Okee to Devil’s Lake to Baraboo

7/28 – we got an early start this morning, knowing we would have to walk three miles back to the Merrimac Ferry. We don’t usually have much luck getting rides early in the morning when folks are on their way to work. As we left the motel, Jim stuck out a thumb, and the first car that came by pulled over! It was a Native American nurse on her way to work at the Ho-Chunk Nation community center, where she runs a health clinic and cares for the elders. We learned so much about this tribe and her love of her job and her people on the short ride to the ferry. A beautiful soul!

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We walked in to Devil’s Lake State Park on the Ice Age Trail, through a wild-flower filled meadow, with the hills looming before us. In an hour, we were in the woods, taking switchbacks that kept going UP.

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This is the highest elevation we will see on our Wisconsin trip. As we looked down over the rocks, I was filled with peace, which was quickly shattered when Jim showed me that the trail down to the lake was a quarter mile of rugged rock steps (with no bannister!) that we would have to scrabble down. Although I don’t like climbing UP, I am terrified of falling DOWN. With a 25 pound pack on my back to upset my center of gravity, this was a horrible hour for me. I was too scared to stop and take a picture, so you’ll have to imagine it, but, needless to say, I lived to tell the tale! Here’s the bottom, which doesn’t look scary at all:image

So now we are at the lake, looking at kids swimming and boarding and boating in really cold water. We ate our picnic lunch, and watched a group of priests, all dressed alike, play frisbee.image

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Now we have to climb the hills on the other side of the lake to get to Baraboo. This is a steeper climb than this morning, and every ten feet or so, there’re is a number painted on the trail. We have a long time to climb and ponder what these number might mean, until we reach the summit and all is revealed: here is an emergency call box that can be used to summon help if someone has a heart attack or falls off the cliff, and the numbers are locators for the EMTs. There’s even a stretcher:image
Don’t fall off the cliff, Jim!
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We descended without further incident, and started our walk into Baraboo. I know you will not be surprised to learn that Derek was happy to stop and give us a ride to our motel. Nice People Rule!image

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