Travel

Apostle Islands Part 2!

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*If you haven’t read part 1, you’re going to want to click HERE first to get caught up!*…

FYI this is a LONG one so take a seat, you’ll be here awhile 😉 Oh and also, I’ve been told that it’s a little wonky looking if you’re reading from a tablet or phone due to all of the pictures. I’m working on figuring out how to fix that.

“I mean, do they send out a boat, or a helicopter, because that sounds expensive. I wonder how it works.” “It will get better,” Mike said. “This weather… it’s just temporary. It’s got to be. It’ll be like it was yesterday in no time. Just try and get warm.” I wanted so badly to believe that he knew that for sure… I think I fell asleep for a few minutes soon after that conversation, I’m not really sure how much time had passed. I woke up when I heard the zipper on the tent buzz. Joey was crouched down, “Hey Mike, do you want to film a clip for the video?” He had brought along the map of the islands so that he’d be able to show the camera where exactly we started that day, and where exactly we were stranded. I listened as they talked about what we had been through that morning and cringed at the thought of reliving it.

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Shortly after Joey went back to his and Liam’s tent, we heard Josh calling that lunch was ready. That poor guy was out on the shore in the damp, cold wind, making us taco salad. I mean, talk about a trooper. If that had been me, I’d have said, “You guys are going to have to starve. I’m not coming out of my tent.” We stepped outside, the air had gotten a bit dryer, which warmed it up a bit, but it was still pretty gross out. We walked over to Josh standing next to the log he was using as a counter. There was a pack of tortillas and a big pot of taco salad. It looked delicious. I didn’t realize how hungry I was until I smelled it. It was a mixture of black beans, salsa and corn. I made a burrito and ran back to the tent. It tasted really good.

Another hour or so passed when we heard Neil yell, “It looks like it’s cleared up quite a bit, I think now is a good time to pack up and make a break for tonight’s campsite.” I glanced at Mike. I’m pretty sure I looked like I had seen a ghost. “What?! I thought we were gonna stay here!” “Apparently not”, Mike muttered. We began to pack up. I DID NOT want to get back out of my cocoon. Changing out of my dry clothes, back into my damp clothes was SO difficult. I just couldn’t afford to get another outfit wet. I started lugging all of my stuff back to my kayak. The weather really had cleared up, but the thought of paddling for a few more hours sounded really unappealing. We got on our way, and about an hour into the paddle, I was actually sweating. The sun had come out! I was hot but SO happy. This leg of the paddle kind of made me think of the hallway from The Shining. It seemed to go on forever. We would round the corner of what I’d think would be our campsite, only to see another long stretch of land before the next corner. 6 miles later, we did finally end up seeing the site marker. It was like crossing the finish line. SO fantastic. This one was kind of set up about 15 or 20 feet right above the water on a little ledge. There was no sand, only rocks. There was a fire pit with little benches, and 3 designated tent sites with the flattest ground that we had seen. There were no roots! The downfall… no type of potty whatsoever. This was our first experience with the “dig a hole” concept 😉 We set up our tent and then sat down next to the fire that Josh had set. He was making chili for dinner which sounded absolutely perfect. After dinner, we had hot chocolate. I was warm and tired and ready for bed!

We woke up the next morning to a cloudy, but dry day. I was thanking God. This was going to be our shortest day (about 3 miles). I believe we only had to paddle for an hour over to Cat Island. That was a smooth and fast trip because honestly, I think we all just wanted to get there. Cat Island was AWESOME. We beached our kayaks onto a real, honest to God beach. The actual campsite was set back down a path. Since we got there so early, we literally had all day to chill on the beach. Before we did that, we had to figure out where to set our tent and unpack the kayaks again. As I unpacked my kayak, it occurred to me that while all the guys got to carry food and water in their hatches, I had to carry the garbage, toilet paper and poop shovel. “What’s up with this?!”, I yelled, as I walked towards the bear locker, shaking the bag with the TP and shovel. We had to keep our food and toothpaste and basically everything that had a scent in the bear locker because they can sniff out and get into everything if you’re not careful.

