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Category Archives: Cornucopia

Having given up on walking on the ice to the brownstone caves we decided to return to our original plan and drive over to Lost Creek Falls. This was to be our first time hiking to the falls in the winter. With the unusually warm conditions we figured there would be some water running over the falls. We had a great time at the falls. It was a great hike in and the falls offers a little seclusion and an opportunity to reflect. More photos from Lost Creek Falls can be found on my website.

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On the way back from one of our trips to the U.P. of Michigan we decided to drive over to Cornucopia, Wisconsin and see if Halvorson Fisheries had any Whitefish available. Fortunately it was one of the last days of the season they would be open. While my wife purchased the fish I spent a little time photographing around a little park next to the docks.

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These old fishing boats are a frequent subject of photographers in the area. Cornucopia is a jumping off point for the Apostle Islands Sea and Ice Caves.

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After lunch in Cornucopia we drove out to the Apostle Islands Sea Caves. We were hoping to catch some large waves smashing up against the cliffs. Unfortunately the waves had died down quite a bit by the time we reached the Sea Caves.

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Nevertheless it was a beautiful afternoon for a hike and when reached the parking lot we happened to notice that one of our sons best friends was parked next to us.

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After leaving the UP of Michigan we drove over to Cornucopia, Wisconsin for a lunch of fish chowder. It has become our go to location for fish chowder. After lunch we drove down to the harbor to check on the waves and take a few photos of the old fishing boats on display.

Cornucopia Beach

Cornucopia Beach

Eagle

Eagle

Twin Sisters

Twin Sisters

We were up early the next morning. It had been blowing all night and we could hear the large waves hitting the beach. We drove down to Union Bay to photograph the waves. They were so high that they were coming over the road in a few places.

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Since we had already driven through the park a number of times we decided to drive out past Bonanza Falls to capture a few photos of the falls in the morning light with the clouds in the background.

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Our next stop was Superior Falls just outside of Hurley Wisconsin. I was hoping the water levels were low enough so I could walk around a rocky point and get a straight on shot of the falls from the bottom. Unfortunately the water levels were too high. There were a number of other photographers there and one of them climbed over the rocks to get the shot but I’m getting to old for that. This is a photo of the mouth of the river.

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It was getting late in the morning so we decided to drive over to Cornucopia, Wisconsin and have lunch. We made a brief stop at the Cornucopia Beach. There were some nice waves so we decided to drive down to Meyers Beach and walk out above the sea caves to watch the waves.

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When we arrived at Meyers Beach we were in the process of filling out the parking registration when my wife recognized the couple in the car next to us. Turns out it was one of our sons best friends and his wife. What a small world.

The hike out to the sea caves has changed since our last visit a couple of years ago. The Park Service has installed a boardwalk for the first mile of the trail. It makes it much easier to walk and I’m sure it reduces the wear and tear on the trail.

When we reached the sea caves the waves had subsided a bit but it was still a great hike on a beautiful day. We hiked back and headed for our cabin in Duluth.

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After our hike to Lost Creek Falls we drove down to Cornucopia to meet some friends for lunch. We had time on our hands before lunch so we stopped at the harbor to look around. My wife headed for the gift shops and I started taking some photos. There are a number of old fishing boats along the beach which provide some good photo opportunities.

Twin Sisters

Twin Sisters

Eagle

Eagle

The harbor is also loaded with sailing boats. According to someone I talked to most of them don’t go out into the lake. They are essentially condos in the harbor.

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After ideal conditions at Amnicon Falls State Park we looked forward to visiting Lost Creek Falls. Unfortunately by the time we reached Lost Creek Falls the nice cloud cover had dissipated and were photographing in harsh lighting conditions. Nevertheless it is always great to visit Lost Creek Falls.

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We used Duluth as a base and headed out to photograph the waterfalls along the south shore of Lake Superior between Superior and Bayfield. Our first stop was Twin Falls but we were very disappointed to find there was almost no water flowing over Twin Falls. We continued on to Lost Creek Falls.

More photos from Lost Creek Falls can be found on my website.

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With all of the recent rain the trail was very muddy. We hiked in from Klemik Road because isn’t as steep as the trail from Cornucopia. There were a lot of mud holes in the trail and knee boots would be a good choice on this hike.Lost-Creek-Falls-14-6-_7843a

There were a lot of wildflowers in bloom along the trail including a rare find. I just happened to look into the wood at the right moment to see this Pink Lady Slipper hiding under dome other plants.Pink-Lady's-Slipper-14-6-_7904

Bunchberry

Bunchberry

Again we didn’t find as much water flowing in the river as we expected given all of the rain and the wet trail. However, there was enough water to provide some nice shots.Lost-Creek-Falls-14-6-_7886

Apostle Islands Ice Caves:

Normally I’m complaining about the lack of a good winter but this year we have had a fantastic winter. Every winter I look forward to photographing the Apostle Island Ice Caves but this is the first year since 2009 that they have been accessible from the ice on Lake Superior. I was very surprised when I checked  the middle of January and found that the ice caves were already open. Normally they don’t open until January but with the cold weather they were early this year.Apostle-Islands-Ice-Caves-14-1-_1471a

