While on our way to Voyageurs National Park earlier this week, my wife and I made a half-day stop at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. This park encompasses 21 islands and twelve miles of mainland coast on the Lake Superior shore of Wisconsin. With our limited time here, we opted to visit Meyers Beach and the mainland Lakeshore Trail.
From Meyers Beach the Lakeshore Trail heads east for about five miles to a primitive campground. Our destination was only about two miles up the trail to the sea caves found here. Along the way the trail meandered through a sampling of North Woods flora and fauna.
Before long we encountered a cliff warning sign and life preserver. These were sure indications that there was something interesting coming up:
We then got our first glimpses of the sandstone cliffs along the shore of Lake Superior:
This sandstone is part of the Bayfield Group and was deposited here by braided streams about 600 million years ago. Subsequently buried by younger sediment, this area was then scoured by intermittent glaciation for the last few tens of thousands of years. After the last glaciers melted about 12,000 years ago, they left behind Lake Superior which then unleashed its relentless fury on these shores.
Below the cliffs thousands of years of wave action had carved the sandstone into intricate shapes:
In places the ground gave way to fractures leading all the way down to the water:
Among these inlets were numerous caves carved by the waves:
At the end of our journey up this trail, we sat down for a few minutes to eat some granola and drink some water while taking in the views.
After we headed back to our car and continued on our journey, I thought this would be a great place to spend more time. Sea kayaking along the shores of the islands to explore these cliffs and sea caves in greater detail would be really fun.