An all night rain changed my hiking plans, so I got a late start on hiking 7 miles in the Black Hawk Unit of the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway. There are a lot of nice scenic overlooks into the Wisconsin River Valley and on to the hills of Baraboo. The trails are a bit rugged with some moderately steep stretches and you could come here several times and plot a different route each time. Today was not a good day for it. Mud was deep, mosquitoes ferocious, and the previous night’s storm had dropped a few trees across the trail. I ducked under one precariously balanced against the trees across the trail wondering if I could be so unlucky as to be passing under it when it finally gave way. Would I still have signal for my phone? Might I text some friends who knew where I was and hope the GPS worked? A bit farther down the trail, a tree — well, ok, a very large branch — fell in the forest and it did in fact make a sound. And I heard it. But then again, I was there, so it wasn’t exactly a controlled experiment. Schrodinger’s Tree, I guess.
Viewpoints on the trail are better in spring or fall because the foliage gets pretty thick. Still, I saw deer, a lot of birds, some nice prairie in the midst of thick woods, and a few overlooks that still overlook through the branches of interfering trees. The area has some historical significance as well, hinted at in its name. Sauk warrior Black Hawk, pursued by US troops, chose this area known as Wisconsin Heights to make a stand, the only face to face stand of the so-called Black Hawk War which wasn’t much more than a hunt. On July 21, 1832, a band of Sauk, Fox, Kickapoo and Ho-Chunk led by Black Hawk stalled the pursuing military long enough so that the elderly, women and children were able to escape across the Wisconsin River. A short-lived victory as the troops caught up to them at the Mississippi shooting them all or watching them drown. A gloomy story on a gloomy day and this year is the 175 year anniversary.
This will make a nice LONG option for the 60 Hikes Madison book I am working on, GPS-ing in at just under 10 miles! I was the only person in the 800-acre park (with a car in the lot anyway). I emerged tired and muddy and since I was in the neighborhood, I stopped in at The Tree Farm to pick my own produce for the week. Great prices, great fun, great food!
Monday I will be in Wisconsin Public Radio with Jean Feraca on Here on Earth, then Tuesday it is off to Austin, Texas, Live Music Capital of the World!