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Great Summer Drives

A road trip is all about the journey.

Great Summer Drives
Photo by Joseph Foreman

(page 7 of 7)

Canoe Bay


Head from the Twin Cities to Canoe Bay in Chetek, Wis., about a 120-mile drive, or two hours.


Take Highway 36 east into Stillwater and follow it across the St. Croix River into Wisconsin, then take 64E through little Wisconsin towns until you get to the northwestern part of the state. Once you get close (just south of Rice Lake), trust the GPS coordinates provided by the lodge. The secluded location is a big part of the draw.


Stay with the love of your life in a guest room, lakeside cottage, or 2,000-square-foot villa and disconnect from the world at the beautiful Northwoods retreat of Canoe Bay, a member of the prestigious Relais and Chateaux collection of lodging properties. Rooms feature stone fireplaces, whirlpool baths, and private decks. Explore the secluded property—go for a walk in the woods or canoe or kayak on the small lake, then unwind with an in-room massage. Amenities include a modern fitness center and library, and a gorgeous cathedral-ceiling lakeside dining room, where a talented chef prepares gourmet meals. (For a really romantic dinner, book the private wine cellar.) The extensive wine selection earned a Wine Spectator “Award of Excellence.”


Summer is the reason so many of us put up with seemingly never-ending Minnesota winters, and when the sun is shining there’s no better place to be than on the trails. Whether you want an easy hike or need to see the world from atop a mountain, hiking can take you to sights that you can’t find just anywhere. Here are some fun tips for your next trek.


Living in Minnesota, you probably already know this, but dress in layers (preferably not cotton, which insulates poorly when wet). It's a good idea to bring a rain jacket, windbreaker, good hiking shoes or boots, a hat, sunglasses, and other appropriate gear to stay dry and warm. It's also a good idea to wear light-colored clothing in order to spot wood ticks. If you want to geocache with your GPS or track your hike with a pedometer, check to see how your gadgets hold up in hot and humid or soggy and wet conditions before going. If you get caught in a thunderstorm, avoid high ground, isolated trees, and water.


Stay to the right. Uphill hikers have the right-of-way in order to keep their momentum. Give other hikers a heads-up if you've encountered any problems.


Hiking along the Superior Hiking Trail on Minnesota's North Shore can be a lot of fun, as long as you know what you're doing. Make sure you feel comfortable with your route, make sure someone knows your itinerary in advance, and pack your weight and gear well before you hit the trail (you don’t want to make hiking a chore. It's supposed to be fun). Know your limits, too. Find a trail that suits your skill level, bring a friend, grab your gear, and get out there.


You know the old adage, “It’s the journey, not the destination?” In hiking, it’s both! If you see wildlife you wouldn't normally see at home, stop and take a picture (possibly from afar!). If you like the scenery, find a nice rock, sit down, and soak it all in. If you're feeling tired, take a load off, hydrate, and enjoy a little rest under a shady pine tree. Pace yourself. It’s much more fun than speed-hiking. Part of the beauty of hiking is having the opportunity to pay attention to Mother Nature.

For all of your climbing and hiking needs, visit www.thenorthface.com.


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