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Backpacker Magazine – February/March 2013

Trail Mix — Central — March 2013

Your region's go-now guide: Explore ice caves on Wisconsin's Apostle Islands, overnight in peace in northern Missouri, and more.

by: Sarah L. Stewart (From the Field), Paul Chisholm (Secrets), Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan (See This Now), Ryan Pinkard, Rachel Zurer

Nordhouse Dunes Trail (Photo by Lars Jensen)
Photo by BP0313TRIPC_TM_Jensen_Nordhouse_bjk_445x260.jpg
Nordhouse Dunes Trail (Photo by Lars Jensen)
InstaWinner Douglas Cornell: Custer State Park's granite needles (Photo by Douglas Cornell)
Photo by BP0313TRIPC_TM_Cornell_Custer_bjkINSTAGRAM3_445x260.jpg
InstaWinner Douglas Cornell: Custer State Park's granite needles (Photo by Douglas Cornell)


See This Now
Ice Caves, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, WI

A glimpse of the Apostles’ iconic shoreline caves and sandstone arches usually comes from a kayak—and from a distance, as Lake Superior’s rollicking waves make it risky to paddle too close. But from late January to March, the lake sometimes freezes enough to allow up-close exploration as ice transforms the dramatic features. Depending on conditions, you might see the rust-red landforms draped in bulbous white sheets, hung with hundreds of ribbed icicles, or wrapped with glassy tentacles of ice. Get your fix on a six-mile hike (out-and-back) from Meyers Beach to the mainland’s best stretch of caves (call the park’s Ice Line first to check conditions: 715-799-3397, ext. 3). Trekking poles and mini-crampons (or skis or snowshoes after a storm) are a must. The caves begin a mile east of the trailhead and wind for two more. You’ll see everything from hands-and-knees tunnels that twist behind the sheer cliff face to 60-foot-high caverns like The Garage at mile 1.8, one of the largest. Go after an extended subzero spell to see the most intricate ice sculptures, and time your trip for sunset to catch the cliffs splashed in their most vibrant reds and yellows. 
Trip ID 2015929



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