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photo 4 (11)There was a firepit and benches (logs) in the center of a wide open space. There were areas around that space that we could set our tent up at. We tried to find the cushiest spot (where there were a lot of leaves.) Liam and Joey had the same idea, so after fighting over a particular spot, we ended up really close neighbors. As I write about all of these campsites, they all seem to be my “favorite”. It’s hard to choose, because they all had unique things about them. I really loved this one because it didn’t seem quite as rugged. There was also a compost toilet at this camp… basically a 5 star resort! LOL.

This was a really easy and relaxing day. Mike was reading, I was building a sand castle and I’m not exactly sure where Joey was most of the time. Neil had warned us that biting flies chill in the shrubs on this island, and once they know you’re there, they’ll refuse to leave you alone. Mike looked up from his book just in time to see Liam swatting away… coming right towards us. “Liam, don’t come over here!”, he yelled. Too late. He was too distracted by attempting to get cell service, that he ended up bringing them right to us.

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Funny story about bug spray… Being a woman, I thought ahead, naturally. I know that even at home, if I step outside for a few minutes, especially at dusk, I get eaten alive by the mosquitos. I was not willing to take any chances on this trip, so I brought 2 XL cans. It never occurred to me that no one else would think to bring it (although I should have assumed, because boys, right?) So, I had been sharing my Off with them for the past 3 days and the can was getting light. I don’t remember if it was Joey or Liam, but someone said, “Oh no! WE’RE almost out of bug spray!” HA! WE?! I! I am almost out of bug spray. MINE. “You know, I don’t know what you guys would do without me…” I said, as I got my back up can out of the bear locker. “You were holding out on us.” “It’s a good thing, we’re only half way through this trip. We need to ration! So, you’re welcome!”

Right before dinner, I attempted to clean up a bit. I washed my face and did my best to shave my legs. That’s the one thing that I would not deal with. Hairy legs. Ew. No. Not for me. Can’t sleep. I trekked back up to the campsite. Josh was beginning to make dinner and Mike and Liam were actually helping. I had to get a picture of that.

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Tonight’s meal would be chicken alfredo with broccoli. He used canned chicken so we could have some meat. It was delicious. After dinner, instead of the traditional hot chocolate, josh made us strawberry and blueberry crepes with canned pie filling and tortillas. They were supposed to have cream cheese in them too, but it spoiled. So creative and yummy nonetheless! The storms started to build. It was almost bed time when it began to drizzle. “I guess it’s time for bed,” Neil said, “See you guys in the morning.” At this point, I had been living off of ZzzQuil. It’s really difficult to have to lock yourself in a tent at like 9pm and know that you’ll be stuck in said tent until at least 5 or 6 am. It was beginning to get to me a little bit. I think I fell asleep around 9:30, to the faint light of Mike’s book light.

I woke up suddenly. It was raining, again. It was PITCH BLACK. I’m 24 years old and even at home I need some sort of light on while I sleep, even if it’s just the glow of an alarm clock. I fumbled for my camera, it would have the time. “11:30?! UGHHH you have GOT to be KIDDING ME!” My mind began to wander. “What am I doing here? I hope the rain stops before we have to leave in the morning. Oh man, I don’t know if I can handle paddling in a storm again. I’m tired of being tired, cold and wet. I shouldn’t have drank that whole bottle of water. I really have to pee. I don’t want to go out there alone…” I began to hyperventilate. I have suffered from several panic attacks before and I could see that this was quickly turning into one. I sat up and tried to control my breathing. I was trying to be as quiet as possible but Mike must have heard me sit up. “What’s wrong?” He asked. “Sorry… I’m… fine.” “You don’t sound fine, what’s wrong?” “I’m freakin’ out a little.” “Do you want to go outside? It sounds like it’s just sprinkling a little.” “Well, I do have to pee…” We put on our muddy shoes and stepped out into the cold, damp air. I was not about to walk all the way to the compost, so I settled for a tree about 20 feet away. When I came back to the tent, I was feeling a lot more calm. I think we stood out there for a couple minutes before agreeing to go back into our jail cell tent. We talked for a few minutes and by then I was pretty calm. “It really is dark out here, huh?” He whispered. “Too dark” I said, as I held my hand right in front of my face. I couldn’t see it. Not even a little bit. Just as I was about to fall back asleep, we heard “Ahhhhhhhhhhooooooooooooo!” Mike was silent for a few seconds until I heard him say, “Uh, that was just a bird…” I agreed, because I just really REALLY wanted it to be a bird. I appreciated the effort. I laughed and must have fallen asleep instantly.

