We ventured north this weekend to the shores of Lake Superior.  After a miserably cold and rainy week the weather cleared in perfect time for the weekend, and with little to no winds and mild temperatures it was a wonderful time to explore new areas.  We wandered the highways and county roads of northern Wisconsin and even went to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  After the wet and late spring we’ve had, the roadsides are now in full bloom.  We were first treated to the white daisies and orange hawk weed that were abundant throughout the central part of Wisconsin.  Then as we reached the south shore of Lake Superior and continued to the north in Bayfield County, the lupine were in their prime.  I had seen photos of the wild lupine in the Bayfield area before, but they appeared to be in a large garden area.  I was not prepared for the plethora of blooms that were gracing the sides of the highways.  This photo was taken along the side of Highway 13 just north of Washburn.  With their blue, purple, pink, and white spikes they were a treat to the eyes and a reminder of how much we appreciate the colors of spring that replace the white of our winter season.

We’ve just returned from a delightful weekend of fall color in northern Wisconsin.  After raining on Friday, the weather was cool and cloudy on Saturday morning and we ventured to Copper Falls State Park outside of Mellen, Wisconsin.  The colors of gold, green, red, orange, and yellow were all visible throughout the woods.  It was a treat to the eyes and to the senses, as there is most certainly a distinct smell of fall in the air also.  Later in the day the sun burned through the clouds and these same  vibrant shades of autumn were splashed against a bright and clear blue sky with warm sunshine.  Although it’s hard to think of summer as being behind us now, the beauty and brightness of fall seems to be our reward before we delve into the white of winter.

There was a programming glitch with my blog entry from last week.  Those of you who normally get an email when I’ve posted a new blog entry were left without notification.  Sorry!  You might want to go directly to my blog to read the entry from last Sunday —  it was all about a very joyous wedding celebration in our family.  Go to http://www.lindastaatsphoto.wordpress.com and scroll down to the entry dated September 26, 2010, “A wedding in the family.”  (Sorry for the mixup!).

We spent the past weekend in northern Wisconsin near the shores of Lake Superior.  It was a true late summer’s weekend with hot sun and blowing winds.  To get a break from the heat, we drove to the southern part of Ashland County.  Off a remote gravel road in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest is a trailhead leading along Morgan Creek to a cascading waterfall.   Here in the forest with the canopy of trees and the gurgling of the creek, we found a welcome respite from the summer’s heat.  The trees are still a glorious green, but occasionally we saw a few leaves that were starting to change in anticipation of autumn.  With this image of Morgan Creek I wanted to bring together the green of the forest, the blue reflection of the summer sky above, with a few hints of autumn color also visible in the water’s reflection.   These are the photos and memories that we will be savoring in the middle of January when our scenery has turned to white and the temperatures have plummeted into winter.

It was a hot and steamy holiday weekend.  We left the rush of the cities behind and headed north to the quiet of the woods and lakes, spending the weekend near the shore of Lake Superior.  In the northern part of Wisconsin between the towns of Washburn and Ashland is an inlet of Lake Superior called Chequamegon Bay (pronounced “sha-wahma-gann”).    The name comes from the Ojibwe term meaning “sand bar place.”   (Those of you that have followed my blog will remember that in the cold of winter we have snowshoed across this bay over the frozen lake.)  After a hot and humid day the clouds were beginning to roll in over the hills to the west.  The sun had just enough energy left to break through some of the clouds and lend its lengthy reflection to the rippling waters of the lake at it moved below the hills.  Wading in the cold waters of Lake Superior and savoring the calm and color that the sunset provided was the perfect way to close out a long summer’s day in the north.

We’ve just returned from a delightful weekend in Ashland, Wisconsin on the shores of Lake Superior.  With a dear friend from Seattle who wanted to experience the fun of a snow-filled winter event, our visit coincided with the 14th annual Book Across the Bay.  To celebrate the uniqueness of our upper-midwest winters (and just because we can!) over 3,300 people donned their skis and snowshoes and crossed frozen Chequamegon Bay from Ashland to Washburn, Wisconsin.  The distance of 10 kilometers was lit by frozen luminaries, and included warm bonfires on the ice marking each kilometer.  After snowshoeing for a bit more than a kilometer, I looked back to photograph this winding curve of luminaries leading to the lights of Ashland.  Although the event started under partly cloudy skies at dusk, the clouds cleared  as we worked our way across the bay, ending under a bright partial moon and a canopy of stars.  The promise of a big party, great friends, and good beer at the finish-line was our incentive to “book” the distance.

PS0420“Up north to the lake” is the common weekend occurrence here, whether it’s a small lake or a big lake.  And the biggest lake is Lake Superior.  We spent the weekend in Ashland, Wisconsin, along the southern shore of Lake Superior.  It was a perfect summer weekend — warm daytime temperatures, cooler nighttime temps, the lake close by, along with a special 4th of July celebration.  We were treated to beautiful sunsets with calm waters that reflected the boats in the marina as well as the fireworks that were set off after dark.   A perfect dose of summer relaxation!

luminaries-at-batb-0127_staatsValentine’s Day on frozen Lake Superior — what a great way to celebrate a winter’s evening!  Chequamegon Bay is at the southwest corner of Lake Superior, surrounded by the towns of Ashland and Washburn, Wisconsin.  For the past 13 years the residents of the area come together to celebrate the cold of winter with a ski and snowshoe race across the frozen bay — the Book across the Bay.  This event is unique in that it begins at 6:30pm, and the course is lit by hundreds of frozen luminaries marking the route along the ice.  The event draws over 2,000 participants skiing, snowshoeing, and hiking.  This year’s route was changed at the last minute because of four days of warm temperatures and a big thaw.  The snow that had covered the frozen lake became liquid, then froze again into a huge sheet of ice.  The race organizers changed the course to a loop and spent hours “churning” the ice to lay a path that provided some traction for skiers and walkers.  Their hard work paid off and it was a beautiful event, accompanied by light snowflakes.  After crossing the finish line there was a huge bonfire to warm up at and a post-race party in a giant heated tent.  Hay was scattered on the frozen ground and hay bales were stacked around the perimeter.   Everyone was treated to a  hot chili feed, delicious local beer, and dancing to a great live band.  It’s a party of the best kind, and a delightful way to enjoy and appreciate our winter weather and scenery.