Episode 23: Hiking and the red cliff Pow Wow


Hiking is one of the most popular activities in Bayfield County. Mary Motiff, Director of Bayfield County Tourism talks about why hiking is so popular here and tells us about their new brochure to help plan your hiking adventures. Plus, our guests Marvin Defoe and Richard LeFernier give us a preview of what to expect at the 41st Annual Red Cliff Pow Wow featuring the Grammy-nominated Young Spirit Singers.

Hitting the Trails

According to Mary, it’s the abundance of public land and the sheer number of trails that traverse all types of geography that make hiking so special in Bayfield County. You can find a waterfall just a few hundred yards from the road or hike more than 20 miles across the county on the North Country Trail. You might find wetlands, islands, overlooks and ravines that provide beautiful vistas. There are “out-and-back” hikes, loop hikes and connected trail hails that let you control how much distance you want to cover. Wherever you are in the county, there are hiking choices nearby!

Mary and her staff have just updated their hiking brochure which includes all 39 trails on a map showing where the trailheads are. The information has been developed over the years and is fairly comprehensive. Each trail features a description, its level of difficulty, if parking fees are required and contact information for the land manager for each trail. You can find a printable version on the Travelbayfieldcounty.com website or you can order one to be mailed to you. There is also an interactive map on the website where you can see aerial imagery that allows you to zoom in to see all of the non-motorized trails.

41st Annual Red Cliff Traditional Pow Wow

Pow Wows bring people together socialize, dance, sing and celebrate tribal heritage. The Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has hosted the Red Cliff Traditional Pow Wow for 4 decades and will hold its 41st Pow Wow July 5th through July 7th.  Red Cliff Historic Preservation Officer Marvin DeFoe and Richard LeFernier tell us the Pow Wow was started by a family and grew from there. But even before the Pow Wow, Red Cliff and other tribes used music, song and dance to express their culture and way of life.

There are special dances that go back to the early days of the Pow Wow. The Fish Dance is a special dance where men tell the story of gathering fish and a good harvest. The Feather Dance is a fun dance where some of the dancers drop a feather to the ground and try to pick it up with their mouth. And in the Swan Dance, the women imitate a flock of swans. These special dances all tell a story and are introduced to the crowd by an emcee.

In addition, there is a Potato Dance for the public. Those participating hold a potato between their foreheads with a dancer. When the singing starts, the participants have to dance and try to not let the potato fall down.

Marvin says the center of the Pow Wow is the drum, which in the language of the Anishinaabe is the heartbeat that you hear when the drums sing. The younger tribal members are highlighted in a hand drum contest. There are some other contests just focused on having fun.

Every Pow Wow starts with a Grand Entry. The Feathers are honored first, followed by the veterans, flags and head dancers who have been invited to come and dance. Other tribes who attend bring their royalty, who are honored next. Each category of dancers and singers follow after that.

There are five food vendors at the Red Cliff Pow Wow and Richard and his family have one of them. They serve traditional food like Fry Bread and wild rice soup. There are also craft vendors from the local area and from across the nation.

According to both men, the Pow Wow is also about giving. They give gifts to their invited dancers and singers to help with travel expenses and include them in a feast on Saturday evening.

The Pow Wow is open to everyone – just purchase a button for $7 when you arrive and that allows you to come and go as you please during the 3-day event. Golf cart shuttles are available to and from the parking lots if needed. For more information, visit the Red Cliff website at http://redcliff-nsn.gov/Tourism/powwow.htm.


