Day 1: After packing all our gear, we went to our friends' (the Laceys) house and caravaned together up to Bayfield, Wisconsin (with a few stops along the way, of course). We took the ferry over to Madeline Island. Driving onto the island it felt like our burdens were left behind.
We drove out to the campground at Big Bay City Park, picked out a spot and set up camp. The weather was much more comfortable on the island than the heat and humidity we left behind in Minneapolis (with heat indexes above 100). Nils managed to find a yellow jacket nest in a downed tree while the kids were exploring the woods behind our campsites. He received four stings (and I got one as well pulling him out of the tree).
We explored the beach a little that night and decided to return the next day.
Day 2: We spent the majority of the day at the beach. It was gorgeous. At the city park campground where we stayed, a lagoon feeds into Lake Superior. An almost tidal phenomeno
n exists where water from the lagoon will run out into the lake, but at times it will reverse and go back into the lagoon. The current could be quite strong--we had fun floating down it and trying to walk against it. The water from the lagoon tended to be warm; the lake water was significantly cooler, but still nice. The beach had wonderful sand and smooth, rounded stones. The water was shallow for quite a ways out in the bay; I waded along it and did some exploring of the sandstone cliffs nearby. Some kayakers said they saw a black bear above one of the cliffs. I never found it.
We were at the beach almost all day. Until we heard some thunder in the distance. Then we headed back to camp, set up a tarp and got supper going. It rained most of the evening. We weathered it fairly well.
Day 3: We biked over to Big Bay State Park, which was just on the other end of the bay from where we were, but we had to go around the perimeter of it to get there (about seven miles one way). We all had a bike with a tag-a-long behind it which the kids rode. Pete also had a Burley trailer in tow for their dog to ride in (which Marmalade did not like at all). We arrived to discover dogs weren't allowed on the beach (we still snuck Marmalade down for a lit
tle bit). And the water was a lot colder (most likely because of the rain).
We biked back, making a vow to drive into town to award ourselves with ice cream later that night. We were so hot and sweaty after the bike ride, we hiked down to the beach once more to cool off. While we were working on supper, Nils managed to get his finger pinched (and cut pretty well) in the water pump. Ice cream in town that night was a good way to end the day.
Day 4: We had to pack up and head home. My family is getting together to camp in Iowa tomorrow. We didn't want to do the entire drive in one day, plus we needed to do some laundry. So we said good-bye to the Laceys (whom are staying one more night) and got on the ferry. Nils cried for the first half of the ride because we were leaving his friends behind. It was sad--we could have stayed another week. It was extremely relaxing. And beautiful. And fun.
I love camping (if that wasn't obvious). It was good to get to share it with friends. It was good we were all laid-back and go-with-the-flow kinds of people who were able to get along for four days. It was good to not have to worry about much--just getting a fire started for supper and keeping the rain out of the tent. We could just sit/swim/wade along the beach all day and enjoy. That was good for the soul (as well as the rest of me).
But tomorrow holds another camping trip...