We woke up the next morning and I was so happy to see daylight, even if it was gloomy day light. Josh was boiling water for our oatmeal. Mike and Neal were talking about today’s LONG journey. I was getting myself some oatmeal when I heard Mike ask Neal in a very quiet voice, “Hey, so, there aren’t like wolves on these islands… right?” In his bright and cheery Minnesota accent he goes, “Oh Yah, Lot’s of em’!” I almost spit out my oatmeal. I laughed as I looked over at Mike. “It was just a bird…”

We didn’t have time for lollygagging that day. We had a long journey to Devil’s Island, the northernmost of the Apostle’s. The first half of the paddle, we were fighting the wind and waves quite a bit, but atleast it was partly sunny. It was a little rough but after 2 or 3 hours, Neil recommended we stop at Rocky (or perhaps South Twin? Can’t remember…) Island for a bathroom and GORP break. This was a pretty established island. There was a boat dock, actual picnic tables and a bathroom! We sat at one of the tables and got out the GORP. Apparently, this is a thing that every outdoorsman should know about. It stands for “Good Ol’ Raisins & Peanuts”. There are many variations of the recipe. My favorite was the chocolate GORP. It was kind of like a rice crispy treat. You would just grab a lump out of the ziploc and keep on paddling. It was nice to just sit and eat it though. Our other go to while paddling was Twizzlers! We got back in the kayaks and started the second leg. The water was pretty calm until we rounded the southern tip of Rocky (or South Twin). Once there were no more “Barriers”. It was open water. The waves got a little rough and Devil’s looked like it was so far out. It took forever to get there. I managed to keep a pretty steady pace but once those clouds began to build and I started hearing thunder in the distance, I kicked my butt in gear. It seemed like it took 3 hours to finally get there. It looked like it was about to pour and the thunder was getting louder. There was a little boat house and a cove that was protected by a dock. I was so relieved as we pulled up.

Neil noticed that there was someone’s belongings on the dock. “Huh, looks like there’s someone else here,” He said. Now, all campsites in the Apostles are up for reservation. If you don’t reserve it, you can’t stay there. Just then, a man came walking down the steps. He said, “I take it you guys are coming to stay at this campsite tonight? My partner and I were just wondering if anyone was going to show up. We got a late start today and now we’re not sure if we can make it before the storms roll in. It looks like it’s about to rain any minute.” We only saw one kayak. “There’s 2 of you?” Neil asked, looking at the single kayak. “Yeah, we actually came from Bear island. My partner is a long distance swimmer. He swam from Bear Island yesterday (4 Miles). He doesn’t know if he can make it all the way back in these waves. We’ve almost got all of our stuff packed up, so the campsite is all yours, but would you mind if we hung out down here on the dock?” Obviously we didn’t mind that they needed to stay, as long as we got the campsite that was reserved for us. We unpacked all our things and headed up the hill. It was probably 30 yards or so up to the campsite.

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It was up on a hill, kind of in a meadow. It had an awesome view since it was up so high. It started raining almost immediately after we set our tents up. We waited out the storm for about an hour and then decided to take a walk on the trail that led to the lighthouse. The trail was a muddy mess, but beautiful nonetheless. (HA. I didn’t even intend for that to rhyme!) We made it about halfway there when the skies opened up again. Joey had his super fancy camera with him, so I took it and covered it with my raincoat while he and Liam sprinted back to the campsite. Mike stuck with me. Running in the mud is hard. Running in the mud wearing water shoes is even harder (and very, very messy). Running in the mud while wearing water shoes holding a really expensive camera is stupid. I decided to walk… hey, atleast I had a raincoat.

It cleared up around dinner time. Josh was making spaghetti with garlic toast. That was like the perfect dinner for such a cold, wet night. We hung out for a little bit and then went to sleep when the storms started to build back up. I slept pretty good that night.

We woke up early the next morning because we were going to paddle the sea caves. A couple of the islands have sea caves, but Devil’s are by far the coolest. Not everyone makes it all the way out here (approximately 15 miles from Little Sand Bay, Wisconsin), so it was pretty neat to see it so privately. It was a foggy morning, but the water was like glass. We started in the southwestern corner of the island, and decided to go counter clockwise, so that we’d see the cooler parts last.

