Lumberjacks, Rainbows, and Unicorns

unique storm clouds over a lake at sunset

One of my favorite things about RV travel is the ability to spend extended time in diverse landscapes. This past winter, we were exploring the Sonoran Desert surrounded by the majestic saguaro cactus, and this summer, we find ourselves living on lakefront property surrounded by a lush landscape full of tall trees and a forest floor carpeted with ferns and wildflowers. Talk about extremes!

I just love it when the stars align and my days are filled with rainbows and unicorns. Ah, life is good in the Northwoods … that is when one of their insane storms isn’t rolling through!

When we decided to spend our summer with family in northern Wisconsin, Al and I weren’t sure if we’d enjoy spending three months back in the Midwest. After all, since moving west in 1992, the most time we had spent back here was in 2015 when we only lastest five weeks. Yep, after five weeks back in Illinois and Wisconsin, we ended up canceling a bunch of reservations so we could high-tale it back to Colorado.

Although we enjoyed that Midwestern excursion in ’15, I think our mindset at the time was more interested in exploring places west of the Rocky Mountains. These days, I’m feeling a draw to return to my roots and some old stomping ground favorites.

a reflection mallard duck swimming by

Hayward, Wisconsin

Folks come to Hayward and the surrounding area to enjoy the abundance of lakes and relaxing way of life. As a child, I spent quite a few family summer vacations in this part of Wisconsin, and they were always so much fun that my siblings and I couldn’t wait for dad’s vacation time so we could return to our favorite lake and campground on the Chippewa Flowage. Ah, such fond memories and now we have family that actually live just down the road from that favorite place … with room for us to park our RV. How sweet is that!

RV camped in the northwoods on a foggy morning
A foggy morning at our summer campsite. Yoho!

During summer months, fishing, swimming, and strolling Hayward’s small-town streets are just a few fun activities in this former lumbering town. Hayward keeps its past alive by hosting the Lumberjack World Championships each summer. And guess what? We had the pleasure of attending this entertaining competition. This was definitely a first for me! Who knew there was an International Timber Sports Competition? I know, I didn’t. And it’s even televisioned on ESPN.

Lumberjack World Championships

The Lumberjack competition is a three-day celebration of timber sports with over 120 competitors from around the world. Competitors are from five different countries; Australia, New Zealand, Czech Republic, Canada, and the United States. There are 24 events including logrolling, boom running, sawing, chopping, axe throwing, and speed climbing.

Log Rolling: Lumberjacks and Lumberjills (yes, “lumberjill” … how cute is that!) run atop spinning, floating logs in an attempt to topple their opponents. If opponents don’t fall off after a specific time, they switch to a smaller log. Difficulty increases as the logs get smaller.

Boom Running: Competitors sprint atop a “boom” (a series of linked, floating logs) from one dock to another and back. The logs spin and dip. This is a test of speed and balance.

Boom running Lumberjack competition
Boom running

Sawing: Sawdust will fly when lumberjacks and Lumberjills attack lathe-turned white pine in a head-to-head competition using a crosscut saw or a souped-up chainsaw in a variety of fast and furious events.

Chopping: Lumberjacks and Lumberjills sharpen up their axes to compete in the high intensity standing chop, underhand chop, springboard chop, and standing block chop.

Throwing: Precision is the name of the game as competitors throw a double-bit axe as close to the center of a target as possible from a set distance away … bullseye!

Speed Pole Climbing: Lumberjacks go head to head in the breathtaking speed pole climb as they scale a 60′ or 90′ pole and seemingly fall to earth in record time.

Lumberjack World Championship Hayward Wisconsin
The storm passed just in time for the competition to begin.

Fortunately, the threatening storm clouds passed just to the north of Lake Hayward allowing clear skies to prevail for the championship to begin on time. “Yoho!” This was a really fun and interesting sporting event. The competition moved rapidly keeping everyone entertained. At various times throughout the event, spectators could be heard yelling “Yoho!”.

