Madeline Island – The September 2016 Version


Welcome to my 2016 version of our travels to Madeline Island. I wrote my very first blog post about Madeline Island that was published on November 14, 2015 so I’m back with some more stories and photos from this year’s trip. Donna has visited three times and this was my fourth trip to Madeline Island. Suffice it to say, we do like being on “island time” when we visit!

For those not familiar, Madeline Island is located in Lake Superior and is part of the Apostle Islands. It is the only island in the Apostle Island chain that is open for development and private ownership. It’s located about 2 ½ miles offshore from beautiful and quaint mainland town of Bayfield, Wisconsin. The island can only be reached by ferry, airplane or charter boat during the summer months. In the winter once the ice freezes thick enough the “ice road” is opened to vehicle traffic. For the in-between times, the island can be accessed by small aircraft, snowmobile or a wind sled. The major industry is summer tourism, the population of the island increases from about 300 year around residents to about 3000 summer residents plus lots of daily tourists who arrive by ferry. Some of the major recreational activities are hiking, biking fishing and sailing. It boasts some beautiful white sand beaches but the waters of Lake Superior are quite cold! The island is 14 miles long and 3 miles wide but it takes awhile to get around because the speed limit is 40 mph! The only community is LaPointe that once was a French fur trading post and one of the earliest settlements in the area. Madeline Island is one of the traditional spiritual centers for the Lake Superior Chippewa/Ojibwe, of interest many of the signs are both in English and Ojibwe out of respect and honor. Here are a couple photos of LaPointe, the first a photo of Tom’s Burned Down Bar and the second of Main Street at night, pretty deserted!madeline-island-2016-4967madeline-island-2016-9742

On this version of our trip, we left Madison on September 23 and stopped for the night at the Copper Falls State Park near Mellen, Wisconsin. After setting up for the evening and going into town for some dinner, we were surprised to discover that we had a mouse traveling with us! Donna spotted the critter and let out a bloodcurdling scream, I thought our neighbors in the campground were going to call the police to report a homicide! Anyway, we were able to shoo the mouse out the door with the aid of a broom. Too much excitement for the first night but stay tuned in future posts for more mouse stories.

The next day we headed for Bayfield stopping to fill fuel and buy provisions for the week as grocery shopping is limited on the island. The ferry ride was comfortable although the weather was quite cool. After departing from the ferry, we set up camp for the week at the Big Bay State Park, we were in the same site as last year so seemed right at home!

Departing from Bayfield
Arriving in LaPointe on Madeline Island

Our reason for going back to Madeline Island was so Donna could attend a quilting workshop at the Madeline Island School of the Arts. This is a photo taken at the School.img_1464This workshop featured one of the top quilter designers in the country, Judy Niemeyer. There were 60 participants and 4 instructors so it was a big group! Here are some photos from the quilting class.

Donna at her sewing station
The sweatshop in action!
Donna’s creation

Last year we both attended classes at MISA but this year I was on my own. The first few days we were on the island, it rained off and on for most of the day and night so didn’t get much photography done. Last year we had great weather for photographing so this year it was somewhat disappointing. I did miss a good sunrise on Wednesday morning so decided that I wouldn’t miss it on Thursday morning. So when morning rolled around, I was up early, made some coffee and headed to the nearby “cliffs” to photography the sunrise. It wasn’t spectacular but ok. As I headed back, I was carrying my tripod with a camera attached and had another camera strapped around my neck. (A guy can’t have too many cameras! Also had my iPhone with me too!) Anyway as I was climbing up from the rocks, I slipped and fell, with the fall stopped by a protruding tree root that prevented me from hitting a large rock. The camera and tripod went flying but were not damaged to my relief! But I was, had a bad scrape on my arm at the elbow and injured my rib cage. Man that smarted! I was able to get back to the campsite, Donna put a dressing on the wound (since I’m prone to cuts and bruises, we have a well stocked medical kit in the trailer and she’s a nurse!) and I took some ibuprofen for pain. Thought about seeking medical help but there isn’t much medical care on the island, clinic only open three days a week from 10 AM – 1 PM. So that slowed my photography escapades for the rest of the week. I’ve been reminded many times since this happened that I’m not a spry teenager anymore so need to be more careful and maybe calculate the risks of getting that one great photo a little more carefully! I’m getting better but it will take a while to get back to normal, whatever that is at this age! Here are some photos that I managed to take just before my little incident!madeline-island-2016-9773img_1465madeline-island-2016-5078madeline-island-2016-5057

Earlier in the week, I did manage to take a nice long hike through Big Bay State Park and Big Bay Town Park that adjoin each other on the Island. Here are some of my photos from that stroll through the woods.img_1492madeline-island-2016-9684madeline-island-2016-4993madeline-island-2016-9690madeline-island-2016-5013madeline-island-2016-5004madeline-island-2016-4988madeline-island-2016-4982madeline-island-2016-4972madeline-island-2016-4971img_1488img_1483img_1471

One day when walking along the shoreline, we noticed this young couple diving into the lake off the rocks. Hey, that water is cold!madeline-island-2016-4921

Nearby was this life saving device.madeline-island-2016-4955

So the rest of the week was spent staying pretty low, taking and picking Donna up from class, reading, resting and a few photos.madeline-island-2016-5024madeline-island-2016-4960madeline-island-2016-4963madeline-island-2016-4948madeline-island-2016-4940

Early Saturday morning we reluctantly left Madeline Island but were heading to a new adventure as campground hosts at Potawatomi State Park in Door County, Wisconsin. My next post will be about this beautiful location.

Until next week, be safe and calculate those risks!



6 thoughts on “Madeline Island – The September 2016 Version

  1. Glad to hear your cameras were not hurt! Well, I hope you’re recovering as well, too. Kathy and I camped in Potawatomi State Park quite a few times in the past so I’ll be interested to read about your adventures there.

    1. Hi Mike, I’m doing much better, thanks. We had a full house this weekend so we’ve been busy with our campground host duties. Doesn’t look as busy this coming weekend. The colors are slow this year, very gradually changing. Tom

  2. Great pictures. Sorry to hear about the fall. I have taken two this summer and notice recovery is much longer at this age. Look forward to seeing you Thursday at the lake.

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