Monday, February 16, 2009

Bayfield Penninsula

This past weekend Anni and I headed North with friends to the Chequamegon Forest and the Bayfield Penninsula. To say the least the weekend was fantastic! Tim and Odia are incredible hosts at their families home on Lake Namekagon inviting us for a weekend of hiking, skiing, and sampling of local beers.

Friday night we left MPLS around 7- throwing gear and skis in their car. Saturday AM we woke up to 20F and relatively calm on the lake. Odia made some incredible cornmeal waffles while Tim fried up the bacon and I made coffee.

After much procrastinating and good company we drove to Washburn, WI to sign up for the night's activity "Book Across the Bay". The walk, run, or ski event raises money for the local library and provides a good excuse to setup a 10k course on the bay using ice luminaries. This year the bay was especially icy after early February's thaw leaving it difficult to lay course and impossible to lay track for classics.

Along the way Porter put his auto in the ditch on a slick corner, narrowly missing a sign using the e-brake to control the slide. It was classic, Tim called it as we drifted through the corner ahead of him. I looked back to see what looked like a turn onto a side street. Well done maneuvering and luck made it easy enough to push him out.

After signing up for the "race" we drove over the the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore for a hike along the sandstone bluffs in and out of the caves that are only accessible via kayak in the summer and a walk on the frozen ice in the winter.

Anni and I had visited the shore 3+ years ago when we were first married on a drive back from our wedding. We had taken a few days off after the wedding for a mini honeymoon that served as placeholder for the trip we took to Hawaii later that year. It was fall last time we visited. The colors were on their way out and winter was on its way in. At the time we both said "We should come back sometime in the winter to see the ice caves". It took us 3 years to get back.
The bluffs and caves themselves are beautiful. The ice formations create small caverns that would make for good winter camping. We climbed around for several hours before heading back to the car for the short drive back to Washburn for skiing.

Skiing was good, but uneventful sans the bruises from falling on the ice. Thanks Tim, I really wanted to see your ass! Dinner was more eventful with samplers of beer and thick king cuts of Prime Rib at the South Shore Brewery in Ashland.

A fantastic valentine's weekend as far as I'm concerned!

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