Our trip to Door County Wisconsin

Sept 16-18 1966

We were driving and it was cold. Martha had some peanuts and we all had saltines. We stopped at a dam to watch the green water turn white. The bridge looked solid but swayed as we walked on it, chuckling gleefully with visions of tumbling, sloshing people.

And we've made it to Sturgeon Bay. Limestone cliffs far away. Near us the water is bluegray, sunset is coming. We skip stones. They are rectangles and still have some rough edges. Gray with fresh white sides and black lichens. A powerboat roars by and beige waves clap the limestone. The hawthorns have red haws. (haw haw) Sunset lowers slowly pink, the water glows. We have steak and spaghetti and chocolate milk and crackerjacks for supper.

There is a tower in the trees. 75. ft. it says. We don't realize and run up, another flight of worn brown stairs, another flight, another flight... our legs ache, another flight, another flight... how many are there? Finally we reach the top, panting. The sky is gigantic; it reaches down to touch the earth, aching. The south is ragged dusky green trees marching to piney colored hills in bluegray hands. A twinkling harbor lies on the pale gray water, winking its red and white eyes, tiny, so tiny and faraway. The north and west are islands and peninsulas entangling the sunset waters. Buoys and boats are tiny lights. A bat flies about our heads. The sunset is lavender and ocher knots in the west, and fading pink to the north. The moon is a half-hidden pale crescent, hovering above the bluegrayness. We lean over the railing and spit and hear it go pat several seconds later.

We drive to the motel in darkness, the lights reaching and afraid of scampering rabbits and squirrels.

The next morning we eat breakfast at a restaurant. I have buckwheat pancakes with honey cinnamon, blueberry, and maple syrup. Martha wants hot sausage.

We find another tower. These people think it's 500 ft? 150 ft? We _know_ it is 75 ft. The raggedy trees are there, too, and bright blue water fills the hollow in the earth. Islands recede into mistiness and the sun is warm and bright. Boats float white here and there like jewelry.

At lunchtime we climb down mossy brown steep slopes and walk on limestone square pebble beach, popping jewelweed pods. Martha falls in.

Again, another beach, this one steep limestone walls taller than me but easy enough to climb up or down. The beach is a gleaming white ledge and the gold and turquoise water claps and sloshes like a seal pool against the walls and caves and children in the shady recesses under arched evergreens.

At [frog point?] we count frogs and look under debris for garter snakes. One lies curled up sleeping, but slips away before we can catch it. Fringed gentians and white daisies wave among rushes and grass, blue and white and green woven in squared limestone pieces. The wind blows lightly and the sun is hot.

At Ridges we hike about through sand and cedar and we think of Florida. A tree leans over a bridge, you have to climb around it. How do the little old ladies manage? There's this quaint house -- may be a museum. We trudge down the long straight path to it. "US Coast Guard No Trespassing" it says by the door.

Then we go to Point Beach for supper. We roast hot dogs and after supper swing on the swings and talk in fake Southern accents. A fat man sleeps on the grass by a picnic table. We draw pictures in the sand, it's pink and black speckles, and walk along the beach gathering pebbles. Yes it's pretty, the sunset beginning. Lake Michigan pale gray blue and the sky is tinted pink.

We start home, the sunset glowing. Over a bridge all triangles black-glowing, smiling over the polluted gray luminous water, strung with strange city reflections. The sunset hangs exploding magenta and lavender over tangled junkyards. We drive on and it fades lavender and ocher, pale beige and orchid slowly fading into star-flecked darkness. The moon changes from white to yellow to the moon-cat's pumpkin smile hovering over a silhouetted landscape. We get a French station from Montreal and they play some Beatles instrumental. The countryside is darkness, the highway is light, we race home and there is our house at 10:30 PM.

(from my high school notebooks

note: the polluted water mentioned was at green bay. back in the 1960s the water in green bay supposedly ate the paint off the boats. i don't know if it is cleaner now.)


a flash slideshow of all the pictures

door county pictures

from later years

bridge near green bay

bridge near green bay


near door county airport

highway signs


on the road in door county

clouds over water

lake shore


rocky shore

rocky beach

newport woods

peninsula park woods

view from tower

infrared view from tower

ridges sanctuary

ridges sanctuary

ridges sanctuary


newport dunes

newport dunes

lady's slipper

dolls eyes

bailey's harbor

island with birds

philip in other boat

view from boat

little island and clouds

little island

wendy 1978
photo by iver bryan

philip and wendy camping, 1996
photo by iver bryan

philip, iver campfire

iver, philip, 1999

some digital images:

trees at campsite

high bush cranberries

original - leaves at night, camping

digital version

pond at ridges sanctuary (slightly similar original photo)

digital version

original - water and weeds

digital version

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copyright © wendy mukluk 2005