Madeline Island Trip 2002

19 July 2002

Russ and I had been wanting to take a trip for some time. Just a little road trip. Get out of town and do a little exploring. New sights. New faces. The first idea was to go out to Sheboygan but we figured it would be a little bit longer than we wanted to drive. So he suggested the Apostle Islands. Seemed as good a place as any to me so we made that our destination. Just a weekend trip. Two days - One night. Take a few pictures, see a few sights, learn a little about the region and then come back.

Russ had been up that way before. His grandparents lived in that general direction. But we were going to go further northeast. Actually, we were going further north then I had ever been. I had never seen Lake Superior, either, so it was going to be a weekend of firsts for me. Preparation was easy. We both travel light although his medical needs require a little more than he would prefer. For me, it was easy. My hammock and rope, some clothes, and my camera with lots of film.

We finally left at 3pm. A short day of work for Russ. We stopped off at WalMart in order for me to drop off a roll of film for development. Then we headed north. Beautiful sunny day - a bit on the warm side, but we had air conditioning so what did we care?!

We took Highway 53 north. Just past Spooner, we got onto Route 63. Scenic all the way, if somewhat uneventful. But thats where the wonderful act of communication comes in. A few miles from Hayward we saw a big black bear crossing the road. Pretty impressive. The first time I have ever seen a bear in the wild. Unfortunately, it was too far away to get a picture of it and it moved too quickly into the trees and brush to see once we got closer.

In Hayward, we stopped and took a few pictures of the big fish. Something Russ had remembered from long ago. He was very cryptic about this thing he wanted to show me. Certainly not what I had expected. A museum built in the shape of a giant fish. Quite the odd attraction. Across the road was a windmill - or rather a realty company in a building shaped like a windmill. Apparently, Hayward natives have a loose grip on reality. I did enjoy the look of their water tower. A nice old style with a distinct retro feel.

Just past Hayward, the clock said it was nearly 6pm so we stopped at an abandoned steel retail place out in the middle of nowhere. There we hooked Russ up to his IV and then continued on our way.

Eventually we reached the end of Rte63 and turned onto Rte137 and then onto Rte13. Driving through Washburn, we noticed a number of places that we wanted to photograph. We planned on getting those when we drove back. We began to see the blue of the lake occasionaly peeking through the trees.

Finally we reached Bayfield. Stopping at the city Rec Center and Pool, we asked a nice young brunette for directions to the ferry landing. She pointed the way and we easily found it.

After paying $36 (round trip fare), we got onboard. My first time on a ferry. Another first. As the ferry pulled away from the mainland, I noticed a young boy we had seen earlier. He was sitting on the edge of one of the docks so we waved to him. Once we left the dock, I got out of the car and wandered about taking pictures. It was cool to feel the powerful engine vibrating through the hull and the soles of my shoes. Russ pointed out that there were only 4 adult and 27 children's lifejackets on board. That interesting bit of information spawned a brief conversation on the various levels of our swimming ability.

Once we arrived on Madeline Island and debarked, we found a large billboard with a map. Around the other side of the Island was Big Bay State Park so we headed that direction. Apparently there is a main road that encircles the perimeter of the island.

As we were driving, we saw a deer which prompted a discussion of whether or not it swam across (my view) or was brought across (Russ' view). I suggested that maybe deer came across when the lake was lower and had been here ever since. (Of course that is contingent on whether or not the lake had ever been lower.)

When we reached the State Park, the ranger told us that it was full. He was able to give us directions to the City Park, back towards the center of the island, so we turned around. Once again we saw the deer (presumably the same one...) crossing from the other direction.

Finally after much to-do, we got to the park and found an open campsite. Not our first choice (rather congested with people) but it worked. Conveniently, the bathroom/outhouse was only a few yards away.

Russ set up his tent and I set up my hammock. As the trees were rather far apart, I experimented with my setup. First I rigged the rope up between two of the best looking trees. Then after much measuring, I tied two looped knots into the rope. I then clipped my hammock into the loops. This new way has given me a much greater range of usable trees and will probably be how I string my hammocks up from now on. Plus my tarp is easier to deal with as I dont have to hang a second rope above the hammock.

Russ made a soup and rice dinner. We ate and talked for a while after dark. Eventually, he wandered off to his tent to do homework and I jumped into the back of the Toyota to write in the journal.

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