Blogs from Ashland, Wisconsin, United States, North America

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North America » United States » Wisconsin » Ashland July 7th 2018

La Pointe on Madeline Island, Wisconsin Geographically, Madeline Island is one of the Apostles. In fact it is the largest of the 22 islands stretching for 14 miles along the southernmost part of the island group, just a short ferry ride from Bayfield. At the maximum, it is five miles wide. At the time French explorers discovered it in the 1600s, it was a major homeland for the Ojibwe Indians, who still maintain a substantial presence on the island. But Madeline Island is not part of the National Lakeshore. As such, it is developed, and has private property available for purchase. There is one town, pretty much on the point closest to the mainland, named, appropriately, La Pointe and this town has been there for centuries, first as a fur trading post, and later as a ... read more
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North America » United States » Wisconsin » Ashland July 6th 2018

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Bayfield, Wisconsin Seems like every big park has its iconic feature. Yellowstone has Old Faithful, Yosemite has Half-Dome, and Glacier has, well, used to have, big glaciers. The feature that captures more photos than any other here at Apostle Islands has to be the sea caves. There are two sets of them in this park. The ‘Winter’ caves are those here on the mainland, on the northwester side of Bayfield peninsula. They are called the ‘Winter’ caves because they are sought after in the winter because of their ice formations. Photos of these caves are often taken from the frozen surface of Lake Superior and they are stunning. We tried to see them on the Fourth of July, but essentially got rained out. The ‘Summer’ caves attract tourists, and cameras, in the ... read more
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North America » United States » Wisconsin » Ashland July 5th 2018

Myers Beach Trail, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Cornucopia, Wisconsin I can appreciate that forecasting the weather around the Great Lakes can be next to impossible. As they say, the Lake is the Boss, and when she decides to send some weather towards the mainland, well, there’s just no arguing with that. The recent storms at Houten are testimony to how angry she can get. So if the forecast calls for partly cloudy skies but no rain and it ends up raining cats and dogs, well, that’s just luck around the lake. The forecast for the Fourth was really not too bad - the day was supposed to be cloudy, but rain wasn’t supposed to come in until six or so. We figured that would work in our favor, by putting a damper, literally, on the noisy ... read more
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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 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
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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
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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 » Wisconsin » Ashland August 3rd 2013

What a fantastic day we had! We left Fargo and headed northeast towards the Itasca State Park. This park is home to the Mississippi Headwater. We arrived at the headwaters and decided we had to walk across. What a treat that was. My kids were thrilled. They had walked across the Missouri River Headwater and now the Mississippi. We explained that last year they crossed the Mississippi when it was a large river and now they see it as a small current. They were dually impressed. Once we left the headwater state park we headed east towards Duluth, MN. It was very beautiful and we enjoyed the back road scenery. We pulled over at a small turnout to let my dad and Theo get some water and stretch and the bugs were HUGE! I have never ... read more
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