Mainland Trail Articles

Discover the Park – Places

A first look at new mainland campsites in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

A first look at new mainland campsites in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Normally, in late February, Friends board member Neil Howk would be planning cross country ski outings across the frozen lake to the old brownstone quarry at the south end of Basswood Island, to Honeymoon Rock at the north end of Basswood Island, or from Frog Bay Tribal National Park to the Oak Island sandspit. This year not only is the lake unfrozen, but there has been very little snow for cross country skiing anywhere in the Bayfield area.NPS Map of Lakeshore Trail (Click to enlarge map as well as photos below)Instead, Neil took advantage of two prematurely spring-like days to hike to the...

Beauty from above: A winter hike on the Lakeshore trail

Beauty from above: A winter hike on the Lakeshore trail

It has been a winter of extremes: the warmest December on record in many parts of the northland, historically low ice coverage on Lake Superior, and then the plummeting temperatures of mid-January. There were windless days on end with the lake barely rippled and then a storm bringing gusts up to 53 miles an hour at Devils Island churning the lake into waves of 12 to 15 feet.There is beauty in extremes, the kind of beauty that can turn a hike into a journey through a landscape of enchantment. Recently, our Executive Director Jeff Rennicke ventured into that enchanted landscape and sent back...

A promise of spring in the sounds of chickadee

A promise of spring in the sounds of chickadee

Nothing. No tracks but my own stitched into the dusting of fresh snow that fell last night, white as birch bark. No flittering shadows in the trees, not a sliver of bird song in the air. Winter in the Lakeshore. What sun there is this time of year shines weakly, halfheartedly through the white gauze of clouds, offering not even the slightest pretense of warmth. For nearly a week temperatures in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore have barely risen above zero. The mercury seems painted to the bottom of the thermometer. A shiver runs through me as I stomp my feet for warmth and then listen...

The lessons of the ice: hiking the Lakeshore Trail

A sound like a low moan rattles in the trees, a gust of wind lifts swirls of snow, like snow ghosts, at the edge of the sunlit cliffs. Five below zero, a wind chill of -15 degrees, and there are no other boot prints in the snow ahead. I cinch my hood down tight around my face and continue down the trail. It is early February. In some years, the lakeshore ice would be fast against the Mawikwe Bay caves by now and thousands of people would be setting out on foot across the frozen lake to witness one of the great wonders of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. But the lake is fickle. Ice...

Where in the park is Neil? The week 20 answer is the Lakeshore Trail

Where in the park is Neil? The week 20 answer is the Lakeshore Trail

As part of the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, we’re going on a virtual tour with Neil Howk, a man who has spent decades exploring the islands and teaching people about what makes them special. He knows the islands like the back of his hand. Though the National Park Service’s goal is to preserve the Apostle Islands “unimpaired” for future generations, the fact is that the area changes all the time.  When you visit the same area repeatedly, you can often note of the changes.  Today, Neil is visiting an area that he has been to many times over the...