Let me say that I have always wanted to see the Great Lakes, having taught a song about them to many young children during my teaching career. I did not expect the awe and beauty that surrounded us as we began our travels to all five.
We drove east from Duluth, MN, along the northern edge of Wisconsin through Ashland to Saxon, which is located a few miles due south of Lake Superior’s border of Wisconsin and Michigan. As we drove through Ashland, we stopped for a photo op at one of several free city parks that run along Route 2 on the water’s edge and feature docks, beaches, and even a spot to jump off a diving board!
The 22 Apostle Islands were formed by ice, wind, and waves. The Ojibwe are the most recent group of native people to live in these islands. Through the centuries people have used Lake Superior as a route of travel and commerce. Ojibwe and other tribes navigated the lake in large birchbark canoes that voyageurs adopted for the fur trade by the mid-1600’s. Often asked, “Who is the boss?” Commercial fisherman Julian Nelson put it: “The lake is the boss. No matter how big you are or what kind of boat you’ve got, the lake is still the boss. Mother Nature dictates a lot of things.” Today the Great Lakes shipping industry still links commerce between North AMerica’s heartland and the entire globe.
This national lakeshore is a fantastic recreation area for travel by foot, kayak, or boat. We enjoyed sightseeing via the first two means of transportation. We headed north to the Bayfield Peninsula to access Lakeshore Trail.
At this point, we were hot from hiking and decided to get back to the truck and grab our kayaks. We drove to Meyers Beach for the launch. In order to put your own kayak into the water, we needed to show our floatation device and then register for free. We were advised by park personnel that right now the water current and wind status were safe to proceed, but that we should not get too close to the cliffs/caves if the wind kicked in. We paddled about a mile north to reach the first of several Sea Caves. It was awesome! I admit that I was a bit scared at first. One cave opening was completely black on the other side. I would not go in. The rest of it was magical!
The following day, we drove to Potato Lakes Falls. The Upper Falls had 139 steps down to the water and then 139 back up.
The Lower Falls had 196 steps down and obviously back up again. We felt that the views here were much better than the Upper Falls.
Next stop, Michigan!