Sun. Aug. 21, 2016:
I woke up just before the alarm clock, it was still so early, but we had an 8:30am ferry to catch to Stockton Island. Breakfast at the hotel was amazing. We started with warm croissants and a blueberry, granola yogurt parfait. For my main I had the French toast with Wisconsin maple syrup (apparently that is a thing?) and fresh strawberries. It was a good breakfast to start out a day of hiking. Especially given we did not know how long we would be there for, they do not list when the ferry returns. We packed Gatorade, soda and Pop-Tarts for our day trip.
I was honestly expecting a 20 minute boat ride, not an hour long one. Stockton Island had seemed so close. It was worth it, we got to see another bald eagle sitting in a tree. We found out that the return ferry would be boarding at 12:15pm. That would give us about 3 hours on the island. At first this did not seem like a lot of time, we had so many trails we wanted to hike! Once we got there we found out that two of the trails we had wanted to see were closed due to damage from a storm in July. It was all well and good, we would not have had time to do them anyways because they were longer than we had expected. Instead we went on the two shorter trails, taking us along the edge of the island and to the beach. On the island we were met by an adorkable park ranger, he offered to take us on a nature walk but we had to pass. It would have been too awkward to handle. We got to see the rocky shore being splashed by huge waves. We found some wild blueberries that according to Brent were bitter and full of seeds, warranting spitting them out. We walked to the beach where the problem bear had wandered. On the cruise the previous day the captain said that the bear had been shipped to a zoo. He had lied, the bear had been shot and his taxidermied self was now on display in the information centre on the island. As we walked we could see the damage from the storm, there were a lot of uprooted trees. In total we saw two garter snakes, some moths and some birds. We did not see any bears, the closest we came to seeing one was bear poop. We walked by the camp sites and stopped at look-out points.
There was a kid in a group near us on the trail and we kept running into him and his group throughout our trip. Emerson as I will call him, was hilarious. He even had a catch phrase: oh my word! Once we got off the boat his parents were telling him about the plans for the rest of the day, they were going to drive somewhere. Emerson was not having it, what about my nap?, he asked, sounding irate. He was not pleased with the response that he could sleep in the car. This kid was my soulmate.
Three hours was a long time to spend walking around. I was so tired by the time we got back on the boat. We sat downstairs to avoid the high noon sun. Pretty soon I was stretched out on the bench and fast asleep. I awoke to find the captain steering the boat with one foot.
For lunch we drove to Culver’s, a Midwestern fast food place. It was tough to find and I had to use the GPS and Brent’s phone but eventually we got there. The “butter burger” was a greasy buttery burger patty, but I was surprised at how thin it was, I kind of had expected more. It was delicious though. We were in Wisconsin, I had to get the fried cheese curds. On the way out I got a frozen custard concrete, made with Wisconsin dairy of course. I had ordered a small, but of course that size did not exist. What I meant was a mini, instead I got the largest size, a regular. I had gotten the chocolate flavour with peanuts, marshmallow cream and Heath bar. It was heavenly, but no match for the heat. My dessert was melting and fast. By the time we got to the hotel my stomach had started hurting. I had risked it getting the cheese curds but it was still worth it. I distracted myself with Pokemon GO. Our hotel was a Pokestop so I set a lure and spent my time catching Pokemon.
By the whirlpool tub there was a package of complimentary bath salts, I had to have a bath! Plus on the walk back from the harbour we had stopped in at the grocery store and grabbed Wisconsin’s second and third highest rated beers, which both happened to be fruit beers. The New Glarus Raspberry tart (#3 on the list) was incredible and easily one of the best fruit beers I have ever had. I poured a full glass and filled the tub- the tub that was not in the bathroom, but in the bedroom tucked into a corner. I thought nothing of it. That is until I was going to climb in with my book and my glass of beer. It felt weird and I bailed. I couldn’t get the jets to work anyways so either way I would have bailed, just not as soon. I was so tired, I tried to read my book on the couch but instead I ended up falling asleep, nap number two of the day.
We had dinner at the hotel, we split the smoked trout and cheese plate. The best part was the smoked trout. All the cheese plate did was further solidify my growing dislike of cheese plates. There is too much variance and chance of getting bad cheese. I was tricked into eating the goat cheese. I was still too full from lunch to order a main, so instead I ordered the seafood chowder. It was amazing, it had fish from Lake Superior. I briefly considered ordering another bowl but I was so full once I finished it I couldn’t even think about dessert. Brent had ordered the trout sandwich. It came with a side of fries and they were honestly the worst fries I have ever eaten in my life. I did not know that fries could be made that bad! “It was like eating potato slices,” to quote Brent.
With the bill came a postcard that we got to fill out that would be mailed on our behalf. They had done the same thing at breakfast but I had taken it instead as a souvenir. This time I wrote it out to my dad- even though it would arrive after my return.
Back in the room my stomach was hurting again and I started Googling if cheese intolerance is a thing. Then again, I had eaten an incredible amount of cheese over the course of the day, many times more than what I would normally eat. I strongly considered taking a third nap. Instead I thought fresh air might make me feel better- with a side of Pepto-Bismol.
We went for a walk down to the harbour to see the lake. The sun had set and most of the town had cleared out. We saw a bat swooping around catching bugs, it was so cute. We walked along the lake in a small park and out to a fishing dock where we saw the last remnants of the sunset. We tried to walk back through the marina but it dead-ended and we had to turn around. It resulted in me getting to see some adorable dogs, so no complaints here. On the way back we did not see our bat friend, I joked that he was somewhere lying in a food coma.
I felt much better after the walk and the fresh air. We cracked open the second highest rated beer in Wisconsin, also from New Glarus. The Serendipity was labelled as a sour beer with some fruit to it. I was expecting sour ala Cantillon. This was barely sour, it had a strong bold fruit flavour and was thick. It was almost syrup-y actually. It was nowhere near as good as the raspberry one and quite frankly had been mislabelled, it should not have the word sour anywhere on the label. And while I am at it complaining: why did they coat the top of the bottle and the bottle cap in wax? It was annoying to open and then to clean the cap so I could save it. It was nice to sip beer and read my book in bed.