Bayfield has a current population of 487 residents. There are no fast food restaurants, in fact no chain stores of any kind. A town that survives off the bounty of the land and the resiliency of it’s people. I find a place to get some breakfast before the days adventure takes hold, and it costs me a total of three dollars. I sit on the wooden porch in the morning light, full of wonder.
The morning glow over the harbor feels more like sunset than sunrise. Clouds are wispy strips along the
Wisconsin horizon, low hanging and dancing in between sailing vessels. Gulls make their way in from shore to rest with weary fisherman.
Traveling back in time to the days of early discovery of this country, Jesuit priests and European explorers saw the twelve islands in the mighty Lake Superior, and named them the Twelve Apostles.
Our boat heads out to let the modern day traveler see them with their own eyes, and hear the tales that lie within….
Lake Superior holds 10% of the world’s fresh water, and 47% of the fresh water for North America. A fragile ecosystem that deserves to be respected and protected. Something that the fisherman in this area know all too well since the 1800’s, and hold true to if they want to survive on the islands here.
The islands themselves hold their own spirituality in the steep rocky shores and forested hardwoods. Lighthouses seem to work as places of worship for the few that live on the islands.
We come to the northernmost point of Wisconsin, Devil’s Island. The wind and water have formed deep sea caves along the islands shoreline, and when the wind blows, the entirety of the island shakes and squeals like a sea witch.
The story of a man named Mark, affectionately called the “King of Hope Island” is told as we circle his residence. He and his young wife were traveling to Seattle in the early 1900’s when she died from tuberculosis. Having lost the love of his life, he found contentment in the solitude of living alone on Hope Island. This sort of life was how he found joy and lived happy the rest of his days.
It is comforting to know that throughout history, there have been those that seek out and find happiness in the quiet solitude of Mother Earth.