NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Mainland Trail - To See the Sea Caves

Even though I'm still behind in posting I'm skipping ahead to our current location in Bayfield.  We got here on Thursday, and yesterday decided a long hike was in order after all that driving.  Those of you who also follow In the Direction of Our Dreams will recognize this trail story because it's similar to the one Sherry posted.  However, when Sherry and David hiked the trail in early July they were dealing with lots of mud and things have been a little dryer in Wisconsin for the past month.   Also, workers have been very busy installing a boardwalk of Southern Pine along the section of the trail that they skipped in favor of the beach access.

Mosquitoes are also finally starting to die down to a tolerable level here in Wisconsin, and one light application of the natural spray was all we needed.  The trail goes through the forest for 1.8 miles and is a little bit strenuous due to a lot of ups and downs.

At my recent doctor's appointment I not only vowed to start eating healthier again I also vowed to use my inhalers as prescribed.  Even though this trail was a bit difficult in spots I was still breathing pretty easy!

Paper Birch or White Birch

I love the bark of White Birch trees, their curly bark was so nice to look at as we made our way to the sea caves overlook.

When we were almost at the halfway point we lost the boardwalk and made a stream crossing, continuing onward without any trouble over the unimproved landscape.

I only saw the Fireweed pictured below twice, it was quite striking as it was pretty tall and the pop of color against all the green was so pleasing.

One plant we saw a lot of was the Bunchberry.  You may remember its pretty white bloom from our hike at Newport State Park in Door County.  It was fun to recognize its unique leaves and see it with its bright red berries.  I also noticed its white blooms in some of Sherry's photos so now she can see its berries too!

On this hike I was nervously trying out a new pair of hiking boots.  I bought the Keen Verdi II at Clearwater Outdoor in Lake Geneva with some help from their staff on the day before we left for our trip.  The Keen Targhee II and the Salomon boots I tried on felt clunky and stiff, but these boots felt supportive yet almost as comfy as sneakers right out of the box and they fit true to size.  I also ordered a pair of Lowa Renegade boots from Amazon but I'm saving those for those tough hikes in the Smokies!  The Keens are perfect for the usually soft terrain with occasional hills that dominate my Midwest hikes.  If you'd like a pair support my friends at Clearwater Water, you don't have to drive to Lake Geneva to buy them, you can get them online.

When we reached the sea caves there were signs warning not to get too close to the edge.   Of course we couldn't stay away from the tempting viewing spots, but we exercised as much caution as possible.  When I made my way out onto this point below I left my pack behind and moved so slow I was probably confusing the ant scurrying along faster than I was.

But look at the view!  I shot these with my new 10-22mm lens, which is perfect for places you can't "back up" to get a better shot I'm discovering.  Can't wait to use it inside the sea caves!

Of course the kayakers were out.  We signed up for a guided tour with Living Adventures for Tuesday afternoon.  We opted for the half day tour which the gal working at the counter assured me was really not much different than the all day tour except it substituted lunch on the beach with a simple chocolate chip cookie.  Sounds great to me!

Even though we have kayaks ours are not designed for the deeper, and possibly rougher, water of a big body of water like Lake Superior.  Also, a guide might be handy to have on our first try at something as tricky as maneuvering through sea caves.  

I'll show the rest of the hike tomorrow, we saw more caves and made some friends on the trail too!


  1. Looks like a cool place. I'd be right out there on those overlooks too! (taking photos, of course)

  2. This was just my favorite hike and then followed by the kayak. Loved seeing it again with your great pictures and the part of the trail they hadn't yet finished. Thanks for the shout out. Glad you got the right outfitter. Can't wait to see your kayak adventure.

  3. We did this hike when we were there several years ago, but I would love to kayak into the caves. Can't wait to see your pictures.

  4. Thanks for identifying the purple flower and the red berries. We have seen them a lot along the bike trail in Bemidji. The Fireweed was everywhere.

    Great hike and gorgeous views of the kayaks and sea caves. Good choice of a few photos:) Thanks!