Chasing fall colors in Wisconsin

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 and scroll down to the entry dated September 26, 2010, “A wedding in the family.”  (Sorry for the mixup!).

The woods of northern Wisconsin

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.

Sunset over Chequamegon Bay

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.

Book Across the Bay, 2010 edition

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.

Up north to the lake

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!