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As we paddled around the island, the caves got larger and more incredible. It’s amazing how water can chisel away at something as strong as stone. It kind of brings the personal trainer out in me…. It’s an analogy for hard work and dedication in the gym. It’s not instant and it takes time and persistence, but eventually you’ll see change.

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The caves really were beautiful though. My quota for enclosed spaces had been met for the week (and probably a lifetime) due to living in a tent, so I strayed away from the smaller caves. The guys had a blast going through them though. I did manage to convince myself to go through some of the larger ones. As we rounded the southern tip, the waves began to pick up. It was still really foggy and raining a bit. I was beginning to get a little nervous that this is what the day would be like.

We walked back up to the campsite and rested for a while before Josh started making breakfast. Apple cinnamon Oatmeal was my favorite! As time passed, the skies began to clear and I even saw a little sun. I was so relieved. We probably left around 11. We made a plan to stop at the eastern side of Bear Island for lunch. We paddled for about 2 hours and it was looking like a beautiful day. Joey and Liam were ahead of us a bit, with Josh close behind. Neil, Mike and I were hanging back and talking about something. We watched as Joey and Liam began to have a splash fight by grazing the water with their paddles. Almost simultaneously as Mike said, “This is going to end badly” we watched Joey smack his GoPro right off the mount of his kayak and down into the depths of Superior. “Oh crap,” Mike said, as I stared silently, mouth gaping. There was nothing anyone could do. The spot where it sank like a rock was about 70 feet, Neil estimated. The three guys paddled ashore and we got there about 5 minutes later. Joey was pretty silent, and surprisingly calm. If I had been in his position, I’d have been a complete basketcase. He held himself together surprisingly well. When he eventually spoke, he said he would rather it be the GoPro then his other more expensive camera. We all agreed.

To: Joey

Is that a funny enough anecdote for you? #TOOSOON?

From: Erin 😉

There was a spooky old cabin on this island and an old shell of a boat that had washed up. We explored those, took a walk on the rocks and after lunch, they taught me how to skip rocks! Don’t ask… I’ve just never been able to do it… But now I can! We hung out at Bear for an hour or 2.

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“Well what do you say, guys? Ready to get going? I think hear rumbles of thunder out in the distance. It’s still pretty far away so we should be okay to make it to York Island if we leave soon. “Great…,” I mumbled to myself. “Not again.” The word thunder was like magic to me… it instantly made me move faster. We got our wetsuits back on and began to round the northern tip of Bear. Again, as soon as we rounded the corner to open water, the wind and the waves picked up. I was feeling so exhausted after 5 days of this. It was like no matter what direction we were heading, we were always going against the wind. Every day I wished that the pedals that i put my feet on inside the kayak for stabilization would actually be pedals like on a bike. “My legs would make me go so much faster than my arms”, I thought. Interestingly enough, my paddling song became, “Shine bright like a diamond”. I didn’t know why… it just always popped in my head. Now, that song is my #whitegirlwasted go to, so when I think about it now, it was probably my subconscious self begging to trade in the hot chocolate for alcohol…

The waves were getting bigger and along with the clouds that were growing larger and darker, so was my feeling of uneasiness.  It wasn’t too long before I heard the noise I had grown to fear most that week. *THUNDER*. I could visibly see the clouds open up as we paddled straight into it (although I’m not entirely convinced it wasn’t following us…) I was fighting and fighting and fighting and I was just no longer making any headway. I was frustrated and in an all out panic. You know that feeling you get, right when you can’t hold back the tears any longer? Yeah? Well I was there. Neil had offered a few times that day to give me a tow, but I wanted so badly to do it on my own. I had reached a point however, that I physically couldn’t. My mind wasn’t able to focus. He paddled back beside me and hooked on the tow line. I felt a bit of relief. Again, I didn’t have to paddle as hard, but the waves and swells were now so large (5+ feet or so) that I still had to give it one hell of an effort. It did bring me comfort though to know that I wasn’t alone.