The story behind the “Yoho” goes something like this… Back at lumber camp (many moons ago), one of the lumberjacks needed to visit the outhouse. The weather was clear when he first entered, but upon exiting the outhouse the forest had become covered in a thick layer of fog. The fog was so thick that it was impossible for him to find his way back to camp. So he yelled out “yoho” to his fellow lumberjacks who in turn yelled “yoho” back. The yelling of “yoho” back and forth helped guide the lumberjack back to camp. “Yoho!”  😏

A special treat

Ah, when those stars align … seeing wildlife in their environment is always a special treat and my encounters with the Loons this summer has been amazing but seeing a bald eagle was equally spectacular.

American Bald Eagle

The first time I saw this gal/guy fly by was during happy hour. There we were, sitting on the back screened-in porch on the upper level of the lake house enjoying our margaritas when a huge bird swooped down from the top of the house and flew by us at eye level. We could literally hear the movement of her wings. I was giddy with excitement. I had no idea that this would be the first of many eagle sightings during my summer jaunt to the Northwoods.

Bald Eagle
The neighborhood Bald Eagle
A Lake house
This is our spot for the summer. The upper deck on the house is the perfect place to enjoy a drink, mingle with family, and watch the wildlife.

Country living

We are absolutely loving our time and campsite on private property this summer. Not only do we have a lake view, but we also have hookups and access to a house AND boat, not to mention special time with family. Yep, I’m loving those boat rides. But there is a downside to country living, our cell phones and hotspot do not work. Well, I guess somedays that might be construed as a plus, but other days it does present some challenges. Thankfully, my sister-in-law has a landline and a pretty good internet service, so we aren’t totally disconnected … oh, and cable TV. We were able to get caught up and watch the final season of Game of Thrones. Pretty important stuff, ya know!

Heading into town is about a 25-minute drive and once in Hayward, I can find almost anything I need at the local grocery store or Walmart. But Main Street should not be overlooked.

Strolling the quaint shops and taking in the interesting architecture is equally entertaining. There are also plenty of restaurants, bars, and treat shops to satisfy anyone’s taste buds. Of course, being the T-shirt addict that I am, I felt compelled to add to the local economy by not passing up the opportunity to add to my collection.

Oh, and I bought a pair of super comfy Teva sandals at one of the local shops, Glik’s. My favorite Merrell’s were wearing out and needed to be replaced. I’m loving this new sandal and have been wearing them almost exclusively ever since I bought them. I found it pleasantly surprising that some of these small-town shops here in Hayward as well as Grand Marais, MN offer such a great selection of trail shoes and offer styles that I didn’t see in the big city of Phoenix. Hmm, do I dare go shopping some more?

All good things must come to an end

I can’t believe that it’s already mid-August and our summer is quickly coming to an end. For those of us that have been RVing for a while, we all know the ups and downs of the RV lifestyle. I usually cringe when I hear people say, “Your living the dream” because there are many times RV life is more like a nightmare than a dream, but this summer has really been a dream for us. We didn’t do the traveling we thought we’d do this summer. Instead, we settled into lakehouse living and enjoying our time with family and that’s fine by us. Traveling all the time can get tiring.

Perhaps we’ll return next summer and do that exploring we thought we’d do this year. Ah, time will tell! In the meantime, I’ll savor the last weeks of summer in the Northwoods before we head back to the desert southwest. Are there more unicorns and rainbows in my future? Stay tuned!

(Thank you for shopping my affiliate links)

Casual Print T-Shirt – Lake Life
Distressed Vintage Patch Hat: Lake Life, Black
Teva Women’s Verra Sandal

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67 thoughts on “Lumberjacks, Rainbows, and Unicorns

  1. Your photos are wonderful, Ingrid. We passed through the area on our Lake Superior tour in 2015 and then stopped in the westernmost UP last summer. Also, I didn’t know you were on Instagram! It looks like we’ve been to a lot of the same places (not unexpectedly). Looking forward to keeping up with your travels. So glad you got to spend time with family too? Just out of curiosity, how did you fare with the humidity? Us former-easterners have lost of our tolerance.

