Extreme Northern Part Of State, Bayfield County. Closest Town: Bayfield. The Best Way To Visit The Apostle Islands Is By Sailboat On Lake Superior. Anchor At Justice Bay On Sand Island. A Set Of Steps In The Center Of The Beach Leads To The Old-Growth Trail And The Lighthouse. If You Don’T Have Your Own Sailboat, You Can Arrange Boat Transportation From The Town Of Bayfield. Trek & Trail Outfitters Can Help You Get There By Kayak (800-354-8735).
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I Was In The North Woods. I Knew This Because, Although It Was Mid-July, It Was Sixty Degrees And The Cool Air Smelled Like Christmas Morning. I Was Surrounded By Christmas Trees The Popular Balsam Fir. Although Pockets Of This Species Can Exist Further South, It Lives Mostly In Canada And Within A Few Hours Drive Of Canada. Besides The Delicious, Clean Fragrance And The Medium-Length Green Needles With Double White Stripes Underneath, You Know You’Re In The Presence Of Balsam Fir When You See That Bumpy, Gray Bark. The Bumps Are Filled With Resinous Sap That Emits The Same Delicious Scent As The Leaves. Press Your Thumbnail Into One Of Those Bumps And Inhale As The Fragrant Sap Oozes Out. The Only Problem Is That Now You’Re Sticky. Balsam Fir Sap Is So Adhesive It Has Been Used As Glue For Mounting Microscope Specimens. “Balsam” Is Related To The Word “Balm,” Meaning A Healing Ointment. Native Americans Used The Sap As A Remedy For A Long List Of Maladies, From Gonorrhea To Sore Throat. Although I Love The Smell, I Can’T Imagine Swallowing The Stuff.
Perhaps Deer Enjoy The Fragrance, Too. Although They Don’T Eat These Trees, Deer Frequently Visit Fir Groves, Presumably Using Them For Shelter. And There, Right Ahead Of Me On The Trail, Stood A Young Buck, His Antlers Still Covered In Velvet. He Was Unafraid Of Me And I Was Unafraid Of Him, But If One Of Us Was To Continue On This Trail The Other Had To Give Way. I Waited Politely, Not Wanting To Exploit My Human Arrogance, And Eventually He Deferred And Stepped Gracefully Into The Forest. I Watched As He Grazed On A Young Sugar Maple, Tearing The Leaves Off And Chewing Them One By One. I Know Whitetails Do Not Favor Red Maples, So I Wondered If The Sugar Maples Tasted Sweeter. As I Walked By, I Tore A Leaf From The Same Small Tree And Took A Bite. The Deer Watched, And I Wondered What He Was Thinking. The Leaf Wasn’T Sweet To My Tongue, But Neither Did It Have The Harsh Green Taste I Imagined It Might.
There Is Another “Balsam” Here, Another Denizen Of The North Woods, But This One Is A Broadleaf, Not A Conifer. In Fact, The Balsam Poplar Is The Northernmost American Hardwood. Its Range Is Mostly In Canada And Alaska, But This Tree, Which Resembles The Cottonwood Or Aspen, Also Grows In This Part Of Wisconsin. Native People Used Its Fragrant Buds To Relieve Coughs And Congestion; When European Settlers Saw This, They Called The Tree “Balm-Of- Gilead.”
Jurisdictional Map Western District of Wisconsin
Map Of And Center Locations Marked South Western
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