Not even 5 minutes after he hooked the tow line, it began to pour. This was not just a rainstorm. This was a full on monsoon. There was lightning all around us. There was so much wind and rain that it knocked the contact right out of my left eye. I was now paddling with one eye open. I THANK GOD I accepted help from Neil cause at that point if I hadn’t, I would have been in serious trouble. I want you to picture the magnitude of Lake Superior for a moment. There was 9 miles between Bear Island where we had eaten lunch and our campsite for the night at York. When this storm hit, we were halfway. We were roughly 4 and a half miles off the coast of any land, in kayaks, in a very angry lake, in a really nasty storm. I felt complete helplessness. There’s literally nothing that you can do to get away or hide. It’s probably how an animal feels when it’s been cornered by a predator. I knew Mike was somewhere behind me, but I could no longer see him which added to my hysteria. Liam and Josh were like machines, way up ahead of us. Joey and Mike ended up next to each other. It was me and Neil. He said something before the rain started that I couldn’t stop thinking about. “It’s best if we split into smaller groups, that way if one of us gets struck, there will be others that can help…” “Holy… did he just say that with a straight face? I said to myself.

In my mind I was thinking, “If I’m going to die by getting struck by lightning, it’s definitely not going to be here. It’s going to be at home, in Tampa, the LIGHTNING CAPITAL of the FREAKING WORLD!” Growing up in Tampa, I was always fascinated by the lightning, but I also feared it. I wish so badly I could get across just how terrified I was. It would only take one wave to roll me. I have never really been in a situation that I felt could kill me, after this trip, I can no longer say that. I was praying. I was praying out loud. I kept repeating the same phrase over and over. Something to the effect of, “I’ll do better. Just please… get me through this.” I’m sure I said some other things because I was having a full on conversation with God at that point. As the wind, waves and rain continued to pummel us and the lightning flashed all around, I felt a strange sense of calm come over me. I was warm and no longer afraid. I knew at that moment that I was going to be fine. I continued to paddle as hard as I could. When we were about a mile off shore of York, everything stopped. I remember being silent the rest of the way there. I think I was trying to process exactly what just happened. I saw Mike and Joey to my left. Liam and Josh were already on the beach.

photo 4 (8)When we pulled ashore, I stumbled out of that kayak as fast as I could. There were a lot of people on the island. One guy said, “Holy cow. You guys just came out of that?” It turns out, the island was so crowded because everyone was too hesitant to head out when they saw that storm building. I’m still not sure if it was brave or stupid, that we chose too. As I was telling you before, the campsites are meant to be reserved. There were 3 campsites on this island. One was taken by a family that I assume had it reserved. The second, was taken up by a group of boy scouts that were supposed to had left that day. Due to their inexperience and not having a proper guide, they chose to stay. That forced the 2 guys that were supposed to have that campsite, over into our reserved campsite. When we pulled up, the guys had already set up all of their stuff in our camp. We ended up setting our tents on the beach. I could tell Neil and Josh were a little perturbed, and honestly if I hadn’t been so glad to just be on sturdy ground, I would have been irritated too.

We shared the campfire with them that night. They “let” us use it first, while they paddled around the island. While Josh cooked, Joey, Liam, Mike and I took a walk down the C-shaped beach. It was beautiful. There’s something about the sand there, it doesn’t stick to you because it’s so thick, probably because it’s ground up stone instead of sea shells. I loved it. As we walked, Liam turned to Mike and said, “Dude, you stink!” Mike sniffed his shirt. “I don’t smell anything…” he said. Liam leaned down to smell his own clothes. “WOO! Nevermind… it’s me!” It felt good to laugh.

For the life of me, I can’t remember what we had for dinner that night, but I remember I ate a lot. After dinner, we did smores. Josh showed us how he makes them… with crunchy peanut butter! That was phenomenal and I’m not sure I’ll ever eat one without it again. I was ready for bed pretty early that night. We had gotten up so early to paddle the sea caves at Devil’s and had been on quite a roller coaster that day, that I was exhausted. I want to say total miles paddled was like 16 for the day. I fell asleep fast.

I woke up to a glorious sight. SUN SHINING through the tent. I scrambled outside. “Oh my goodness! It’s sunny!” I was so excited. We had a relatively short paddle that day, about 5 miles, to Sand Island. I think we had bagels for breakfast that morning.

