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Outdoor Adventure Guide

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Outdoor Adventure Guide

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There is no disputing that winter is the best in the Mighty Midwest. And spring. And summer. And fall. Heck, there’s so much going on every season we couldn’t focus on just one. From camping on balmy summer nights to exciting ice fishing contests on frozen Mille Lacs Lake, here is a must-do insider’s guide to the ten best outdoor adventures in the area.

 

Run on the water

Bayfield, Wis.

Asking someone to pick his or her favorite outdoor adventure in Bayfield is like asking a parent to choose a favorite child. They are all wonderful and unique in their own way; it would be impossible to choose one over another (one could only hope). Bayfield is located 220 miles north of the Twin Cities on the shores of Lake Superior, at the furthermost tip of Wisconsin. Considered the “ Gateway to the Apostle Islands,” adventures on the open water include exciting sailing, top-notch fishing, kayaking, scuba diving, and island cruises. Adventures on the land range from hiking, biking, and golfing to birding and orchard tours. On the snow and ice, winter explorers will stay busy with ice caves, downhill and cross-country skiing, dogsledding, and ice fishing.

Two exceptionally exciting winter events in Bayfield are the Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race February 3-4 and the “Run on the Water” February 10.

Photo Courtesy of Bayfield
Chamber of Commerce

Spectators watching the sled dog race February 3 and 4 will line the beautiful Sand River Trail System to cheer for more than 100 dogsled teams from around the country. The races include an eight-dog, 80-mile race; six-dog, 60-mile race; a 20-mile Sportsman’s Race; and a 16-and-under 10-mile Family Race. The excitement is contagious.

The 15th annual “Run on the Water” will take place along the five-mile “ice road” from Bayfield to Madeline Island and back. This fun family event is open to people of all ages and skill levels. You can run, walk, ski, or snowshoe the course.

For more information about the sled dog race or the “Run on the Water,” call the Bayfield Chamber of Commerce at 1-800-447-4094 or visit www.bayfield.org.

Get Your Gear

Stormy Kromer

Retired semi-pro baseball player, railroad engineer and general tough character George “Stormy” Kromer lost a few too many hats to the icy wind whipping through his locomotive. On a cold morning in 1903, Stormy asked his beloved wife, Ida, to help him modify one of his many hats from his baseball days by sewing earflaps on the thing. The newly revised cap also featured a soft flexible visor—and was a great departure from the traditional engineer hats of the era. Today Stormy Kromer caps are still made true to the original design, by the folks of Ironwood, in Michigan’s UP, who know a thing or two about the cold.

Find the legendary Stormy Kromer cap along with coats, vests and shirts in the Twin Cities metro at Kaplan Brothers in Minneapolis, and most area Gander Mountain, Fleet Farm, and Cabela’s locations, or on the web at www.stormykromer.com.

Party on the ice

Mille Lacs Lake

With over 139,000 acres of frozen water and ice fishing contests all winter long, ice fishing on Mille Lacs Lake is some of the best ice fishing in the state.

“On any given winter, there are up to 6,500 ice fishing shacks on the lake,” says Judy Cain, director of the Mille Lacs Area Tourism Council. It’s a community within a community, and there’s a reason so many people flock to the area—or, more specifically, a few reasons—in the form of hungry walleye, jumbo perch, monster pike, crappies, and sunnies. Visitors who don’t own an ice house can rent them in half-day increments, everything from bare-bones shacks to homes with carpet, gas heaters, cook stoves, and separate bathrooms. Ice fishing packages are available with transportation to and from the icehouse, overnight lodging, bait, tackle, and meals.

Not only is there excellent ice fishing on Mille Lacs, but ice car racing, snowmobile races, windsurfing competitions, winter festivals (complete with a hot air balloon launch over President’s Day weekend), and miles of uninterrupted ski trails. One group of regulars even brings a sauna out onto the lake.

“Every weekend there’s a party on Mille Lacs,” she comments. “We would rather celebrate winter than grumble through it.”

For more information about the Mille Lacs area, call 1-888-350-2692 or visit www.millelacs.com.

Experience an unforgettable Adventure Weekend

Lutsen Resort

Photo Courtesy of Lutsen Resort

With a wide variety of activities available (catering to both the complete novice and experienced adventure-seeker alike) and cozy lodging accommodations perfect after a tremendous day of exploring, Lutsen Resort is a hit with outdoor enthusiasts of all ages.

Take part in “Adventure Weekends” in February, including “Winter Photography Weekend” February 2-4 and “Winter Women’s Adventure Weekend” February 23-25. The photography adventure includes workshops with professional photographer Bryan Hansel, an all-day snowshoe excursion with winter expert Adam Harju, opportunities for guided cross-country skiing, sunrise and sunset photography clinics, and with a little luck—the northern lights. The women’s weekend is geared toward women of all ages and adventuring abilities and includes guided Northwoods snowshoeing, evening cross-country skiing, yoga, dogsledding, and a guided cross-country ski tour. Carin Gulstrand and Beth Hazelton, two of the most dynamic instructors on the North Shore, will lead the activities. Throughout the year, guests can enjoy complimentary adventurous activities, ranging from night snowshoe adventures in winter to naturalist hikes in the spring (complete with spectacular views of waterfalls) to guided sea kayaking in the warm months to color tours in the fall.

“I try to encourage people to come up here during a season they wouldn’t normally think of,” says Adam Harju, Lutsen Resort activities and recreation director. “Every season has so much to offer, it’s like having four distinctly different destinations all within a few hours from home!”

For more information about Lutsen Resort, call 1-800-2LUTSEN (258-8736) or visit www.lutsenresort.com.


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