We immediately drove up to Cornucopia to visit the caves. This was followed by two other visits to the caves. We weren’t the only ones visiting the caves. Thanks to social media more than 140 thousand people visited the caves before they closed in mid March.Apostle-Islands-Ice-Caves-14-1-_1672

In-spite of the large number of people visiting the caves I was able to get some great photos and, for the first time, my wife was able to visit the caves. As you can see by the number of blogs I wrote on the subject this was my favorite winter activity.Apostle-Islands-Ice-Caves-14-3-_0983

Bald Eagle Watching:

The cold weather has been a boon for Bald Eagle watching since it concentrated the eagles in areas where there was open water. This winter we spent time visiting three locations along the Mississippi River to watch Eagles. Our most productive location was Covill Park in Red Wing, Minnesota where we always saw eagles. There were also a large number of ducks that provided entertainment when the eagle watching slowed down. The water is always open below the heating plant above Covill Park so the eagles and ducks hang out in this area.Bald-Eagle-14-1-_1996

The second best location was Reads Landing in Minnesota. On three occasions we saw large numbers of Eagles at this location. We also saw Trumpeter Swans that were hanging out in this section of the river. Viewing at this location slowed down as the winter progressed.Bald-Eagle-14-1-_0599

Alma, Wisconsin was the least productive area we visited. We only saw a significant number of eagles on one visit. On several other visits we didn’t see any eagles or only saw a few. I found this a difficult area to photograph eagles because you are usually looking into the sun.Bald-Eagle-14-1-_2164

I wrote a number of blogs describing our visits to these locations.

Trumpeter Swans Watching:

We made a number of trips to Hudson, Wisconsin to watch the Trumpeter Swans. Several people had mentioned that Trumpeter Swans hung out on the St. Croix river but didn’t know the exact location. We eventually found them in downtown Hudson.Trumpeter-Swan-Hudson-Wisconsin-14-2-_1125

Because of the very cold weather they were hanging out it a very small area of open water close to shore during the coldest part of the winter. You could walk down along the shore and photograph them and they didn’t seem to be the least concerned with your presence.Trumpeter-Swans-Hudson-Wisconsin-14-2-_1176

These trips resulted in several blogs reporting on our visits.Trumpeter-Swans-14-2-_0592

Lake Superior Ship Watching:

The very cold weather resulted in a lot of ice on Lake Superior. The early ice made for some great opportunities to photograph ships in the cold weather. One of my favorite year around activities is ship watching in Duluth and Superior Harbors so being able to photograph them working in ice was a great adventure.

Baie Cormeau

Baie Cormeau

We were able to watch ships arrive in the harbor during the very cold winter.

Baie Comeau

Baie Comeau

The Coast Guard Cutters were very active this winter and I was able to see them in action as they were breaking the ice and anchored in the harbor.

Coast Guard Cutter Alder

Coast Guard Cutter Alder

Tug Boats were also required to help break the ice when the Coast Guard was not available.

Helen H

Helen H

A large number of ships are in the Duluth/Superior docks either being repaired or for winter layup.

American Spirit

American Spirit

The long winter will continue into spring as the ice breakers are working to free the harbor of ice and the ships in layup are waiting to head out for the 2014 shipping season. The season should start in the next couple of weeks.

Coast Guard Cutter Alder

Coast Guard Cutter Alder

 

Rush River Ice Formations:

I discovered the Rush River Ice Formations this winter. What a wonderful place to visit. A local land owner has run piping around his property tapping into underground springs. At about two dozen locations on the property he has run vertical pipes with holes drilled into them. The result are some spectacular ice formations.Nelson's-On-the-Rush-River-14-1-_1918

Long Ski Season:

For the second year in a row we have been blessed with a lot of snow. The difference this year is that the ski season started at Thanksgiving and has continued into March. With a little luck we should be able squeeze in at least one more ski trip this year.Boulder-Lake-Ski-Trails-14-2-_1375

Our favorite location this year was the ABR Ski Trails because they usually receive early snow and they do the best job of grooming of any ski location. They are usually able to have good skiing even after warm weather because they have equipment to break up the trail in icy conditions and lay a new track.ABR-Ski-Trails-13-2-_1183

We also skied at The After Hours Ski Trails in Brule a number of times this year. This is a great location because of the large number of trails and its close proximity to Duluth.After-Hours-Ski-Trails-13-3-_3674

We discovered the Boulder Lake Ski Trails near Duluth and made sever visits to these trails. There are enough trails to provide a nice day of skiing without skiing the same trail twice.Boulder-Lake-Ski-Trails-14-2-_1378

We only made one visit, to what we consider, the most beautiful ski trails in the Midwest. These are the Swedetown Ski Trails in Calument, Michigan. They get more snow and beautiful light fluffy snow than anyplace else.Swedetown-Ski-Trails-13-2-_1124

 

One of my favorite activities at the Apostle Islands Ice Caves is to take close-up photos of some of the ice and frost formations. With lots of folks walking around the caves it is an approach you can use and not have anyone getting into your photographs. More photos from the Apostle Islands Ice Caves can be found on my website.Apostle-Islands-Ice-Caves-14-3-_0908

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