More Door County Potpourri – Part 1

Hi everyone,

A few weeks ago, my Traveling Partner and I hitched up Minnie, our Winnebago travel trailer, to the Red Rover, our F-150 tow vehicle. Our destination was Door County in northeast Wisconsin. My regular readers might be saying, “Weren’t you just there for the whole month of July?” My answer is, “Yes.” I would go on to explain that we were volunteer campground hosts at Potawatomi State Park near Sturgeon Bay in southern Door County. We were so busy in the campground that there was little time for us to enjoy the picturesque scenery and the quaint towns that populate the peninsula. Door County is a very popular Midwest tourist destination so the summer especially on weekends is very busy.

We departed on Sunday morning and arrived at Potawatomi, our home away from home, just in time for the 3:00 PM check-in to our campsite. We had five days to relax and explore without the responsibility of rushing back to the campground to clean fire pits and assist arriving campers.

With the exception of part of one day, we had excellent weather though it was a bit on the cool side a few evenings. During our stay, we visited some of our favorite haunts and a number of places we hadn’t been to before. While I don’t have photos (I’ll remember to take them next year), we enjoyed our stop at the Pink Bakery in Egg Harbor for a couple of delicious cupcakes. We also stopped at the Door County Distillery and Door County Coffee and Tea both in the small hamlet of Carlsville located between Sturgeon Bay and Egg Harbor.

This week, I’ll take to a few places I’ve taken you to in past blog posts. The Sturgeon Bay Canal North Pierhead Light is located at the south end of the Ship Canal on the Coast Guard base. Visitors are directed to a small parking lot just outside the base. Public access to the Pierhead Light is by way of a 4 to 5 foot paved path. It’s clearly marked public and private so visitors don’t unintentionally wander over to the restricted Coast Guard installation.

The attraction is the bright red light at the end of a concrete break wall. The overhead walkway provides access for authorized personnel and serves as a great frame for the light. We walked out until the break narrowed and the waves were washing up onto the surface. 

Looking back at the Coast Guard base, the automated Canal Station Light Tower stands tall. Both lights guide freighters and small craft safely in and out of the ship canal. 

The beach by the lights are on private property. The waves were rolling in a pretty good clip the day of our visit.

After our time at the light, we took the rustic roads north to the entrance of Whitefish Dunes State Park. We walked down to the visitor center to check out the beach. Even though the weather was on the cool side, there were folks swimming and sunning themselves on the sandy beach.

A few miles up the road is the very popular Cave Point County Park. Over the years, we’ve visited this park many times. In fact, during this trip we went there twice, once during the day and once for sunrise photography. We had very little sun at either stop. That’s the way photography goes sometime, take what you can get and look for alternative subjects.

If you haven’t been to Cave Point, you might be asking: “What’s the attraction?” Please allow me to attempt a response. It could be the spectacular view of Lake Michigan especially during the sunrise and sunset. It could be the limestone ledges and the caves worn by the crashing waves. It could be the trees clinging to the cliffs with their roots spreading across the landscape. It could be the hiking trail that follows the shoreline for nearly a half mile. It could be the closeness with nature and mesmerizing sound of the water lapping against the sturdy rock. For me, it’s all of these things and that’s why I keep returning. Now a few photos to illustrate my point. This group of photos was during our daytime visit on a cloudy, windy day.

Across the parking lot and near the restrooms, we saw the sign for the haft-mile Contemplation Walk through the forest. I thought it a nice touch that the Door County Crisis Hotline phone number was posted on the smaller sign. My Traveling Partner and I stopped to admire the tree that seemed to be pushing up out of the ground. Those roots have to strong to hold the weight of the huge tree above. 

A couple of mornings later, we were up well before sunrise to make the thirty-minute drive from Potawatomi to Cave Point. We arrived just as it was getting light. The heavy cloud cover in the east obliterated the sunrise I was expecting, at least according to the weather forecast. In spite of my disappointment, here are a few of the photos I made as daylight made it’s appearance.

In late January 2020, just as the Covid-19 virus was spreading throughout the world, we spent a long weekend in Door County. We went to the Sturgeon Bay Pierhead Light, Whitefish Dunes State Park, and Cave Point. These locations are quite spectacular in the winter when ice coats the trees, cliffs, and just about anything near the waters of Lake Michigan. Click this link to read about our experience and see the photos. Here’s a link to more information about Cave Point.

As we were making our way back to the parking lot that early morning, I looked up and noted these poofy clouds overhead. The sun was shining someplace and giving color to the clouds above.

Next week, stay tuned for Part 2 when I’ll take you on a few hikes on some of the many trails in Door County.

Until then, happy travels!

Tom

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