IT’S THAT TIME of year. Not only has COVID-19 changed everyone’s lifestyle for a year, but winter as usual has done its thing in keeping people held a lot tighter to hearth and home than they would like. My lovely wife and I have been no exception to the rule.

So what do you do to cure a case of cabin fever? As Boone and Otter put it so succinctly after Dean Wormer revoked their Delta fraternity charter in “Animal House,” you do, what else, go on a road trip.

My lovely wife and I, tired of being mainly cooped up throughout the winter, employed the same technique last Saturday. Under a sky of blue with bright sunshine beaming down, we loaded up the dogs and headed north to our favorite place.

It was a hard choice, choosing between the Porcupine Mountains, Black River Harbor and Saxon Harbor, all of which butt up to our treasured Lake Superior, but we opted for Saxon as a starting point.

Rolling down the steep, long hill to the harbor, Lake Superior greeted us with its usual deep blue countenance. A brisk breeze brought waves of maybe a foot and a half to 2 feet rolling up against the rock-studded shoreline.

A number of folks were on the breakwater with fishing lines in the water. Several boats were bobbing on Gitche Gumee, lines from multiple rod holders trailing behind.

While my wife was content to watch the spectacular beauty that Lake Superior is while sitting with Molly on a park bench, rambunctious Gordie and I scrambled over the remains of debris still left from the disastrous washout of several years ago to reach the water’s edge.

Normally, he would have plunged in, but I think the waves and small maelstrom wrought by the rushing waters of a small creek spilling against the waves hitting shore spooked him. Like me, he chose to stay a few feet away from the water.

Though not exactly rollers, the waves were enough that my best efforts with tabletop-flat stones could produce no more than two skips before being swallowed up by the surge.

After sitting around in one’s house for much of a winter season, sitting on a log and bench looking out at the lake did wonders for our spirits. In that regard, Lake Superior never fails to lift us up to a higher plane while we marvel at its awesome strength and beauty.

Our next stop just down the road was Silver Falls. I had planned to walk down the long and steep hill to get to what is a beautiful waterfall, but looking at a trail that was part slushy mud, part frozen-ice slippery mud, I decided to leave the falls for another day.

The drive along Michigan 505 to Little Girl’s Point from Silver Falls to the park runs along a beautiful stretch of Lake Superior shoreline. We looked with more than a little envy at the many homes and cottages perched high above the lake whose panoramic views reach a far-out part of the big lake.

At Little Girl’s Point the wayside parking lot was full. My guess is that there were a lot of folks other than us who were curing cabin fever with a walk along the shore of Lake Superior. Walking in the campground or along the beach left one feeling good about having this national treasure of a lake close enough to home to visit almost any time we like.

We rolled on down to Ironwood, Mich., veering west to Wakefield, Mich., where I planned to head south on Cheney Lake Road back to Winchester and Vilas County. At the last minute, my plan changed, mostly at the urging of my lovely wife.

Across Highway 28 we drove to Bruce Crossing. There we turned south, making one more detour east at Paulding, Mich., to see if we could walk to the base of Bond Falls.

There was still fairly deep snow in the woods there, but a heavily tramped trail led down to the falls. We could see a lot of ice on the trail as well, so my wife and the dogs waited in the car while I tried the descent.

All went fairly well until I reached the concrete stairway at the upper lip of the falls. That was covered with glare ice that was probably a foot thick. No problem. As other people had, I veered away from the falls, and gingerly slipped and slid down a snowy path to the bottom.

You know, no matter how many times I visit Bond Falls, and no matter the water volume flowing over the rock face at any given time — and it was roaring bank full this time — I never get tired of watching and listening to the thundering fall of water.

It was a lot tougher hike getting back up the hill, but it had been worth it. My thirst for a waterfall had been quenched. From Bond Falls it was a pleasant drive home, with just one more stop to take a mile and a half walk on a seldom-used side road near Star Lake with a pair of dogs that had been cooped up in a car much too long for their liking.

Back home, legs a little weary, we reflected on the simple joys a day in north Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan can produce.

It had been a good day, a very good day.