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    1. Thank you Meghan. As we were planning our summer travels, I did refer to your blog for ideas. We ended up jumping into a kitchen remodel for sis-in-law (our choice) and therefore didn’t do the travels we thought we would. It has been such a great summer that we plan on returning next summer. So hopefully we’ll venture into the UP then.
      Actually, we’ve handed the humidity surprisingly well. It was those darn mosquitos that drove us nuts our first few weeks here before they started tapering off.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your title is definitely intriguing, Ingrid. I had no idea where you were going with this one:) It sounds like the energy was amazing at the Lumberjack(Jill) competitions. The competitors have to be in great shape. First time I have heard the “Yoho” story. Your photos are breathtaking! Thanks for sharing an interesting and fun post:)

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  3. Enjoyable post and gorgeous photos, Ingrid! Adventure is calling us…..we’ll be picking up our new MH in October. Fingers crossed our dream to see the country will begin as previously planned! 🙂

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    1. Yes, those challenges do keep us hopping but all part of the adventure. We are enjoying our summer very much … more than we expected and we’ll probably return next year. There are still a bunch of places I’d like to visit that we didn’t get to this summer.

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  4. The Lumberjack competition looks interesting. Boy don’t we know about storms this summer. We did get moved to a campground so we now have shade but not good cell service. We’re ready to be pulling up the jacks but we have one more month to go, can’t wait to get to CO and enjoy some drier air.

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    1. I don’t think the weather was nearly as bad for us compared to what you guys have experienced this summer. But fall is definitely in the air in the northwoods. We’ll be ready to head west to warm up come mid September 😆

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  5. I’ve never seen a lumberjack competition live but I have seen them on TV. Perhaps a more Canadian audience draw.
    Your summer sounds fantastic and I would agree that travel is not all ‘living the dream’. There are challenges and I expect that doing it full time from an RV presents may. Glad to hear your summer has been so wonderful reconnecting with family and enjoying the amenities of lakeside living.

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    1. I would imagine the lumberjack competition to be rather popular in Canada considering your landscape.
      RVing can present challenges keeping us on our toes. So, it’s nice to chill and hang with family … a great way to spend a summer!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. What a stunning place Ingrid. A complete contrast to what I’m used to seeing on your blog, but a change of scenery can be refreshing. Staying at the side of the lake must have been glorious. – was the weather warm enough for swimming? As your summer starts to decline, ours is showing signs of appearing – well it will be by the time we return home. I can relate to you doing it a bit tough with difficult internet’s access. We’re very dependent, aren’t we. If we’re going somewhere without good cover, I also say, so what – I’ll survive. But the reality is that after a few days I’m suffering serious withdrawal symptoms. I do t survive all that well! Sad eh.

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    1. Connection withdrawal is definitely a real thing. However did we manage traveling or living without it? 😆
      Returning to my roots in the Midwestern part of the U.S. has been a fun way to spend the summer. The landscape is humid and lush and so vastly different than the arid west and southwest. The U.S. offers landscape and weather extremes. My daughter is flying in from Phoenix at the end of the month. She has been enduring 100 degree F. plus temps while we are barely in the 70’s Fahrenheit. She can’t wait to cool off and enjoy the approaching fall. I’ve already seen some leaves changing color.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, and yes, it has turned into a wonderful summer. I finally got to visit an area I’ve always been curious about – The Apostle Islands. Hmm, need to work on that post!

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    1. The Lumberjack Competition was definitely entertaining. We’ve loved our summer staying on private property even if we have been working on a kitchen remodel 😃

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    1. Thank you! It has been a joy watching the eagle. One day she was on the boat dock and another just floating in the water like a duck and a few times she has been flying overhead. The icing on the cake!

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  7. Your lake stay reminds me of our stays at Conesus Lake at Dave and Sue’s. Nothing like relaxing on the water. Beautiful spot. At times it is nice to have a reason to unconnect and not have WiFi and cell service. I love the Lumberjack competitions!! I don’t know why but I have always had a fascination with the events. Enjoy the rest of your time.

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    1. Thanks Pam. I’m sure you enjoy your time at Dave and Sue’s. Their place seems perfect and similar to my sister-in-laws place. It has been nice decompressing from all the negative news and living a little more simply lately.

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  8. As much as most people love travel, it is wonderful to stay for a while and enjoy the area. Your place looked amazing, and oh, your photography, Ingrid! The bald eagle is definitely on my bucket list image list! Loved the lumberjack competition, would enjoy seeing that myself. We are enjoying our short weekends in our trailer at the delta and already looking forward to another winter roadtrip to Phoenix and Nevada!

