On the northwestern tip of Wisconsin, where a peninsula of land like a unmanageable hair swirl juts into Lake Superior, twenty-two islands form an archipelago. Named the “Apostle Islands” by someone approximating their number, these bits of land are smothered in white pine and balsam fir, though below is ancient rock from the Precambrian period made up nearly entirely of red sandstone.
What happens to sandstone after centuries of wave action, freezing, and thawing? They’re carved and sculpted into caves of delicate arches, vaulted chambers, and honeycombed passageways that can only be entered from the water.
When conditions are calm, it’s safe to explore these remarkable phenomena that seem lit from below. It’s a site one never forgets – and yet, the sound of gentle waves plinking and plonking against the stone has its own mesmerizing quality.