Scenic splendor surrounds us. Adventure beckons.
And that is why five generations of my family over 83 years have continuously journeyed to the Hayward Lakes Area of Wisconsin’s Northwoods, anchoring ourselves into the serenity of “Wake Robin,” our cabin on Big Spider Lake that was once part of the famous Moody’s Camp fishing lodge, now Spider Lake Lodge.
For us, it is a matter of priority.
Although this far Northwest corner of Wisconsin is studded with a myriad of blue lakes each winking its own unique welcome, and even though dense national forests of maple, birch, oak, and pine fill its rolling hills with their greenery, it is perhaps the details that charm us most.
Let me count the ways:
It is the clear, fresh air that first greets your arrival with its calming scents of pine and wind swept water.
It is the swirl of dragonfly wings following you on a bike ride down a rustic road like a bevy of glittering paparazzi.
It is the soft drip off the end a kayak paddle as you glide by a swath of purple water lilies.
It is the melodious plunk of a well-placed lure.
It is the robin’s waking revelry at dawn and the loon’s lilting lullaby at dusk.
It is the moonshine and star shine and the shimmering river of Milky Way flowing across the heavens on black velvet nights.
It is the sweet laugh of wonder from a child’s first look at an eagle, blue heron, turtle, or baby duck.
It is the “refreshing” jump into a cold lake followed by a relaxing recline on a sun-warmed dock.
It is the building of family tradition and the joy of being together once again in a place of peace, serenity, beauty, and fun.
And finally, it is the friendly voices of old friends and new that give added depth to the blessing of this Northwoods experience.
And so, in the same spirit of the hummingbirds’ mesmerizing flight Up North, we too, return.
Marnie Mamminga is the author of “Return to Wake Robin: One Cabin in the Heyday of Northwoods Resorts,” recently recommended for summer reading by “Parade Magazine.” Other publishing credits include the “Chicago Tribune,” “Reader's Digest,” the “Christian Science Monitor,” “Lake Superior Magazine,” and several “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books. Born and raised in the Chicago area, she has a master's degree in English, taught junior high and high school, and raised three sons. She continues to return to the Hayward area every summer with her children and grandchildren.