July Activities 

July 1 – 7:                  Glass Blowing Demonstrations and Classes at the Oulu Glass Gallery

July 1-31:                   “Earth Speaks” Gallery Show at Artists Squared Studios & Galley in Washburn

July 1 – 5:                  Bayfield Race Week on Lake Superior

July 2:                        Bela Fleck & The Flecktones at Big Top Chautauqua

July 3-7:                     4th of July Celebrations of Fireworks & Festivities

July 5 – 7:                  41st Annual Red Cliff Traditional Pow Wow

July 5:                        “Riding the Wind” Historical Musical at Big Top Chautauqua

July 6:                        Vatten Paddlar Canoe, Kayak & SUP Race, Eau Claire Chain of Lakes in Barnes, WI

July 6:                        Maxi Priest w/ Quito Rymer & The Edge at Big Top Chautauqua

July 9:                        Annual Cornucopia Fish Fry & Pie Social

July 9:                        Rodrigo y Gabriella at Big Top Chautauqua

July 11:                      Judy Collins at Big Top Chautauqua

July 12:                      Whose Live Anyway at Big Top Chautauqua

July 13:                      The Jayhawks at Big Top Chautauqua

July 14:                      I’m With Her at Big Top Chautauqua

July 15 - 17:              Memorial Medical Hospital Sponsors Kids Bluegrass Camp at Big Top Chautauqua

July 18:                      Roseanne Cash at Big Top Chautauqua

July 19:                      MS Golf Benefit at Lakewoods Resort

July 19:                      Back to the Garden: The Music of Woodstock at Big Top Chautauqua

July 20 – 21:             Bayfield Festival of the Arts & Gallery Tour in Memorial Park

July 20:                      Raku Demonstration at Eckels Pottery & Fine Craft Gallery

July 20:                      Lyle Lovett at Big Top Chautauqua

July 21:                      The Righteous Brothers at Big Top Chautauqua

July 25-28:                Iron River Lions’ Blueberry Festival

July 25:                      American Stories House Show at Big Top Chautauqua

July 26 – 27:             Board Across the Bay in Washburn

July 26 – 28:             Washburn Brownstone Block Party         

July 26:                      Greg Brown at Big Top Chautauqua

July 27:                      Titambe West African Dance Ensemble FREE SHOW at Big Top Chautauqua

July 27:                      Cable Natural History Museum Summer Benefit

July 28:                      Back to the Garden: The Music of Woodstock at Big Top Chautauqua

Aug. 1 – 4:                 Port Wing Plein Air Festival


Ongoing Activities in July

Farmers Markets:                 Wednesdays in Washburn

                                                Saturdays in Port Wing, Bayfield and Cable

Outdoor Concert Series:     Tuesdays at Memorial Park in Bayfield

                                                Thursdays at the Cornucopia Sweet & Coffee Shop

                                                Sundays at the Rookery Pub in Cable                

View the full schedule of events on our website and Facebook page. 

July Preview

We’ll talk about all the different kinds of berries you can find locally and the Bayfield County Fair (it’s the 125th Anniversary!).

Affiliate Notes

Lodging Highlights:

Looking for a place to stay? Bayfield County has nearly a hundred and fifty lodging locations! There are lots of locally-owned hotels and motels throughout the county – many of which are within walking distance to downtown shops, restaurants, museums and other attractions. Or consider staying at a lakeside resort. Many of our resorts feature lake view cabin or condo rentals, and include amenities such as restaurants, boat rentals, and use of sports gear like kayaks or paddle boards.

Adventure Lodging is a category unique to Bayfield County and is a great way to connect with nature by staying in a yurt or treehouse. These one-of-a-kind experiences are a perfect way to make your getaway a true adventure. You can also stay in one of 32 campgrounds ranging from rustic to fully developed.

Only one of our hotels is part of a national chain so it’s easy to overlook the fact that all of these other options are out there!

All of this can be found on the Interactive Map at travelbayfieldcounty.com. The map lists Lodging information along with Dining and Attractions by category and has photos, descriptions and contact details. Planning your Bayfield County visit has never been easier!

Top o’ the Morn Resort & Campground

Nestled on nearly 1,000 feet of pristine lake frontage, Top O’ the Morn Resort & Campground is located on the beautiful and peaceful Iron Lake in Iron River, WI. Here you’ll find unlimited opportunities for the whole family, while enjoying clean, modern cabins in a picturesque setting. The lakeside lodge on site serves snacks and beverages along with convenience items like bait and ice.