In Honor of National Park Day on April 22nd, 2023, we are focusing and celebrating our connection to our Wisconsin National Parks by helping with fundraising efforts for the Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore "Access For All" initiative, because we agree with Jeff...
"National Parks belong to all of us. Access for All" is an initiative of Friends of the Apostle Islands in support of efforts to make the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore more accessible to everyone. Let's truly make national parks the best idea America ever had, for everyone."
Quote from: Friends Executive Director Jeff Rennicke
The Rest of the Story
In Feb of 2008, Roy and I heard and read many tales of the adventures of photography friends who had walked out to the "ICE CAVES" from Meyers Beach, just outside of Cornucopia, Bayfield County, WI. Some had walked out in 40 degree below zero temps. Some lost or damaged equipment. Some had almost given up trying to even reach the caves because they thought it looked shorter to cross the lake point to point, and set out across the lake only to find themselves knee, even sometimes hip deep in snow drifts. Some had spent the night out on the ice and camped inside of one of the caves. And in seeing some of the images that were coming back, we just drooled. So, I started watching the weather forecast and the predictions closely and when the forecast was for two days of 20 degrees and above hit, we dropped everything and took off.
The Sea Caves of the Mainland - Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and home to the Ice Caves which were created by centuries of wave action, freezing, and thawing sculpted shorelines throughout the Lakeshore. Visiting the caves in winter requires at least a 2 mile hike (round trip) on the ice of Lake Superior, and that is only to reach just the very edge of the caves that go on for miles. The Park Rangers warn: "Before heading out, visitors must understand all of the risks involved, and the physical demands required for hiking out to the caves." I had never been before so I had no idea what to expect. I know we had been warned that the parking lot at Meyers Beach was so full that people had parked on one side all the way into the park. Some even rumored that there were so many people that they had to park alongside the highway and walk an extra mile or two just to get into the park. All the warnings were correct. We got there and parking was a mile outside of the park up and down the highway in either direction. Roy was kind enough to drop me off in the parking lot with all the photography equipment and then parked and walked in himself. So I had some time to look around and talk to one of the Park Rangers.
The news of this very special event created by Lake Superiors recent total freeze over and the ice caves reached as far as China and brought people from around the globe to take in the trek. The Park Ranger said that the budget for the whole PARK for that year had already been used pretty much for extra toilets and toilet paper they had to bring in because of the on-slot of people coming to see the Ice Caves. He advised me to make sure to go to dinner "early" in the evening because every restaurant in town ran out of food before 6pm every night. (Yes it was just that crazy busy). I was extremely lucky I found out later that I got a hotel room...someone had to cancel because their flight was canceled...someone from Europe!
The trek was horrible but OMG...Worth it!!! We drove from our hometown in Fremont WI to Bayfield County or Cornucopia, WI, and walked in and back twice for a total of 14 miles in less than 24 hours. We stayed over night between those two treks and drove home that same night, all in a grand total of 36 hours. Yes, We were tired, but WOW!!! It was by far one of the most memorable experiences of my life. And now, I recognize the amount of effort it took me to climb "that stairs" for the second time in less than 24 hours. You see I have asthma and this happened in 2008, just over 15 years ago, and I was much younger. I would never be able to make that trip now. And so grateful we did it when we did.
That last mile back was excruciating and when I got to the bottom of those stairs and looked up. Well...I almost threw-up. After about 5 minutes I reasoned with myself...no one was going to carry me up. Roy had gone ahead to pack up his gear and go to the bathroom. Something I also felt the urge to do. I had to make it up those stairs before I really had to go. One at a time holding onto the railing I pulled myself up those stairs. After three steps I had to stop to catch my breath once again. Yes I have legs, yes they worked, I'm lucky in that capacity, but they were burning my muscles spasming because of the over exertion. And my breathing was very labored and I was gasping for air. As soon as I made it to the top I slammed my body onto the picnic table at the top and started to cry. Roy came over and asked if I was ok He knew that last mile was a bad one and he also knew the stairs were a momentous challenge for me alone, even without having to walk 14 miles in the last 24 hours. He also knew well enough not to baby me or I would have made him carry me to the car...even if it was only 100 yards away.
"That Stairs" I can easily see why handicapped people would find issue with them; "that stairs" stands between them and something they really want to do. I can see the amount of desire in their eyes, wanting to be sailing across the water in a kayak under their own power. I can see why they are wanting that ramp to lead them to the freedom to be able to get out on the water and out to such a beautiful spot.
Today I am here to ask you to look at that same stairs and see their challenge. The National Parks are created for everyone. Although 1 out of every 5 visitors cannot take advantage of most of what the parks have to offer, unless there is a handicapped trail or boardwalk or ramp. They can only sit at the top or bottom and look out from where they are. They cannot drag themselves up or down a set of stairs, nor should they even try. But you and I can help. We can help fund that stairs to become a ramp so that people that are handicapped or have lung capacity issues can traverse the ground to take advantage of this Wisconsin's only, National Park.
Here is a mock up of what they propose: Do you have anyone with lung capacity issues..here's the answer for that as well as the disabled.
So here's the deal...
So here's the deal. I am posting all the images I have ever taken and love of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore on my website for the fundraiser or the "Access for All" initiative. I'll do even better than that...I'm including every image I have loaded to the website at: https://www.collectionsbycarol.com/apostle-islands-national-lakeshore and for one full day, on April 22nd, 2023...100% of ALL of the profits will go to Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore for the "Access for All" campaign. Go to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Gallery here: https://www.collectionsbycarol.com/apostle-islands-national-lakeshore
I have never been so excited to offer everyone and anyone the opportunity to get some of our artwork and give 100% of the profits to a fundraiser. But its something I believe in, its in a place I dearly love and feel a deep connection with, not to mention...its Wisconsin's (my home state) own National Park. And as you all know...I LOVE National Parks!
To recap the details: Come to the website...link above on April 22nd, 2023. Place your order that day and 100% of the profits will be donated (within one month from that date) to the Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore: "Access for All" initiative!!
Its just that easy and I promise, you'll feel good about it.
Carol and Roy Toepke
Collections by Carol
New Website, New Blog, New Newsletter! OMG So Much To Learn."
OMG! I had absolutely no idea what I was taking on at this late a date in our careers as photographers. I had no idea just how much I didn't do in Lightroom...because we didn't start in Lightroom until a year ago. And I had no idea how much would be required of me to even get a start on posting to a real website, with a cart system. This is exactly why I have put this job off for ten years.
It's been a long time since I've written a BLOG per se. I quit writing a blog YEARS ago and wrote the stories right on my Facebook Page so others could read the story without having to go anywhere. So please bear with me, as I venture out back into this hidden story world.
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