The experience of going “home” for a visit has several aspects. There are always interesting changes to discover, always some family or friends to connect with, always memories to refresh/rehearse. But I often find myself wanting to make new memories and enjoy the home territory in a different way. Isn’t it commonly the case that we don’t take the time to be tourists in the familiar places? I grew up in Hayward, Wisconsin and have visited nearly every year since moving away so it is familiar to me but I needed to have a fun way of seeing it from a new perspective.
Enter the “Lake a Day” challenge.
Northern Wisconsin, although it is not known as the “land of 10,000 lakes” like it’s neighbor Minnesota, has many of the same features. There is a lot of water. I grew up on one of the prettiest, cleanest, most refreshing lakes in the area and knew it well, but there were many other bodies of water close by that I did not frequent. Every day I am going to find some “water” of a natural kind and get wet in it (not saying how wet, but wet somewhere). You may travel northern Wisconsin someday and want to check out these great spots.
Day 1: Lake Superior
Lake Superior is as close to being an ocean as a lake can get. It is huge – they don’t call it one of the Great Lakes for nothing. Unlike an ocean it is fresh water but like an ocean it is big enough for ships, dangerous storms and currents, and it has a fascinating history.
On this day my mom and I were on our way to visit a friend who lives in Duluth, Minnesota, just across the border from Superior, Wisconsin. As we drove close to the harbor at the western tip of Lake Superior we passed a small park where there was access to the water and also a small ship offering tours to visitors. It wasn’t exactly a beach but it appeared that I might be able to reach the water so we pulled in and parked. As I mentioned earlier, the goal was to get some part of me wet so I found a short path with no barriers and went down to stick a foot in the water.
Lake Superior has many interesting coastal towns in Minnesota and Wisconsin but about the only ones I’ve visited are Duluth/Superior and Bayfield. Madelaine Island, near Bayfield is where my brother’s family has camped for years. I have visited them at the campground there and we had an amazing time leaping into Lake Superior from some rock cliffs. Unforgettable.
On this day we had a great time visiting with my friend at her house and at her husband’s nearby business, Lake Superior Brewery. The root beer we sampled was really good, as are their other beers. Must be the local water, right?