Devil’s Lake State Park

 

This is the sign you see while you’re waiting for the state’s only free ferry, the Merrimac Ferry. Don’t worry, you won’t have to wait long–it takes only about 10 minutes or so for the ferry to unload, make its way back across Lake Wisconsin (part of the Wisconsin River) and open the gates for more passengers. We were on our way to Devil’s Lake State Park, so we had our pull-behind camper with us. It was a tight fit–I mean inches–but we made it.

This time of year, Devil’s Lake State Park is gorgeous. There are very few people, lots of birds are migrating through, and the trees are just beginning to leaf out. Here’s a shot of Parfrey’s Glen, which is a nice, relatively level stroll of about .7 miles.

If you want something more challenging, try the East Bluff–you’ll have to climb, but the views are worth it. Unfortunately, the day we hiked it, I left my camera battery in the camper, where it was happily recharging as I lugged around the camera and two heavy lenses. Drat.

We also checked out the Balanced Rock trail (descending from the East Bluff), then walked around the lake and followed the Tumbled Rock trail back to our campsite on the north end of the lake. Balanced Rock is not for the faint of heart–you’ll climb roughly 1,100 feet, on a huge pile of rocks. One misstep and you’re a goner. Tumbled Rock is an interesting trail–flat, but it feels a little bit like you’re on the moon, with unusual boulders on every side.

At night, the campfires dotted the grounds and we spent the evening listening to crackling flames and taking in the view. My legs hurt from all that climbing…but it was worth it. www.wiparks.net

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