Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Hiking to see the Sea Caves

Wednesday July 2, 2014
Apostle Island Area Campground
Bayfield, Wisconsin


They warned us it would be muddy.

It’s rained a lot in the great lakes area this spring and that after a record heavy snowfall has left the ground saturated.  We always ask about favorite hikes when we go into any visitor center and on Monday we were told the Lakeside Trail was wonderful, you could see Sea Caves BUT it was very muddy.




Today we drive up through the Indian Reservation, past the town of Russell to Meyer’s Beach to walk this trail. 

The first thing we see at the trail head is a warning sign. It reads “Trail conditions are poor with muddy and slippery areas and a difficult stream crossing.  Use extreme caution”.   Good grief.  They really want to discourage us.  The ranger there who makes sure you pay your parking fee, also cautions us about the mud and slipping.  He says the worst part is at the beginning of the trail so if we do the first 7/10th of a mile on the beach and then go up the steps to the trail on the ledge, we can miss most of it.   So we decide to give it a try using his advice.



The National Lake Shore really is just that, a shoreline.   It runs right along the edge of the lake on the mainland and of course also includes the islands. It was created to save all this from immanent development. We are going to walk along as much of is as time and the trail will permit.  We’re staring on the far lower left which is where Myer’s Beach is located.  The small You Are Here is the location of the trailhead.




It’s a beautiful day, the skies are blue, the temperature is perfect.  We have had such good weather in the Great Lakes given all the rain they had in the spring.





Good heavens, what is that? 


It’s a piece of driftwood.  It looks like a giant pipe.   I call David back to see if he can pick it up and puff on it.



When he does it looks like he’s playing a didgeridoo.  What fun!  I know now it’s going to be a great day.



We walk along the beach, David gets distracted by the rocks.  I get distracted by David getting distracted by the rocks.  We miss the stairs.  We go all the way until we run out of beach.  I walk out in the water and around but the hazards become too large and I don’t want to go for a swim in this water at about 47 degrees. 



We must have missed the stairs.




SO like us.  We walk back trying not to get distracted by the stones.  We finally find them.  We did walk right past them but in our defense look at them.  They are sort of hidden.  Would you see them in this picture if I hadn’t told you to look for them?  And this is a close up that doesn’t even show the beach we were walking on.





But here it is from the top.  It’s just the bottom that’s hidden.



We climb up and take a little feeder trail back to the Lakeside Trail


Wildflowers line the path.






A trail sign tells us we have 1.1 miles to go. 

Some of it  is a LONG way down.  Some of it is muddy and messy.   Some of it is a long way UP.  Some of it is a bit washed out.  The trail maintenance people are working but they are having a hard time keeping up.   It’s supposed to rain AGAIN this week-end.







We know we are getting closer when we can see views of the cliffs.




Signs start warning us about staying away from the edge  of the cliff as we near the sea cliffs area where there is an information board.




This should be pretty clear.




Our anticipation is high. We’ve never seen any sea caves.

The sea caves begin at this point and it really is hard to get good looks without getting near the edge of the cliffs.  But luckily the zoom lens can see all the way down there.


















We walk further along the trail and go over a bridge which shows us a view above the back of this sea cave.  There is a land bridge over it about half way.  It looks very precarious.   They have a fence around it on both sides but we watch as two teenage girls go over the fence and stand on it calling to their father to take their picture which he does.  My jaw drops at this risk.







Oh boy does that look  like fun!


We follow the trail around and see the other side where we were just standing.  When we look down, we see a kayak coming out of the cave.  OH BOY does that look like fun.  Just look at the color of that water. 






We walk a little further marveling at the openings we can see through the trees.  David uses his binoculars, I use my camera but I still haven’t figured out how to deal with that bright sun on the other side of these dark openings.  You should see blue water out there, not just a big white hole.  But a flash is no help with the zoom.





The water is so clear that even from the height of the cliffs we can see the rock shelf far under the water.





I love the rhythms and the sounds of the caves.


As we walk along, we can sometimes hear the faint deep throaty drum and popping sounds coming from the water crashing into the back of the walls of the caves and popping back out. I can imagine the water just wearing away the rock making those openings of every size and shape bigger and bigger.

Water is Queen. Deserts long for her. She sculpts our planet. She changes things.  She can be liquid, vapor or solid. Rock can’t resist her, fire can’t resist her. I can’t resist her.






I do think we have some of the best lunch spots.

We walk along the trail looking ahead for the next point where we will see the caves. When we reach it,  David suggests it’s time for lunch so we pick a great spot overlooking the lake.  He sits on a dead tree branch and I sit on my mother Earth.








Another set of holes are  at the bottom of the point we were walking toward before the lunch stop.  These are too high up for water but they are interesting just the same.  How does nature carve those?  Wave action from water even higher than this or ??  The lake is 8’ above normal this year already.






