the islands.  Probably kayak since I can’t do that every day.


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Heading NORTH

July 14, 2008

I am headed NORTH to the Apostle Islands [Lake Superior] and then Duluth.  Have been told both areas are really pretty.

Near the Apostle Islands it’s supposed to be thunderstorms and the low in the high 50’s all week.  It’s sunny and nice is Wausau.

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