Last week, DH had brought up the idea of going for a hike this past weekend, and since we’d not been out hiking yet this year, I responded with an enthusiastic, “Yes!” DH wanted to hike a location we’ve not been to before, Parfrey’s Glen State Natural Area, which had been devastated by massive flooding in 2008 and then got hit again in 2009. New trails and water crossings (not all of them) were put in and work completed last year.
Sunday mornings arrival found me making breakfast and setting in place a plan for the morning. There was heavy fog surrounding our house and in the hopes of catching some of that fog still in the glen, we left, making a stop at Devil’s Lake State Park for our yearly park pass. Pass on the windshield, we drove to Parfrey’s Glen (on the east end of the park) and discovered we were the first hikers of the morning (at least no one else was around when we got there).
I grabbed my camera, DH his, and then we were off. There was a damp chill to the air, though the fog had burned off, but we were prepared with layers. We had a pleasant walk, observing the areas that were devastated by the flooding, seeing where the old trails has been in relation to the new trails. The creek had rerouted itself in the flooding, but there were fish in the deeper spots. The spring ephemera were in bloom and we were getting a lot of photos. A couple passed us by on their way to the water fall, and soon enough we found ourselves at the mouth of the gorge. We just had to pause and take it in, in spite of the destruction, the area is quite pretty.
We made our way into the gorge, up and over rocks, boulders, some trail and part of the old, stone walkway. The air was so damp and chill that every time I put my camera to my eye to take a picture, my glasses steamed up. Note to self: wear the contacts when hiking and taking pictures. We spotted more people on the trail behind us, but made our way to the large pool at the back of the gorge where the hikers who had passed us were making their way out. The hiker behind us stopped to chat a bit, telling us how the area looked before the flooding and then mentioned that there is a bit of a trail on the far side of the pond, but it was straight uphill and we’d have to get across the pond to get to the trail.
No problem! A log was lying over the pond’s outlet and was a good ten inches across. I steeled myself for a slide into the water, then talked myself into NOT falling in, crossing the log and scrambling up the rocks to the trail. DH crossed uneventfully as well, and we found ourselves on a steep and slippery climb to the top of the knoll. We walked around for a while, not getting too close to the edge as the footing wasn’t stable and neither of us cared to go sliding down into the gorge to be dashed onto the boulders below. We were told that there was a trail on top of the knoll that we could take all the way back to the parking lot, but it wasn’t discernible amongst the grass, leaf and pine litter. DH and I decided to head back down the trail we came up and head back out through the gorge.
And well… that’s where things didn’t go so well. I got to the bottom of the trail, scrambled down over the rock ledge and planted my feet on the log to cross the pond. I looked across, eyeing the prize (that being the far side of the pond) and then started walking. For the life of me… I don’t know WHY I kept looking down at my feet, but I did. And that’s why I ended up in the pond. (Don’t worry Jeff… the camera and lens are fine) There was a family watching, along with three younger adults, and when my right foot slipped into the pond, water almost up to my knee, there was a collective “Ohhh!” At least they didn’t applaud. I had to laugh as I quickly scrambled to the other side, my voice a little higher because the water was cold and as I announced, “All claims of waterproof boots are negated when the water goes OVER the top of the boot.” That was followed with “Weeee… that’s a wee bit chilly as it’s making its way down my foot to my toes….”
That wasn’t the last time either. My now wet feet weren’t helping on slippery rocks and my right foot ended up in the water again partway through the gorge. DH laughed and I quickly responded, “I TOTALLY meant to do that!” My friend Jeff would say, “Pictures or it didn’t happen.” Well, Jeff…. there are no pictures – so maybe I really didn’t end up in the water… twice!
DH and I headed to lunch at Little Village Cafe in downtown Baraboo (DELICIOUS!) and then I dragged him, kicking and screaming, to Pewitt’s Nest State Natural Area where I had a photo shoot last year. The water was a bit too chilly to play in it, though there were a lot of people doing just that very thing. We walked the trails and then headed over to Ferry Bluff State Natural Area. The bald eagles are still nesting so the trails were officially off-limits though there were a lot of vehicles there, and I imagine most of those people were up on the bluff trails. We observed the rules and watched a couple fisherman for a while before getting back in the car and driving home. There will be return visits to both Pewitt’s Nest and Ferry Bluff when it’s warmer.
Until then, enjoy the photos!