Wisconsin's national seashore and trails

Gorgeous sunsets and starlit skies await you at Lake Superior
Wisconsin doesn't have any real national parks.  It could be because it's done a pretty good job at making lots of state parks, so there hasn't been a real need.  They do have 2 national areas that I had never been to which are quite unique- the national seashore near Bayfield and the Apostle Isles http://www.nps.gov/apis/index.htm, and a pretty new trail system which is part of a 7 state route that runs along the top of Wisconsin, called the North country national scenic trail.  http://www.nps.gov/noco/index.htm

This past week I had a couple of young ladies visiting from London who were game to try some outdoors activities, so we loaded up a rental van and went as far north as Ashland WI where we spent three nights.  My two boys, Jake (25), and Omar (7) also came for the trip.

We spent the first day sailing along the islands on an outfitter called Dreamcatcher Sailing.  It's a real hands-on activity that allows you to learn to sail on a medium size sailboat with about 6 passengers.
The happy sailing crew

Dreamcatcher Sailing

The next day we went kayaking with sea kayaks along the seashore and explored the sea caves.  These are both beautiful and amazing in size.  It was an all day trip starting at 9:30 and ending at 4:30.  It cost $99 and we did it with a company called Living Adventures.  We showed up at their lot where they gave us dry bags for personal storage, and offered wet suits, which no one took because it was 90 degrees that day and the weather promised to be pretty nice.  They loaded 10 of us into a van and drove to a put in site with 6 kayaks.  Most were doubles, but Omar rode in a triple with me and Sadiya.  The views are incredible.  Tall stacked rock with trees growing in barely nothing.  We went into about 8 different arches and caves- some were so narrow you had to pull in your paddle and push with your hands.  Some were so large and cavernous you could have all the kayaks at once in there.  We had an especially good day.  The water began very calm and only got rougher later in the afternoon.  As long as there are no waves, you can enter.  With much wave action, you wouldn't be allowed in them because it would toss you into the rocks.  You can see what years of erosion have done here.

Our triple kayak waits to go into one of the caves
The water is so clear and the wave action was calm at this point

Look at the size of this cavern!

You kayak through the arches

We stopped here for lunch
The next day we headed home and stopped at Copper Falls State Park enroute, which has part of the north country trail system I mentioned before.  This is going to be the longest trail in America and runs from New York to North Dakota!  Most of the work is being done with volunteers.  It runs through several state parks as it passes through Wisconsin.  You can see the full park map at the website I included at the top of this post.  They have a section that includes 3 waterfalls, although the falls were smaller due to a lack of rain fall this year.  If this is any indication of the trail system across America, it's going to be beautiful.  I'm glad we had this experience and good weather to enjoy it!
one of the waterfalls at Copper Falls State Park, WI


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