Spring Bucket List
Spring. The season that officially begins on March 20th, but might not make its bold entrance to northern Wisconsin until mid-April. The season of gloomy days, slippery pavement, mud, and peace + quiet. The simple things make spring days some of my favorite; driving with the windows down, enjoying fresh air in a t-shirt with snow on the ground (only in Wisconsin), and sipping a cocktail outside for the first time in over 6 months. Here is our spring bucket list, full of adventures we’re intending to take this spring from exploring waterfalls to cleaning closets.
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ONE - biking season
Is your bike ready to hit the trail? Get ready for the season by getting your bicycle in tip top shape. Schedule a tune up, we suggest BJ's Sportshop or Chequamegon Adventure Company in Minocqua and Hobby Wheel in Ironwood.
New to biking? From road to mountain to electric bikes, learn what style fits you! Head to the bike store in your neck of the woods:
Rhinelander: Mel's Trading Post
Ironwood, MI: Hobby Wheel
Minocqua: Chequamegon Adventure Company, BJ's Sportshop, + Coontail Sports
TWO - Get outside
Clear pavement on a warm, sunny day is synonymous for a long walk with the dog. Do you agree? Walk a section of the Heart of Vilas County Bike Trail System, Marathon Road in Manitowish Waters, the Bearskin State Trail in Minocqua, or Ben Bendrick Drive (Lakeshore Drive) in Boulder Junction.
THREE - Plan your garden
Late spring/early summer days seems to pass by in a flash, so this time of year is perfect to plan your garden. Dream of fresh produce, flavorful berries, and bright sunflowers as you turn the pages of your favorite seed catalog - we use Burpee Seed. If you're not sure what to plant, when to plant it, or how to make it grow, check out these great resources - UW-Extension: Vegetables in WI + The Old Farmer's Almanac, or tune into Garden Talk with Larry Meiller on WPR. If you want to take up gardening but don't have the space, check out a local community garden - there's one in Minocqua, one in Presque Isle, and one in Mercer.
FOUR - shed hunting
Explore your forest or nearby state forest property (NHAL State Forest map) by following well trafficked deer trails in search of sheds. Sheds or deer antlers are commonly used as Northwoods decor, in addition to being a useful tool for hunters. An "up north" fact - shed antlers fall off North American White-tailed male deer over the course of the winter and spring's melting snow make these treasures easier to find. Learn more about it here.
five - Spring ice fishing
With plenty of sunshine + bluebird days, hit the lake for your last chance to ice fish for a few months. Catch a few crappie and enjoy grilling out with friends. We recommend bringing a lawn game or radio and making a day of it. As days become warmer, take caution on the ice and make sure to pack the sunscreen!
SIX - Bog boot shopping
Puddles, mud, and slush are only fun to play in with the right gear. Pick up a pair of rain boots (we call them bog boots on the cranberry marsh!) to keep your favorite shoes clean and make sloppy spring days a little better. For the durable Bogs brand, head to Abelman's Clothing + Footware in Bessemer, MI. Colorful, floral printed Joules boots make those wet days fun too, available at Ann Marie's in Minocqua.
SEVEN - Spring cleaning
Spring clean your house + benefit a few local charities in the process! After going through your home, cabin, or even just your closet, drop off your unwanted items at St. Matthias Thrift Shop in Minocqua or at Fleazaar (Saturday's at Manitowish Waters Community Church). Have extra furniture? St. Matthias Furniture Annex and Fleazzar both take furniture too. Just a tip: inquire for specific drop times, locations, + prohibited donations!
In the days of connectivity + technology, spring is a great time to pull in the reins and clean up your electronic life. Clean up your email's inbox by deleting a few emails and/or creating folders to organize; pair down your followers on social media to see more of what you actually love; or just delete a couple unused apps on your phone + put up a cheery photo as your wallpaper.
EIGHT - ice off
Celebrate the ice heading off your lake! On Alder Lake (where Becca lives), they celebrate by heading out in a kayak! Paddle through the thin sheets of ice for quite the adventure. Fair warning - shifting wind makes the return difficult. Other lakes celebrate the tradition by doing a polar plunge, having a friendly bet with a neighbor on date + time, or getting the waterskies out - dry suit recommended (March 23rd is the earliest waterski date in Manitowish Waters, did you beat it?).
NINE - Spring campfires
Warm, spring days make me antsy for calm summer nights. Gather around the campfire (fire pit or fireplace, you pick!) and enjoy the bug free nights of spring. Roast a s'more or two, and if luck has it, you just might find your favorite seasonal summer beer on the shelf already! If beer isn't your thing, a margarita will help bring the taste of summer to your spring campfire.
Northerly note: Read our tips for making delicious s'mores on this journal post.
TEN - Waterfalls
Spring means snowmelt. Explore the gushing and rushing waterfalls of northern Wisconsin + Michigan's Upper Peninsula. This is one of our favorite spring activities, so don't miss the chance this year! Here a few resources to plan your trip: