Early Season Camping in the Apostle Islands

May 11th, 2022  |  Apostle Islands National Lakeshore | Lake Superior Wisconsin


The winter of 2021-2022 in northern Wisconsin will be remembered by many for hanging on long after most were ready to say their goodbyes. Indeed, as I write this post commemorating the first open water Apostle Islands adventure of 2022, I recall having already made three or four trips out by this date last year. I like winter and all, but enough!

gorgeous sunrise on south twin island in the apostle islands national lakeshore

An absolute banger of a sunrise on the South Twin sand spit. I'll be chasing light like this all year!


Spring had officially begun and our season opening Apostle Islands camping trip was about to get underway. (For more information about camping in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, please see: https://www.apostleislandsphot...) We arrived at the Bayfield marina and began loading my boat, The Compromise with gear in preparation for our adventure. Our destination was still uncertain. The marine forecast was calling for east winds to 20kts and waves to 4' by late afternoon. We'd need to tuck into a safe western lee for the overnight. The Compromise jumped up on plane as we exited the harbor, and the inner ring of islands stretched out before us on seas of glass.

The islands passed by as we cruised along, like old friends making acquaintances again after a long winter slumber. Hello, Oak Island. Nice to see you again, Manitou. The air was crisp and fresh, and it felt good to be alive. We arrived at the sand spit on South Twin, and discovered we had the island all to ourselves.

With the boat secured and camp squared away, we ventured into the thick and overgrown interior of the island for some exploring. It's always fascinating to see what might be discovered off the beaten path. Our journey took us through mossy cedar bogs, stands of ancient Hemlock, and turned up a few remnants of a time long past when commercial fishing and logging dominated these islands.

Later, we sat at the waters edge as the beach fire snapped and popped and watched another Apostle Islands evening fade away. Somewhere behind us in the dark forest, a chorus of spring peepers rang out. Loons called in the open channel, signaling the arrival of spring in the north.

A person can ask for nothing more.

historic cabin south twin islands apostle islands
Historic South Twin Island Cabin Apostle Islands

The National Park Service has maintained and preserved this historic cabin on South Twin Island.

1946 chevrolet panel van south twin island apostle islands
Abandoned truck on South Twin Island in the Apostles

Long forgotten, this old truck lies broken deep in the interior of the island. Google tells me it is a 1946 Chevrolet Panel Van.

1946 chevrolet panel van south twin island apostle islands
South Twin Island Chevrolet Panel Van in the Apostles

I wonder what stories it could tell us, and how it came to be abandoned here. I imagine it went something like this - "Welp, the timber is all cut. Let's bounce, Ole!"

Questions about any and all things Apostle Islands? DM me on Instagram.

Posted in Trip Reports.