Almost everyone from Wisconsin has been "Up North" before. I basically grew up there. I'm not just talking about any "up north," though. I don't mean Antigo, Black River Falls, or Wausau. I mean way north: Tomahawk, Minocqua, Eagle River, and all the little towns that make up the Northwoods. Anyone who has been here knows its a special place. Spending a week or weekend "up north" in the summer is the best vacation anyone can ask for. Here are some signs that you have definitely vacationed "up north" in Wisconsin.
1. You know (and love) the disconnected life.
Most of the little towns up north don't have great service, if any at all. Chances of WiFi are very low. Going without your phone or tablet for a few days is actually refreshing, and you've learned to enjoy it.
2. You love the outdoors.
You wouldn't enjoy being up north if you didn't. There isn't much to do inside and if you don't have air conditioning, it isn't even an option to stay in. Hiking, swimming, boating, fishing; you love it all.
3. You stayed on a lake.
In northern Wisconsin, you don't have a choice - just look at the map! Every few miles you drive lies another lake. Some of them are so small, you wonder how it even counts as a lake, but its a lake nonetheless. It would be terribly boring to stay anywhere without water.
4. You know where Minocqua is.
Minocqua, Wisconsin is the town up north. They have the grocery stores, the zoo, the good restaurants, and the phone service. If you don't actually stay in Minocqua, you want to take a day out of your vacation to visit.
5. You can rough it.
If you are camping, you already know this. If you are renting a cabin or even own one, you understand it on a different level. Going without shoes, air conditioning, and living with the constant scent of "outdoors" isn't for everyone. But you love it.
6. You know how to fish.
And you find it very strange if someone doesn't. Even if you aren't a master fisherman, you can still cast out a line and take off your own fish. It's the northern pastime.
7. You can sleep despite any nature sound.
Loons, bullfrogs, owls, crickets; you can sleep through it all. People wonder how you can sleep with all that "noise" outside. The funny part is, you actually find it peaceful.
8. You know how fun car rides can be.
Those few hours in the car with family or friends seems to fly by. You have some great conversation, maybe jam out to some great tunes, and before you know it, you're there.
9. You know what the "T Bird Country" bridge is.
This is the gateway to the northwoods. Found above Highway 51 in Hazelhurst, it always makes you feel like you are "almost there." You can probably picture it in your head now.
10. You know how important it is to have real ice cream.
I mean real ice cream. Not custard, frozen yogurt, or soft serve. Real, scoop-able, ice cream. You travel sometimes 30 minutes to go to your favorite ice cream place. Something about it is special.
11. You understand the pain of sunburn.
For some reason, you always seem to get burned most when your by the lake. Maybe you forgot to put on sunscreen, or forgot to reapply. Bottom line is, you know the pain and learned your lesson the hard way.
12. Ticks aren't a big deal.
But they still gross you out. When you are walking (or even living in) the woods all day, you are bound to pick up a few ticks. You take them off and are paranoid for the rest of the night, but its something you are used to.
13. You have had some great talks cooking dinner around the fire.
Cooking hotdogs and brats around the fire is always a treat. Hanging out with family and friends and having memorable nights always makes for a great time.
14. You have been to or heard of a water ski show.
You've probably tried water skiing, but you are still amazed by the shows. Some of the smaller lakes even put on shows, which are so cool to watch. If you've been to Minocqua, you definitely won't want to miss a Min-Aqua Bats show.
15. You know the beauty of an "up north" sunset.
There are no words to describe how beautiful it is. If you're lucky, you have watched the sunset from the lake. Either way, you know how beautiful "Up North" really is.