Wednesday, March 22, 2017

DOOR PENINSULA, WISCONSIN: CAVE POINT COUNTY PARK

Before I get into this last post in my Wisconsin series, I have to say a few words about Wisconsin cheese: There's a lot of it.

Wisconsin produces more cheese than any other state in the Union. In 2014, it produced 2.9 billion pounds of cheese, or just over 25% of all the cheese produced in the United States. In a 2006 article, the New York Times noted, "Cheese is the state's history, its pride, its self-deprecating, sometimes goofy, cheesehead approach to life." On our way north to the nethermost regions of Wisconsin, we stopped at a remarkable cheese shop with so many delicious options that it made my head hurt:

Player Shaped Cheese, Football Shaped Cheese, State Shaped Cheese, Cow Shaped Cheese (in both black & white and yellow)--they have cheese I never knew I wanted but did as soon as I saw them (never mind the lack of hyphens in the names):

They have more kinds of cheese than Germany has brats or France has breads:

What does a bear have to do with cheese? I have no idea, but he is cute, isn't he?

Door Peninsula juts out into Lake Michigan. The area was named by Native Americans and translated into French as Porte des Morts, and then into English as "Death's Door." Apparently the passage between the peninsula and a nearby island is fraught with peril.
Map from Wikipedia

The peninsula has a popular park, Cave Point County Park, that has been called "the Cape Cod of the Midwest." During tourist season, up to 400,000 people descend on this area, which usually has a population of under 30,000.

I can see why it is so popular. It's not only gorgeous, but it has lots of different possibilities for play, including swimming and diving:

. . . kayaking and canoeing:

. . . beautiful trails (but watch out for tree roots and low-hanging branches):
 







. . . and lots of spots for quiet meditation:



My favorite part of the park, however, is the hundreds of cairns standing like petrified guards on the shores of Lake Michigan. In addition to being "the Cape Cod of the Midwest," I would call this park "the Stonehenge of the Great Lakes":

Who built these rock structures? How long have they been here? What is their purpose?

Here are a couple of prehistoric creatures posing with the ancient stone sculptures:

Along with the vertical stacks, there are impressive horizontal displays that look like a flock of birds sitting on a telephone wire:


No wonder so many people come here. It seems to bring out the love in everyone:

There is a definite sense of enchantment in Cave Point County Park created by the remoteness, the intensity of color, the lush vegetation, the enigmatic rock sculptures, and the happy visitors. It feels like something magical might happen here.

Driving out of the park, that magical promise bore fruit. Ever since our children were small I've wondered where Waldo is, and now I know! Thank you, Door Peninsula!

3 comments:

  1. Some of that cheese was really marvelous and the rock cairns on the shoreline were very fun.

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  2. This was great--love that last line!

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  3. I think the "Hike at your own risk" is a sign posted by locals to keep the riff raff out. What ARE those stones about? Very interesting!

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