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We began heading west. The sun was out the entire time. As we got closer to Sand Island, we began to see more Sea caves. These ones are not nearly as large or abundant as the caves at Devil’s but they were still really cool.

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We hugged the shore all the way up and over the north side of the island. At the northern point there is an adorable lighthouse. It was straight out of a Thomas Kinkade painting. Our campsite was in a little cove along another beautiful beach. If you were to climb up the little log bridge, that’s where you’d find the fire pit, tent sites and back in the woods about 50 feet… the potty. I lost count of the number of mosquito bites I had acquired, but they were all over me. ALL OVER. 😀

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Neil and Josh set their tents in one of the tent sites, but the four of us decided to set up on the beach. It would be a lot softer and there were WAY less roots. It was only about noon by the time we got there and set up, so there was plenty of time to chill.

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I sat on the beach, as Neil and Josh taught Mike and Liam how to “wet exit” and “Eskimo roll” in the kayaks. For those of you that don’t know, a wet exit is when you roll your kayak upside down and can’t get it upright, you need to find the strap to your rain skirt and give it a good yank to release yourself from the kayak. In a sea kayak, you sit inside and the rain skirt is a cover that secures you in and keeps all the water out so your cockpit doesn’t fill up and sink you. An Eskimo roll is where you roll upside down underwater and then right side up in one fell swoop. They both got it down really fast.

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Eventually, we decided to take a hike along the shore. There were lots of rocks to climb up and down on. There was a thick layer of slippery algae, as we got further out, so I decided to head back to camp while the guys pushed on. I’m a very clumsy person… me+rocks+algae= a bad time.

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As I sat there on the beach, looking out over the calm water, I began to reflect on the adventurous week that we had experienced. I know that there were some terrible, awful times, but the incredible once in a lifetime moments outweighed the bad in every way. Not only did I get to see things and experience things I never even imagined, but I also learned several life lessons. I learned that hard work leads to great reward. I learned that my body is a whole lot stronger than I used to give it credit for. My mind will give up way before my body quits. If I can manage to override what my mind is saying in any life situation, there’s really nothing that I can’t do. Most importantly to me, my faith in God grew 100 times stronger. I truly believe that He was with me, through those hard times especially. It made me realize that I was only acknowledging Him when I needed something. It gave me a whole new appreciation for everything that I have in life. I’m a more grateful person because of it. As cliche as it may sound, This trip changed my life.

10533259_10203559261373841_668933899345296086_nThe guys came trotting back down the hill just as Josh was starting one last dinner. Again, I can’t remember what it was… We had more smores afterwards and sat around talking about the week. I really enjoyed that time. The sun was setting as we settled in for our last night on Superior. I was beginning to realize that I’d miss it more than I thought, but I was really looking forward to getting to take a shower!

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The next morning we woke up to another beautiful day. For breakfast we kind of ate random stuff. Whatever was left, actually. I think I had a bagel. We packed up and started our journey back to Little Sand Bay where we had started 7 long days ago. I actually ended up leading part of that trip, I was excited at the idea of being back on the mainland. I began singing to my paddle strokes and my song of choice was Slim Shady… I know that song like the back of my hand. We could see the dock. At that point Liam, Josh and Joey were almost there. As I glided towards the beach, I relished the sound of the sand scraping the bottom of the kayak. This was it. We had done it! I washed off the kayak before we started pulling them out of the water to carry them up the hill. As we made it back to the field that we started in, there were excited groups of people about to begin their journey. I had an odd sense of jealousy mixed with relief that I wasn’t them. Did they know what they were getting themselves into? Mike got the car and we began loading all of our stuff into the trunk. When he opened it, I saw the big sweatshirt, blanket and mittens that I had left behind. UGH. If I had only known… Josh offered us one last lunch at the picnic tables and once we heard it was that awesome taco salad from day 2, we couldn’t pass it up. We stuffed ourselves, said our goodbyes and thank you’s and began our journey back to Ashland.

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It was weird being in a car. You can get places so much faster when your main source of power isn’t your ARMS… It was nice to be able to look at a clock and know what time it was. It was nice to be dry, and warm. Before we got back to Ashland, we went through the most adorable town I’ve ever laid eyes on, Bayfield, Wisconsin. We decided to stop and walk down the street, where we came across an ice cream shop. AGH ice cream! How I’ve missed you! It was so good.

