Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Door County Anniversary Trip, Day 3

Day 3: Friday, June 5, 2015

For today's adventure, we decided to spend the whole day touring islands - Washington Island and Rock Island! From the tip of the peninsula, you can catch a ferry to Washington Island, which is just like a continuation of the county. Once on the land, it really doesn't feel much different. And from the Northeastern side of that island, you can take another ferry to Rock Island state park. We planned for all of this to take up the entire day. It started off overcast, but by the end it was a great day to be out and exploring!

We got on the first ferry of the day at 8am. (Tourist season had not yet begun at this point, but during the summer they offer many more ferry rides!) It's a half hour ride which you can either take in your car or sitting up above. We looked into leaving our Jeep and renting bikes on Washington island, but found that it was twice as expensive to do that. From where the ferry drops you off to where the Rock Island ferry leaves is about 8 miles, so walking was out of the question! We enjoyed the ride, and tried to figure out which islands were what on the way there looking through binoculars.

We had a little time to kill between the Washington and Rock Island ferries, so we stopped halfway at the Mountain Park in the middle of the island. We found that these stairs were very common in the county...and maybe just the midwest in general... we're still figuring out what hiking is like in different areas. :)

The tower at the top of the "mountain"!

Looking down from the tower.

The South side was much less scenic.

Looking down at Curtis' backpack!

After that, we made our way to the next ferry. There are no vehicles or bikes allowed on Rock Island, but camping and backpacking is pretty popular there. The waves were high this morning, rocking the ferry this way and that. It was unsettling at first, but then felt exhilarating. I found that it wasn't enough to just hold onto Curtis because I could still fall off the bench easily, I had to cling to the boat. It was a fun ride though, once we got used to the waves!

The one downside to taking these ferries is that we felt drowsy once on the island. Once there, we looked into the trails, but decided to just take the one to the lighthouse. It was about 2.5 miles round trip. We thoroughly enjoyed the walk though, and loved being alone out there.

Beautiful stone building welcoming us to the island.

We took another lighthouse tour, and this time it didn't cost anything. We think it's because of the fees to enter the state park and take the ferry across. Or maybe it's because it was the tour guides' first day on the job. Who knows. :) 

Looking down from the tower

The Fresnell light

After another tour and more dreams of being lighthouse keepers, we walked a little further on to the "beach." We learned that beach can mean anything, from a patch of sand by water to a strip of rocks right next to the lake. This one was the latter! It was too cold to be in the water, so we just enjoyed the view.

The stair leading down the bluff to the beach.

We found the cave!

Goodbye lighthouse!

We didn't see any wildlife here, just campers. We made our way back to the ferry, trying to figure out letterbox clues. We talked about what it'd be like to backpack here, but I don't think it's up there on our list of "places we want to backpack." While it is lovely, the trails all do start to look the same here  - covered in trees and thick vegetation, with maybe one or two overlooks of the lake. What this place is missing is a mountain. We'd love to be able to hike up a mountain and be able to overlook all of this!

I loved the colors of the trees!

Before taking the ferry back, we enjoyed checking out the inside of the big stone building. It had lots of Norwegian furniture and historical facts. 

The cool chandelier! 

Watching the ferry come back for us.

The next ferry ride was significantly smoother than the one before. The ride is 15 minutes from Washington to Rock Island. Before we knew it, we were back on Washington. We set out to do some more letterboxing and find a very late lunch.

We stopped at Schoolhouse Beach on our way back into town. Apparently, the rocks here are exclusive to this location, and it's illegal to steal them. Curtis was excited to see what these rare and forbidden rocks looked like, but ultimately decided that they weren't worth stealing. ;)

They're just round and smooth, who would want to take these?!

Panorama of the beach

What just about every trail looks like. :)

We did a short walk to the Norwegian church and loved the architecture of it all. Keep scrolling to see why. :)

The front of the church


Boat hanging from the ceiling!

We stopped at Albatross' restaurant on the way back - it was delicious but a little pricy! Maybe because it's on an island? 

Goodbye, Washington Island!

After returning to the mainland, we were once again drowsy from the ferry ride (which we tried to sleep through in our car!) but decided to do one more hike rather then going back to the house only to fall asleep. We returned to Door Bluff (our last hike from yesterday) and actually walked the trail the whole distance. Yes, there really is only this ONE lake view! :)

I can't believe I forgot to mention this in yesterday's post, but it was here where we saw our first bald eagle. Today, we saw it again, this time being chased around by a seagull! We had run into bird watchers the day before at Toft Point as they were watching an eagle's nest, if only we had run into them again to let them know where they could see the real deal! :)

For our third sunset, we went to Ellison Bluff county park, and found that this is a great place to watch the sunsets - it's just a drive by location (no hiking back in the dark!) and gives a great view to the sunset over Green Bay.

Day 3 Wrap Up: Found 3 letterboxes, traveled to Washington Island & Rock Island State Park, Hiked 5 miles, saw our 2nd bald eagle!

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