A Journey to the Apostle Islands Ice Caves in Northern Wisconsin - WBAY

A Journey to the Apostle Islands Ice Caves in Northern Wisconsin

Updated:
Bayfield County -

After a storm late last week closed the Apostle Islands Ice Caves, the trail is back open Sunday.

Park officials say the ice is stable after the storm in northern Bayfield County.

Click here for a slideshow from photojournalist Thomas Janssen.

Snowshoes and skis pack down the route that as of early last week 65,000 people had already taken.

Tens-of-thousands of people have driven hundreds, even thousands of miles, for a glimpse.

No one's quite sure what to expect when the journey begins.

The horizon, which seems to extend forever, in some ways moves Lake Superior's shoreline.

During the several-mile long hike, the eager pack down the freshly-fallen snow atop more than a foot of ice.

"Oh we can't take anyone down though," Stacy Holden told her kids, from nearby Lakeside Township.

It's the first time in five years the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is accessible by foot.

"I love being outdoors," photographer Al Perry said, who traveled from Evansville, Indiana. "I've been to Iceland twice is the past year. That's nice," as he snaps a picture in Wisconsin.

Around every corner there's a new discovery.

Sandstone carved the caves from Lake Superior's waves.

Inside there's no order or pathway.

"There they disappear," Holden said. "And I don't know where I'm shoving them. So it's gonna be interesting."

As needle-like crystals illuminate the caves, formed from condensation at sub-zero temperatures, water's still to be found.

Ice pillars encapsulate waterfalls you can only hear.

It's no wonder tens-of-thousands have made this journey.

"I think the difference was there wasn't the social media," Holden said. "So there weren't the people at all."

Click here for the latest ice conditions and information on the ice caves.

Click here for frequently asked questions about the caves. 

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