David thinks we’ve probably reached the end of the caves.

But I’m pretty convinced we haven’t and tell him I’m just going  a little further along and I’ll come right back and let him know. But he tags along any way and here’s what we see.  This one has a small arch back away from the point.  It’s almost obscured by the trees and bushes up here but I spot it.  Wouldn’t it be great to kayak right under there?






The next one has an arch too and it’s even more interesting.







Boy do I LOVE this camera.





On we hike, more points, more caves, another kayaker.  Lucky duck!!












Sure is hard to turn around when there might be another set of caves just up ahead.

It is now nearly 4:00 and we’re not sure how long it will take us to get back but we’d like to be home for dinner by 6:00 so reluctantly I agree we must turn around right after this point.   The sun is changing the colors.  Nature is so grand!







We walk a little more rapidly back along the lakeside trail and it really is LAKE SIDE for most of the way.



When it isn’t lakeside, it is beautiful woods.  Things have dried up a bit even in the few hours since we passed this way earlier.  People tomorrow will have a less muddy hike.




In less than an hour we are back at the stairs to the beach.



We try not to dawdle walking back on the beach but it’s difficult on such a perfect day in such a perfect place.



It took over 3 hours to walk out to the sea caves and just over an hour to walk back.  Tomorrow we’re going to see them by kayak and I can hardly wait after this wonderful hike.



  1. I love those caves and would even get into a kayak so that I could see them up close.

  2. Thanks for the "walk" with you. Looks like a very nice place to explore.

  3. WOW, spectacular photos!! That was a wonderful hike and the sea caves sure look interesting:o)) Glad the camera is back to normal. The pictures seemed even a bit shaper than normal. Perhaps I may need to give my camera a rice bath;o))

  4. I think your photos are wonderful...what a beautiful piece of property. The kayak trip will be amazing!!!!!!

  5. I'm glad the camera is working well and that you like it. I told you it was a great camera.

    The caves are very interesting and I'm anxious to see them from the kayaks.

  6. We enjoyed the kayak tour to the caves very much. Looking forward to seeing them again through your eyes!

  7. Beautiful hike- it does look like a great place to Kayak.

  8. This just keeps getting better and better....I was certain given the adventurers you two are that the return trip would keep you on the main trail rather than back to the beach trail. Didn't curiosity rear its head to taunt you that it wasn't as muddy as the sign indicated??

    1. We were thinking about going back that way but the trail workers had been working on that section putting in boardwalk and we didn't want to interfere with what they had done and would be back to do tomorrow. They had tools and boards set up at the point we picked up the Lakeside trail coming from the beach so we just went back the way we came. We love water fronts and rocks.

  9. Awesome, going on the list...boy the list keeps growing!

  10. Stopping on great trail is so hard. We are always saying just a little further. You hate to miss anything. I love those arches!!! I can't wait for your kayak adventure. Be careful!!

  11. What a gorgeous walk! Te caves are awesome.

  12. Spectacular hikes and views....

  13. Gorgeous water! How exciting to see that and to hear the sounds the caves make; I, like you, love water and agree kayaking there would be amazing! Definitely never cross fences and warning signs - Thomas's sister Rebecca met her end that way. Tragedy that can be avoided; we are not entirely invincible although a lot of us like to think we are! I am glad the hike wasn't too muddy - looks like it was perfect weather and that was a wonderful way to spend it!!

  14. Love the didgeridoo - so glad you had David check it out! No, I would not have seen the stairs either (sometimes we just need validation :-))). Another amazing place and a great testimony to the need for a strong zoom. Capturing those shots without risking the cliff-edge was worth every dime spent and every day of rice-rehab! Love your love of water, nicely said :-).

  15. I bet you feel so much better now that you've confessed you are a waterholic. There are 12 step programs to help you... ;c)

    The color of the water is amazing, you'd think you were in the Caribbean!

  16. Great hike pictures:) I bet that driftwood pipe would fetch a good price in Colorado now!

  17. Another beautiful place! How odd they are called sea caves when they are in a lake! I can't wait to see your kayaking adventure!

  18. I was so glad to get to the end to see that you are going to kayak and see them from the water! Love the shot of David with the peace pipe :-)

  19. I can hardly wait to see your upcoming wonderful kayak! Now THAT is a dream of mine.

  20. Oh boy, kayaking around those rocky shores and thru arches will be exciting.

    For the bright photos you might try setting the ISO up real high so the shutter speed can be fast.

  21. Looks like your camera has made an amazing recovery. Love the shots of that beautiful clear blue water.

  22. Now Im almost catching up. Been away to CA for a few days and have lots of catching up to do. This place is a wow and I sure hope I can convince Steve to come up here. This looks like the sea caves we saw at Fundy in New Brunswick.

    Glad your camera has survived the rain! Yeah back to hundreds of pics.


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