Fall Traditions #2: Northwoods Favorites

Northwoods Favorite Road with leaves on it.

Part 2 of my Fall adventure series is going to share some of our Northwoods Favorites. These are locations that we love to visit, especially in the fall. We have been going to some for over a decade and others were just found on this trip. I’m absolutely positive we will be going back to the new ones next year. The color of the leaves and natural beauty at the new spots was spectacular. Their splendor rivaled the beauty of my all time Northwoods Favorite. Lets start with the original.

Northwoods Favorites #1: Franklin Lake

Picnic Pavilion overlooking Franklin Lake.

If you have been following the blog and our travels over the past year you know what Franklin Lake means to me. It’s not only a sanctuary but a place for me to mentally heal. It is my favorite place in the state. I have several blog posts about it already. These include Tuesday from my summer post card series and Camping at Franklin Lake: Chapter 1: Our First Adventure. I find a peace there that I have yet to find anywhere else in the world.

We come here in the spring, summer, fall, and winter. It has an ethereal property about it. The water is very calming and quiet. The campground is the same. Franklin Lake is tranquil and peaceful even during the peak summer crowds.

The air smells sweet and pungent with the scent of pine and moss. There is a lingering sense of tranquility and a closeness to Him I can’t find anywhere but here. It’s my place, my favorite place, and a place I mentally run to when my life becomes chaotic. I have built wreath’s with the pinecones from the park, have a few rocks in a vase on my office desk from the lake, and I even keep a small one in my desk drawer at work for times of great anxiety.

The map of the area hangs framed in our office, a shot of our shadows hiking is framed on my desk, and next to that is a photo of sunset over the trees around the lake. A few years ago we bought a beautiful aerial shot of the lake from a very talent artist in the area. I could not love this lake any more! It is my original Northwoods favorite.

It has great hiking, biking, swimming, and lots of options for camping. There are camping sites for all peoples needs: water sites, electric sites, super private wooded sites, and even group campsite. Franklin Lake is also the trailhead for the Hidden Lakes Trail. That is a 15 mile backpacking loop around Butternut Lake. H did it a few years ago and said it was amazing. I will have to have him write a post about it sometime.

Franklin Lake is off the beaten path a bit. It’s not hard to find but requires a desire to get off the main highway and take a decent, but beautiful, drive to get there. Because of this, it is typically just camper’s and anglers around the park. Most people who visit will tell you it’s their favorite place on earth. That is 100% true for me.

Franklin Lake also has many great spots for picnicking. There is a great spot, which is a short walk from the boat landing, with a fully covered pavilion. It was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps a century ago. It has a fireplace on either end. It’s pretty hidden, so hidden that I didn’t even know about it for the first several years I camped there. Now it’s one of my favorite places at Franklin Lake. There are grills, an outhouse, and access to the lake if you want to swim or kayak.

Northwoods Favorites #2: Firefly Lake

firefly lake

A new spot we discovered on our adventures further north is Firefly Lake. It has quickly become a new member of the Northwoods Favorites. We have driven by it’s access road many times over the years but we just never made time to stop.

Both the campground and the lake have a quaint, peaceful quality. The lake is significantly smaller than Franklin Lake but that doesn’t make it any less beautiful though. The views from it look like they are out of a painting.

The camping spots are close to the water, easy to walk around in, and the surface is very flat. There were multiple people on the water in kayak’s enjoying the sunshine while we were there and, believe it or not, I spent some time walking barefoot along it’s shore. I could not resist. The water was super warm for the middle of October

In order to reserve a spot you can click here: Firefly Lake. Put Firefly Lake on your favorite places list. More information on the park is available here!

There are some excellent hiking and biking opportunities nearby to explore. Some of these trails include:The Heart of Vilas County Paved Bike Trail, Razorback Ridges, the Escanaba Trail & the Fallison Lake Trail.

Northwoods Favorites #3: Lake Alva Birch-Hemlock State Natural Area

What can I say, I Googled: hiking and trail systems near me and got this: This was also a new Northwoods Favorite.

Map showing a new Northwoods Favorites

Our goal was to hit all three different spots with the goal of one of them becoming another new Northwoods Favorite but we didn’t make it much farther than the first one.

I will tell you that the drive in was rough and I was super glad we were in the Jeep Wrangler. This natural area is exactly that. You need to take a logging road deep into the forest. It was about 7 or 8 miles of dirt road to get there. I did end up putting the Jeep into 4×4. It would have been rough on my dad’s Cadillac. The reward is worth it though because this one will 100% take your breath away in fall.

I found a spot to back the Jeep in that looked clear of stumps and we unpacked our chairs and set up shop. It instantly became a new Northwoods favorite.

It was a warm, sunny day. I was shocked how warm it got! We had lunch and a few cocktails, took some short hikes, and just enjoyed the forest. There is something about the sun coming through the tree’s that gives me hope. Hope that good things are coming, even though we are headed into winter and life can be tough. This place was simply amazing and reminded me of all the good there is in this world.

Life can be tough!

My work life balance lately has been poor. I have had less free time to write, edit pictures, and spend time with family. The days we spent in the forest were so needed for me, and for H.

Being outside always helps me. The fresh air, the sunshine, and being active brings me back to what makes me tick.

Life can be tough, exhausting, and feel at many times like a rat race. The more connected we get with phones and smart watches, the faster we seem to move. Information is coming at us from all places and its coming at ALL times of the day. Work stuff, personal stuff, social media….it is overwhelming and exhausting. That’s why visiting our favorite places is so important. So we remember why we do it all.

A few weeks ago I said to a team member, I want to go back to 1990 or 1980 and be my age, 48. I want to get information at a slower pace through a memo or a person, forget about social media, and use the post office again.

It’s crazy to think about how much faster we work. How we constantly have input. All day long. Personal information is coming at us from family, friends, and spouses constantly. There are many times during the day that I am speaking to a patient, with a doctor waiting behind me for my attention, the phone is on hold for me, and I am receiving a test message from my boss on my wrist all at the very same time.

Our day jobs also work at such a high pace that it’s very tiring and it also can leave us feel many times like we are spinning. I don’t know about you but I feel like I’m spinning daily. The older I get the worse it makes me feel.

Get outside, enjoy the quiet and the forest!

Being outside will help you maintain balance and slow down. Visit your favorite places. Breathing in fresh air and being physically active, getting our bodies going, and will renew us with oxygen and feed our brains.

Go enjoy nature. Get outside. Plan a hike, or just put on your tennis shoes and go. Sometimes the most satisfying activities are completely spontaneous. I am already thinking about getting away in December. Just a place where we can we go for just a night, to get away from the race, spend some time by a fire, and get in the mood for the holidays.

Plan something, take time to reflect. Go to some of our Northwoods Favorites or find your own. If you do that be sure to let me know where you go. Life moves so fast now you literally might miss it if you don’t pay attention.

I appreciate you all so much, and thank you for reading. This has become my sanctuary, a place to forget about “real life” and appreciate our plans to eventually settle down. Someday I will have my coffee in the forest every morning again……..hopefully someday soon!

Someday we will live at one of our Northwoods favorites!

Any road that leads to any of our Northwoods Favorites is bound to be beautiful.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fall Traditions #2: Northwoods Favorites

Search By Category

featured posts

search the blog

Join Our Email List