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All I could think about was getting back to our hotel in Ashland and taking a shower! A couple hours later, we pulled back up to Hotel Chequamegon. Once we checked in, we raced up to our rooms. Mike was kind enough to let me go first. I think I showered for an hour. No, seriously. I wasn’t just standing there. I was literally scrubbing for an hour. I washed my hair 3 times before it felt clean. Hair that’s gone 7 days with no shampoo, tied in a braid and wind blown like crazy, basically turns into dreads. I shaved my legs in a real shower and it was so great! My legs were literally stained with dirt and as I ran the razor up my shin, I watched the dirt just dripping off my leg. Gross. I got dressed and stepped out of the bathroom. I felt like a brand new person. Mike jumped in the shower as I laid in my big comfy bed! The pillow was like a cloud. The blankets and sheet were so soft! I was in heaven. We relaxed for several hours before deciding to head out into Ashland and get something to eat. We went back to The Alley that we had eaten at the previous week.

10533259_10203559262293864_969230580533486948_nI ordered a beer and the same burger, the Wisconsin Patty Melt, and it was even better than I remembered! REAL FRESH RED MEAT. We were planning on going to see a movie, Guardians of the Galaxy I believe, but we decided to head back to the hotel instead. After a while, Mike and I joined Joey and Liam in their room to play some Cards Against Humanity. I love that game… After a couple hours we headed back to our room to get some sleep. It was the best night of sleep that I’ve ever experienced.

The next morning, we got up and headed back to Duluth to catch our plane. Liam was flying standby and he didn’t make it on, so we said goodbye to him there. We had plenty of time to catch our connecting in St. Paul this time. We even ate Subway while we waited. I remember watching an Alaskan Airlines flight board and wishing SO badly that I was getting on it. We got on the flight to Tampa a few minutes later and were in the air heading home in no time. When the plane was approaching TIA, I remember the pilot saying something about going around the thunderstorm. “Okay God, when I said I’d rather die from lightning in Tampa… I didn’t actually mean it.” I laughed quietly to myself. We got off the plane and went to collect our bags. Joey’s mom and dad were there to pick him up. We said goodbye to him. Mike and I walked outside to wait for Linda, his mom, to get us. She pulled up 2 minutes after we walked out there. We told her all about the trip as we drove back to their house. My parents and grandparents were coming over to have pizza and hear about our trip. Mike hooked up the GoPro and showed them all the pictures and videos. They loved it. I said goodbye to Mike and his family and my parents drove me home. I showered in my own shower and drifted off to dreamland in my own bed.

This was a trip of a lifetime and I wouldn’t trade any part of it for the world. I will go back to the Apostles one day. I recommend you guys check them out sometime, too. They’re an unknown gem to most of the country and truly worth the journey.

I drew closer to God on this trip. I learned that I am here for a purpose. I found my path in life and it all comes back to this trip. I lean on God now when I need help. I THANK MORE and I FEAR LESS because I know He is with me. It’s a powerful thing that happened that week. It was life altering for me. God is all around us. He’s in nature just as much as He is everywhere else. Spending a week fully engulfed in nature, led me to be fully engulfed in God (The first time in quite a long time). When we are forced to walk away from electronics, social media, cell phones, television, internet access, we find ourselves. I think everyone should go on a trip like this because it puts things into perspective. You realize what is truly important in life: Health, family, friends, faith and God. I realized that there is nothing that I can’t get through. I no longer feared going back to school, going on interviews, making significant career choices. I can do anything… because what’s more challenging than a week on Superior? 😉 

WOW! That was long. Haha! Well, ironically enough… We just took my mom and grandma to the airport. They’re going to visit my aunt in Anchorage, Alaska, with a connecting flight in St. Paul/Minneapolis. What are the chances??? Okay, thanks for reading guys. What’s the craziest/coolest/most nerve racking trip you’ve ever been on? Where have you always wanted to go? Let me know in the comments below!

Until Next time (I have some exciting news!)…

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I'm a 26 year old NASM certified personal trainer with a corrective exercise specialization! My love for fitness and nutrition blossomed several years ago. It has changed my life. Now it's my mission to help and encourage all of you through my blog as well! Feel free to contact me!

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