Choosing our weather windows carefully, we often select early morning departures in Lake Superior. The winds are typically calm and the seas are easy. We traveled 54 miles the first day out, stopping in the town of Cornucopia, and 37 miles the second day, dropping anchor in Presque Isle Bay at Stockton Island. Stockton is the second largest island in the group of 22 red sandstone islands off the coast of Wisconsin known as the Apostles. Twenty-one of the islands belong to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and are administered by the National Park Service.
The cruising here is unique and beautiful. Its semi-protected waters and close-by destinations make it the most popular cruising area on Lake Superior. It is a great spot to kayak and explore the bays, sea caves, and lighthouses.
Stockton Island is known for its large bear population and the highlight of the day’s cruise was a bear sighting. It was lumbering along a beach as we motored by. I do wish that I had a picture to show…next time. Birds are also abundant in the islands and two islands are reserved for the gulls.
We stayed three nights at Stockton Island. One day we donned our island hiking shoes and headed down the NPS trails.
The first half mile was green and filled with sounds of warblers and the call of the White-throated Sparrow.
The trail was well developed with boardwalks over most of the soft, marshy areas. There was a lagoon behind the larger bay with its red sand beach and a second, more remote trail led around the wind-swept point back to Presque Isle Bay. Along that trail we saw copious amounts of bear sign, lending credence to that ancient rhetorical question of what the wild bear might do in the woods.
Wildflowers and mosses carpeted the forest floor, brightening the trail. Below are four photos of flowers that we could not identify and we are asking our more botanically-inclined friends to help. Please post a comment letting us know their identity.