On Wisconsin Islands, a Warm Welcome and Brisk Waters

So Plan B gave way to Plan C. We retreated to a protected bog, a narrow path of water that wound endlessly through clumps of tall grass and bushes that smelled like sage. The mirror-calm water reflected the sky, with no waves in sight.

When you visit the Apostle Islands, it pays to keep your plans loose. Lake Superior is 31,000 square miles and kicks up both summer floods and winter blizzards strong enough to take down ships. Perhaps in response, the people in the area have become as warm and accommodating as the lake is cold and unforgiving.

Doug and Sherri Hamby, a couple from Rochelle, Ill., have visited the Apostles 15 times in the past five years. As they travel across the region with their hand-built hardwood and fiberglass kayaks, they find that the people who live in this part of Wisconsin are unusually kind, Ms. Hamby said.

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