Page 4 of MisterParks Travel Blog Posts

North America » United States » Wisconsin » Ashland July 4th 2018

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Bayfield, Wisconsin Presque Isle isn’t really an island. But it used to be when the lake levels were higher than they are now. Around 2500 years ago, though, the lake dried up a bit and fell enough to establish a land bridge between Presque and Stockton. Sand has filtered into the windward side of the landbridge to form what geologists call a tombolo, a relatively small spit of land connecting two larger ones. What you have here, then, is a narrow strip of land, low in elevation, creating two bays, one on each side. The windward side bay is Julian Bay. It has become a ‘singing sand’ beach - one that makes a kind of squeaky song when you step on it. We encountered singing sand last year, in our explorations of ... read more

North America » United States » Wisconsin » Ashland July 4th 2018

Apostle Islands Area Campground, Bayfield, Wisconsin As Joan said in her post this morning, not a whole lot happened yesterday. We had to take Smooch to the vet because of vomiting and diarrhea, but I’m guessing that readers aren’t real interested in hearing the fine details about that. So since very little happened yesterday, except Joan’s terrific pictures of the rainbow over the sailboats, there just wasn’t enough to make a post, so I didn’t make one this morning. We actually had a pretty good morning today exploring one of the Apostle Islands, and I will write about that tomorrow morning like I usually do. But I just had one of those experiences that get the juices rolling and decided I’d make a post today after all. I want to talk about Pay Showers. Now, if ... read more

North America » United States » Wisconsin » Ashland July 2nd 2018

Bayfield/Ashland, Wisconsin Seems like one of the hazards of traveling in the spring is rain. And it rained again yesterday, most of the day. We spent most of the morning inside, even got in a nap for a while. Eventually, though, we decided that sightseeing wasn’t going to happen, so we switched gears and declared a downday/maintenance day. Aware that the local grocery store was pretty expensive, we decided to drive the 25 miles back down to Ashland and take advantage of the Walmart there. I’ll state up front that I don’t like shopping at Walmart. The store is just plain ugly and the shopping experience isn’t something you particularly want to remember, but when you are traveling, there is a certain comfort in shopping in a store that you have been in. And, what with ... read more

North America » United States » Wisconsin » Ashland July 1st 2018

Visitor Center, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Bayfield, Wisconsin There are just four National Lakeshores and all four of them, as you might expect, are on the Great Lakes. I’m not finding much difference between a Lakeshore and a Seashore, in the National Park System. And both of them are bigger deals than people seem to think. We already knew that National Parks deserve several days to fully explore. But we discovered in last years trip that seashores (Gulf Islands, Canaveral, Cumberland, Cape Lookout, and Cape Hatteras) deserve much more than a single day. So we bumped up our planned stays at the four Lakeshores, and I’m glad we did. Indiana Dunes was our first Lakeshore stop and we were pleasantly surprised at how much there was to see both culturally (the early settlement communities) and naturally ... read more

North America » United States » Michigan » Houghton June 30th 2018

Isle Royale, Houghton, Michigan Staying up late is not something us old folks do too much - and we didn’t get to bed Friday night until nearly midnight. Still, it wasn’t too dark when we got back from the boat ride - the days are long around the summer solstice, and even longer up here in the North Country. Maybe it was the exhilarating morning air, or just the excitement of being in such a stunning place, but it wasn’t a morning to lay around in bed. Just too much to see outside to spend all your time inside! So up in time to make the first breakfast call, back to the room to suit up, and out the door for our first hike. Following advice from a ranger and some other material, we decided to ... read more

North America » United States » Wisconsin » Ashland June 30th 2018

Apostle Islands Area Campground, Bayfield, Wisconsin Yesterday started sunny and cheerful. We got everything hitched up and even felt we had time to take a shower before hitting the road. We were late, 11:00, getting started, but we only had about 240 miles to go and, besides, we were moving from Eastern to Central time, so we were gaining an hour. The drive really did go well, and we made it here with ample time to check in, unhitch, and make camp. But there was an hour or so that I didn’t think we would make it at all. Just about the time we hit the road, grey clouds started to build over Lake Superior. That’s not all that surprising - they do that from time to time and sometimes spill over onto land, dousing the ... read more

North America » United States » Michigan » Calumet June 29th 2018

Keweenaw National Historical Park, Calumet, Michigan We completed our survey of this park yesterday by driving back down the thirty miles or so to Calumet, Michigan. We took a slightly different path this time, taking 26 over to Eagle Harbor instead of 41. Instead of going down the center of the peninsula, we skirted the northwestern shoreline. It was a cool drive because the fog covered Lake Superior, but ended right at the shoreline. So there was plenty of sun on the highway, but fifty feet into the lake was completely fog covered. Not sure I’ve seen such a distinct fog boundary like that before. And the fog was still there when we returned in the late afternoon. Eagle Harbor was an interesting port town too. It has a lighthouse which is available for tour, as ... read more

Isle Royal National Park It wasn’t quite the longest day of the year, but the next day when we began to see the certainty of land a few miles in front of us. Emerging out of the grey waters, the dark strip of an island slowly grew larger and more textured. I could see the outlines of the ridges that make up Isle Royal first. The definitions of rocks and trees became more real the closer we approached. After three hours of sloshing across calm, but boring water, the approaching island yielded a certain measure of excitement. As we got closer, the excitement became a bit more palpable. Just what was this island we call Isle Royale? What in the world had we gotten ourselves into? The first thing you notice is this isn’t just one ... read more

North America » United States » Michigan » Hancock June 27th 2018

Quincy Mine, Keweenaw National Historic Park, Hancock, Michigan This one small peninsula, in the northern reaches of Michigan, is the primary source of copper that fueled the electrification of the United States, and indeed, the world. Over 14 billion pounds of copper was mined from basalt seams in the earth in multiple mines scattered around this 75 mile wide spit of land that juts into Lake Superior. Native Americans originally found the copper here and, discovering it could be hammered and molded into both tools and pretty ornaments, traded both raw and finished copper as far south as Alabama and north into Canada. Large amounts of it were found and became important parts of the Hopewell culture of Southern Ohio and the Ohio River Valley. The copper was so pure that a 7000 pound boulder of ... read more

Fort Wilkins State Park, Copper Harbor, Michigan I know - how can we be back when we haven’t posted yet about being away! Well, I’m behind now. We were just so busy on Isle Royale that I didn’t get the chance to write about anything. It didn’t help that the connectivity was weak and sporadic. And now, there are four full days worth of rich travel experience to report. I admit that I’m having trouble getting my thoughts organized and down on ‘paper’. And then there are the pictures - between us we probably have a couple hundred snapshots. Editing them is not going to be an easy task. Anyway, I’m planning on spending a couple hours a day to fill in the last four days, but it might take a couple more days before I ... read more

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