Heavenly Devil’s Lake

A three night stay gives you time to decompress, to explore the surrounding area, and to avoid highway hell. It would seem that Devil’s Lake would be an odd choice for escaping Hades, but I assure you, it is not. This State Park, near Baraboo, Wisconsin is expansive, picturesque, unblemished, peaceful, AND it has ice cream!

Wisconsin Dells, the waterparks capital of the world, was just a few miles from our campsite. I love a good water slide as much as anyone, but because we were traveling with a puppy, it would have been an impractical choice for an activity. We opted, instead for a ride down the Wisconsin River, to check out the lower Dells. It was raining, but we had rain gear. Gypsy has a semi-waterproof coat and we have learned to almost welcome the smell of wet dog. Puppy Love will make you tolerant in ways you would never expect.

We found a perfectly pet-friendly boat. By the time we left the dock, the rain had begun to subside. The sun began to flirt with the clouds and soon the mist gave way to the rays of light.

The Greatest Show on Earth

In 1875, the Ringling Family settled in Baraboo, Wisconsin. In 1884, five of the seven Ringling Brothers began a traveling circus, which later merged with the Barnum and Bailey Circus, to become The Greatest Show on Earth.

The Circus World Museum, in Baraboo encompasses several blocks, and is a tribute to the era of the traveling circus.

After a day of being “Griswold” vacationers, and visiting the top tourist attractions, we needed to get back on our feet. It was time to explore the bluffs and to hike around the lake. If you have been following along, you know that I am still nursing a badly sprained ankle back to health. This was going to be a true test, as the trail included lots of rock and several elevation changes. I tightly laced up my hiking boots, grabbed my hiking poles and moved onward. It was slow going, as I was uber-aware of every footfall. I did take one, minor tumble when my boot became wedged under a crag. I sat for a moment, realized that there was no snap, crackle or pop of the already strained ligament, and thankfully, stood up without pain. I passed the test. I did not get an A+ but I was happy to get a passing grade.

Oddly, once upon a time, there was an effort to pave this entire trail with asphalt. It was an ill-conceived idea. Time and weather have eroded much of it, and tree roots have buckled it, making the footwork rather tricky. I’m not sure if this was the brainchild of the CCC. It probably seemed like a good idea at the time, but now it is a bit of an eyesore.

“Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow? And did you know
Your stairway lies on the whispering wind?” – Robert Plant

This particular stairway to heaven had 300 rock-steps. The pattern of boulder-strewn staircases is repeated regularly throughout the hike. The ascents are actually much easier than the descents. Yes, it is a benefit if your cardiovascular health is good, but the climb was not too strenuous and well worth the minor struggle.

The topography of this gorgeous place is a gift of the ice age. Glaciers moved across this area, building mountains, carving valleys, and creating lakes.

Imagine. A stop without that pesky fly in the ointment…

He’s bound to reappear. Stay tuned…

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