Thursday, August 31, 2017

Aug 31 – Apostle Islands Lakeshore Trail and Sea Caves

Today we headed across to the other side of the peninsula to hike the only trail in the park that is on the mainland. After about 2 miles from the trailhead you arrive at the cliffs above some mainland sea caves.

The park here is just a narrow strip of land next to the lakeshore.

Red Cliff to Meyers Beach - Google Maps

By far the best way to see the caves is by kayak but I was never going to get Jennie into a kayak especially on Lake Superior, with all the warning boards they have displayed. The next best option would probably have been another boat cruise. We saw one go by but it went so fast I don’t think anyone got a good look. Another choice would be to hire a small boat. We saw one advertised for $100 an hour.

I had a bunch of blog posts and brochures about how the Lakeshore Trail is a somewhat difficult hike and usually very muddy. The blog posts also had some pretty lousy pictures and said that a lot of the view were obscured. I guess I didn’t have high hopes going into this.

One post had also said that the first 0.7 miles of the trail were so muddy that the ranger advised them to walk on the beach instead and to find some stairs to get back on the main trail. I guess since then things have improved because now that section is all boardwalk. On the way back we did try and walk the beach but there was no beach because the lake level is so high.

Here is our path. Altogether we walked 4.7 miles or about 7.5 km.


The boardwalk did make that first section very easy.


After the end of the boardwalk the trail got much more “rustic”. Lots of roots, muddy spots and some rather severe but thankfully short climbs down and out of creek valleys.



Time for some fungus shots.




Until you get near the caves the trail stays well away from the shore with no views.

Here is our first one. I had to hold the camera over my head, to be over some bushes. Not a good sign.


We could see the kayak tours making there way, from where we started, across the bay.


Our, or rather my, next view point was interesting and a bit precarious.


A very careful photosphere.


The kayakers showed up.


They spotted me up there and we seemed to follow them along the shore so I became “their” hiker.

Here they are waiting their turn to go into The Crevasse.


It gets pretty narrow in there.



The trail had to go up and around to get by the giant crack.



You can see Jennie’s blue coat in the upper right, below.


Going through an arch.



I realize now that I was so worried about getting wide shots to see the big picture that I didn’t take very many close-ups of the interesting features.


The tour boat zoomed by. It didn’t stop or even slow down at all.


Here is one Jennie took. You can see me standing on the point about 2/3 of the way up on the left.


Checking out a cave.


Our future lunch spot.


We had lunch on this open peninsula.


A photosphere from here.

A few times we saw kayaks go into the bay beside us and not come out. We didn’t realize why until later. Our lunch spot from the side.



This area was called The Bowl. There were some pesky little bugs getting to us so we turned back here.


The photosphere shows it the best.

Some more views from above of the kayakers exploring the caves.



Back at this end of the boardwalk we tried the trail down to the beach. The fall colours are coming.



No beach.


Looking back at the cliffs from here.


A sailboat was anchored just off shore.


So we had to go back to the boardwalk and to the trail head at Meyer’s Beach.

This morning a ranger started the hike just before us. This afternoon as we were just about to get back we met him, starting in again for his and I quote “afternoon stroll”. He was going as far as we did.

We headed down to the beach for a snack before driving home.


The caves off in the distance.


So it was a much better than expected trail for me but not so much for Jennie. Too many very high unprotected cliff views.

The campground is quite a bit busier now, as the long weekend approaches.


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