Lake Superior Sky Vacation- Part 2 (Bayfield & the Apostle Islands)

After staying in Duluth for 2 nights we drove through the fog for an hour or so and came up over a hill and down into the sleepy little town of Bayfield. Our neighbors had told us about this charming little town and after looking at pictures of the Apostle Islands we decided to rent a cabin there. It was worth suffering through a few rainy patches just to get pictures of the amazing sky! There isn’t a lot going on around Bayfield so the light pollution is low, allowing for the true colors of the sky to come out. The above picture was taken our first night there at about 10pm. The moon glistening off the water was magnificent.

My favorite thing about Bayfield is that there is not a single corporate chain in the entire town or within a pretty far radius. The nearest McDonald’s is 30 minutes away, same for the Wal-Mart. After driving through the American landscape of strip malls and fast food neon overload for the majority of my life, the sight of Bayfield was a refreshing experience.

I can honestly say it is probably the most underdeveloped area I have ever been to and in my book that is a very impressive feat for a town of any size.

When we got to our cabin we were definitely satisfied with the property we rented. Here is a view of the house:

I snapped the shot of the cabin and then I turned around and shot this picture of our view:

We didn’t have a sand beach, but we did have access to the water (via rocky terrain). We were a little worried about finding a decent grocery store to stock the fridge with being in such a remote area and all but when we walked into the IGA in Washburn we were amazed. They had a huge selection of beautiful looking food in such a small space. Everything we needed and more was in that small store. No “super center” needed!

After preparing the first meal of wild rice and grilled chicken, we went into town to take a walk around the marina. It was a Tuesday night and at 7pm everything was pretty much shut down except for a few bars. I imagine the stores stay open later as it gets later in the week and later in the season but for now we had the town to ourselves for the most part.

I took a lot of pictures- mostly of boats, clouds and water!

Here is the first storm rolling in. That night we did have a fire, but later as the night went on the lightening really picked up and it started to rain.

The next day we woke up and I really wanted to see one of those sea caves so we went to Meyer’s Beach where I heard you could walk a mile down the trail and see a sea cave from the trail. But when we got there the park ranger said the trail was way to muddy to trek on unless you had special gear. I was disappointed, but Andrew enjoyed looking for rocks.

And Chloe. . . well, she was only happy during the trip if she was on the beach!

But eventually it started to rain and so we packed up and went back to the cabin. We spent the afternoon there, the cabin spacious enough for the kids not to feel cooped up. Andrew and I went and got  a pint of fresh strawberries for a snack, made burgers for supper and then twiddled our thumbs wondering what to do. Finally the rain stopped around 7pm and my brother and I decided to go on a photo hunt. I’m so glad we did because I got the best pictures ever!

First we went down by the water. The sky looked like a watercolor painting.

It looked like fine, delicate paper that had been ripped open to reveal layer after layer of watercolor from an artist’s brush.

Then we became sun chasers and we followed the sunset up over that hill into strawberry-picking territory. After a 5 minute drive we came up over a hill and saw this:

The sky was changing rapidly, I was worrying about my settings on my camera because the sky was so bright. I didn’t know how I could shoot something so dynamic.

The colors were changing before our eyes. We would shoot a few photos, stop, look again and shoot a whole round more because it had completely changed in a matter of minutes.

Count the colors . . .

I think the above photo is pretty amazing. After getting that I figured we had seen it all. But on the way back down the hill there was this:

5 minutes later, back at the cabin, I snapped this:

Amazingly, the sky was actually pink, purple and blue. No Photoshop!

The next day the sun was shining and we all made plans to head over to Madeline Island. Chloe was crabby again for most of the day unless she was either in the dirt or sand!

The ferry ride was only 20 minutes. Chloe screamed (I guess she doesn’t like boats?) but Andrew enjoyed the sightseeing.

Once we got there we found the nearest beach so that Chloe could be at peace.

My brother and his friends hopped on some mopeds to get a better look at the island.

Personally I thought it sounded a little spendy but they acted like it was the most fun they’d had all vacation!

We were on Madeline Island no longer than 2 hours. It was okay, but without money and a babysitter, there wasn’t a lot Josh and i could do. I guess we could have gone into the state park but we didn’t pay the $22.00 to bring the car. We thought that was a little much. Here’s what I would have liked to have done:

But I needed a little more cash and a babysitter. Oh and maybe some lessons first. . .

On the last night, our buddy Nathan discovered you could scale the rocky terrain at the foot of our cliff and get around the bend to see this:

My intentions were to get up with the sun and get a better shot of this the next morning but vacation must have caught up with us. We all slept in. But I’m glad to have at least seen some of the red cliffs that are so predominant in the area that a nearby reservation is named after them.

In the end, it was worth it for the sunsets.

And for a chance to see the world’s largest lake up close.

It was like being at the end of the earth which is where I often long to be. Away from all the neon, light pollution, strip malls and Best Buys. The Applebees and Wal-Marts . . . all the things we can certainly live without.


  1. Posted June 28, 2010 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    gorgeous photos…. love the rocks in the pockets and spider web pics… and of course that sky…

  2. Lois Deragon
    Posted June 28, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    And if you want to see really amazing skies, your next vacation should be to Sault St. Marie, MI! It was there where we saw a rainbow that had both ends on the ground!

    If you take a winter trip to Bayfield, you can walk on the ice to get to the sea caves.

    There’s not a lot to see driving around Madeline Island – a paved road and lots of woods.

  3. Posted June 28, 2010 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Yes, I have been up there quite a few times since my mom is from Michigan. We always did the Macinaw Island vacation so this was similar. I hope to take the kids there one day and then swing down the eastern side of lake Michigan through Traverse City, Petosky, etc.