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    1. Thank you Terri. Yes, my sis-in-laws place is rather ideal and a great place to spend the summer. I never expected to capture the loon or eagle photos. So, I am definitely a happy camper. Enjoy your weekends on the Delta.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Sounds like a pretty awesome summer to me. After 9 years continually moving around we too slowed down spending the summer back home exploring old haunts on Vancouver Island.
    Safe travels!

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    1. One of these days we’d love to make it up to Vancouver Island. At the rate we’re going, we’re lucky to make it into Ontario 😆 We’re in our 7th year of full-time!

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  10. I find it sooo interesting how many people I know that go or have gone to Hayward. We vacationed there at our grandparents cabin back in the 50’s. I went with Dens family in the 70’s with our 3 kids on Lost Land Lake, and lately at Treland’s on the Chippewa Flowwage. You are lucky to know someone to park the rig…Camping is pretty pricey up there during prime Summer and Fall season!!! Glad you spent quality family time with Charm….We are still grounded until POSSIBLY Winter…

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    1. It’s amazing how many people from northern IL and southern WI come up to Hayward. I see lots of IL license plates wherever I go. Great place to escape to and we are indeed lucky that Charm has room for us to park. We’ve loved hanging with her and Steve. Darla and her husband and our daughter fly in at the end of the month for a week. Should be a crazy and wild week!

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  11. Hi, Ingrid,
    There’s something special about exploring small towns, and it sounds like Hayward is one of those towns that I would love–especially if there is a good thrift shop, flea market, or tavern. Your eagle photos are great, but I think your image of the duck gliding over smooth water is a “10”. Not sure when you head home, but travel safely.

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    1. Thank you Joe, I think you would enjoy Hayward. Certainly plenty of taverns 😃. Mid-Sept we start our trek back to Phoenix. I’m not ready to roll just yet, but once those cold winds start rolling in those jacks will be coming up quickly!

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  12. Love living thru you & your adventures!! Can’t wait to read more. Please make a stop in Naperville?? Be safe & love the life of RV-ing!

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    1. Hi Brenda – no stop in IL this year 🤨 We have to get back to CO and deal with a storage unit issue. We may swing by IL next summer on our way back up to Hayward. After all, I have friends and family I’d love to see in IL 😊 We’ve enjoyed the summer in Hayward so much that we plan on returning next year. I’ll keep you posted!

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  13. I hear you! We, too, are enjoying all the things that living on a lake in a small town have to offer. They slow one down, give one time to just “be”. Cell and internet coverage here are quirky and sporadic also but the lake’s many faces make up for it and…..I don’t mind one bit. Soon we’ll be right back up to speed. I’m in the midst of planning our next stops and explorations and that gets frustrating sometimes. But…..I wouldn’t have it any other way!

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    1. I can totally relate, Sue. There’s a slow pace to this lifestyle and the lack of connectivity quiets the mind. I’m currently sitting in Ashland, WI. I had spent ‘hours’ planning a 7-10 day excursion which would’ve taken us into the UP but once we snagged a Lake Superior lakefront prime site, we canceled everything and parked ourselves 😆. Ah, campfires along Lake Superior, a boat cruise around the Apostle Islands, and an RV tank filled with Artesian Well water … does it get much better!

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    1. We sure got lucky this year with an amazing summer. Friday we went on a boat tour around the Apostle Islands and according to the captain, we had one of the calmest and nicest days on Lake Superior. He said the waters are only that calm about 10-12 days out of the year. It was perfect! We have had a great deal of fun.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. That video was great! Thanks for the blog and great photos, Ingrid.

    Your blog puts me in mind of this Bible verse (This is my personal quote for myself as well.❤️) “The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me”. Psalm 16:6 Blue Rock Horses Frederick County, Virginia bluerockhorses.com

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  15. Did you know that the American story of Paul Bunyan was adapted from the lumberjack story of Big Joe Montferrand who worked the hardwood forests of Western Quebec and Eastern Ontario before Canada came into being. Here is a bit of Canadiana you might enjoy. It was a regular thing on TV substituting a but of Canadian content in the almost ubiquitous American TV so every Canadian over 35 knows this one.

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    1. Loved this! Thank you so much for sharing. And although we never made it into Canada this year (I still have amethysts on my mind), I have passed along to others the info you shared with me previously. Perhaps next year we’ll get to Thunder Bay and beyond. Thanks again for your informative comments.😊

      Liked by 1 person

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