Madison, WI Day 4

July 22, 2015

We set the alarm for 7 AM to be ready to leave by 8:30. We were driving up to Devil’s Lake today for a hike and a swim. We were all meeting at David’s house in Middleton. Mary, John, and Chloe were riding with Bob and I. Suzy, David, and two of her kids, Ashley and Bennett, were riding with Sara. It was the perfect day for a hike–not too hot or humid. The drive took us through the countryside towards Lodi.

 
 
We drove through Lodi where Susie the Duck lives. She’s famous!

 
 
The caravan of two vehicles would be taking the Merrimac Ferry across Lake Wisconsin.

 
 
The ferry was just pulling out when we got there. 

 
 
We got out of our cars and only had to wait 5 or 10 minutes for the ferry to return. While we waited, we looked at all the mayflies that had attached themselves to the lightpole and nearby trees. They were everywhere.

 
 
 
 
When the ferry returned to our side, we drove our two vehicles onboard and took the 5 minute ride across Lake Wisconsin.

 
 
We drove off of the ferry and took the scenic drive to Devil’s Lake State Park. We could see the rocky bluffs as we turned onto the park road.

 
 
A canopy of trees arched over the road. It was so lush and green.

 
 
Devil’s Lake has always been one of my favorite places. We went into the south entrance which took us past the lake.

 
 
There were quite a few fisherman out on the banks or floating on the lake today.

 
 
The campgrounds on the south side are no longer there. It has all been converted into picnic grounds now. Driving past the lake, we went into the parking lot on the west side. After a little bit of bug spray, we were ready to go. We crossed the road to where the path began and started our hike at the southwest corner of the lake. It was an immediate uphill climb.

 
 
We were quite winded by the time we got about halfway up the cliff to a vantage point where we could view the lake.

 
 
A little further along and I could get a good view of the beach.

 
 
It continued to be a steep uphill climb until we reached the top of the bluff. There we took a rest on the rocks and took in the view.

 
 
We saw a turkey vulture soaring in the air currents above us. The lake looked like glass with not a breeze in the air.

 
 
After we were sufficiently rested, we began our descent. We had to pick and choose our way down the cliff on the rock stairway so as not to trip and fall.

 
 
The walk down was less strenuous and we didn’t get as winded. Our hike brought us out at the beach area where we took a bathroom break and rested. From there, the kids led us on the path along the lake and the rocks.

 
 
The destination and ultimate goal today was to go to “jumping rock” so the kids could jump off the rocks into the lake. The rocks are a favorite climbing area.

 
 
Once we got to “the spot”, the kids stripped off their clothes and climbed down the rocks to the edge of the water. The adults found a rock to sit on and were perched ready to watch the kids do their thing. John took the higher ground to get some pictures.

 
 
Canoers came by while we waited for the kids to climb out to the “jumping rock”.

 
 
Ashley and Bennett were the first to brave the water. They said it wasn’t cold at all.

 
 
 
 
It took Chloe a little while to work up the courage. Aunt Sara joined them on the rock and she and Chloe jumped off together.

 
 
 
 
Then all bets were off and the kids and Sara continued to jump off multiple times and had the rock all to themselves… for awhile.

 
 
 
 
A train’s whistle reverberated through the valley and into the glacier kettle in which Devil’s Lake lies. It was an awesome sounding echo.

 
 
We enjoyed watching the jumping and splashing for about 30 minutes and then when other kids showed up it was time to move on. We continued our walk on the path along the lake back to the parking lot. 

 
 
We jumped in the cars and drove back to the picnic area where we made sandwiches and enjoyed our lunch.

 
 
We made our drive back over the Wisconsin River and through Sauk City to Culvers for an custard treat. We must be in Wisconsin if we can see a combine driving down the highway.

 
 
We met back at David’s house to drop everyone off and say our goodbyes. Tomorrow we would be leaving for Milwaukee and Friday Suzanne and the three kids would be driving back to Denver. We took one last picture of the 6 siblings who spent the day together.

 
 
It was a wonderful day and I think everyone had a great time spending the day together at Devil’s Lake. We will miss everyone. On our drive back, we stopped at Mike’s house, a friend of Bob’s, to pick up something he had for Bob. From there, we made a quick stop at Children’s Hospital to get ourselves a new bike helmet for $10 each and then fill up the truck with gas.

 
 
We drove through Madison past the University Fieldhouse and the pinnacle dedicated to Barry Alvarez, the football coach and athletic director. Believe it or not, that pinnacle is made to look like many footballs. It is often the butt of jokes as it looks like something else. Can you guess?

 
 
Once we got back to the campground around 3:00, we cleaned up, grabbed Auggie, and headed off to our friends’ house for dinner. We enjoyed our visit with them and had a great dinner. We will miss them too, but hope that they make a visit to our place in Florida one of these days. Hint! Hint! We headed back to the campground and this is what we found waiting for us on our doorstep.

 
 
It was a baby robin. I gently picked it up to move it to safety and it started squawking. Soon mama robin came dive-bombing towards us. I quickly placed it near a tree and let it go. Mama robin took over and helped her baby to safety. It had a happy ending. Bob, Auggie, and I took our evening walk to Lake Waubesa where we could see the sunset. It was a beauty. 

 
 
We called it a night at 10 PM so we could get an early start in the morning to Milwaukee. We have really enjoyed our week with the Shaws. It was great spending time together!

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