Monday, August 27, 2007

Back from the Island

Ahh... We managed to get away again for another short adventure. Can you guess where we landed?

White-ish sand beaches? Check. Crystal clear water? Check. Exotic island location? Check. Tropical palm trees... wait, nope. Just white pines and cedar! Yes, indeed, this is Lake Superior. We went to Stockton Island, part of the Apostle Islands in Wisconsin.

I grew up in Minnesota and had never heard of this place until I was offered a job there. I had the good fortune to spend part of a summer on this island, way back in the "good old days" when the Park Service had some healthy funding. In my day, there were at least 4 staff people on this one big island. Now, there is usually just one interp Ranger and perhaps a volunteer- yikes! I am still in touch with some of the other staff from my time there; it would be a totally different experience alone.

I haven't been back in years: it's a hard place to get to if you don't have your own boat. I was entirely entertained, however, to find that a picture of my very young Ranger self is still part of the trail guide- some history does endure!

The weather for this trip was spectacular, with very few bugs. It's been very dry, so that might have wiped out some of the bugs. The blueberries were plentiful, but the lack of rain has made them small and even crunchy; very odd. Many other plants had not set fruit this year. But otherwise, the island was much the same as I remember it. We swam, we hiked, we read, we ruminated and then shared a campfire with some friends from town who just happened to be there at the same time. It was lovely.

It's now raining at home; welcome precipitation that very politely waiting for us to return and even catch up on a bit of laundry first. Blessed be!


noel said...

So it looks as though the above picture, Gina on Julian Bay Trail is an old, Ranger pic, right? How old is it?

-Noel (if you can read this, the script surrounding me now is all in Hangeul)

BurdockBoy said...

I lived in that area for years and the only island I made it to was Medeline (since I had no boat). I spent countless hours on the lakeshore though. My favourite beach was down Sand Point road several miles east of Cornucopia. Rarely anyone ever there.

The pictures make me homesick.

gtr said...

Hi, Noel! Yes, the comment worked, thanks! That picture is of me this week, but I'm holding the trail guide that contains a picture of a 22-yr-old me leading a hike. Crazy, eh? 1995.

Burdockboy: Yes, I'm a little homesick for those beaches, too! I lived in Park housing at Little Sand Bay, and often had the beach to myself, just feet from my front door.

But we do still live within reach, even if we had to pay the cruise service an arm and a leg to get out there. It's doable, and for a couple days on an island, not too extravagant. But Madeline is beautiful, too... love those beaches.

Deb said...

I really, really need to get out to some of those wonderful places that are only a few hours from home! I've been to Bayfield (Big Top Chautauqua concerts), but have not stayed there overnight. And I've missed some great Big Top concerts this year...sigh...