Because my husband flew to DC from Madison a few months ago, I got to tag along and visit Devil’s Lake State Park in Baraboo, Wisconsin. I’d heard of it, but because it’s so far south I’d never visited. It’s really stunning and was relatively empty this time of year. The lake was that is, not the trails. There are lots of them, but the most popular are on the southern side of the lake and that’s where I started. Of course I took the steepest trail possible – Balanced Rock Trail. Never did see the Balanced rock, but I did see The Devil’s Doorway –
The biggest attraction besides the lake are the billion-year old rock formations. Mostly they are quartzite which is a type of metamorphic rock. Originally sandstone it was heated and pressurized hundreds of millions of years ago and is now one of the more dense and hard types of rock we have. The other side of the lake has formations that are very popular with climbers.
I spent a lot of time just looking at them and thinking how outside of human time they are. It’s hard for us to imagine a few thousand years never mind all the millions of years these rocks have seen. The colors are amazing, too.
The wind really picked up while I was there and a quick burst of rain came through. Rather that fight it, I found ways to play with it and I love this shot of the immovable quartzite and the waving leaves.
I balanced myself on a steep slope with the tripod in a crazy position, but I love it and it gave me ideas I put to work just further down the trail.
There’s more than just giant rock formations in the park. There’s lush rolling forest, too. As the clouds rolled in and the wind picked, up, I took the opportunity to try some long exposure work with the dense, leafy canopy.
The undergrowth in this and other forests is truly special and something that really doesn’t exist in New England. I have been photographing it every time I find it and trying to emphasize different aspects of its distinctive beauty. These little maples carpeting the floor just knocked me out. The wind didn’t reach them much and so they appear stationary compared to their taller counterparts.
Because I wanted to cover a lot of ground in just a few hours, I didn’t do a lot of macro or close up work, but I did some – mushrooms of course!
On my way back to the top of Balanced Rock trail, I was pulled off by this lovely grassy glade of oaks, ashes and hickory. Try as I might, I don’t think I quite captured the tranquil quality of the grove; how enchanting it felt to be in it.
When coming down the trail, I met lots of people and felt a little bad for a lady going down on her butt, although not too much – she came up that way so she should have known what she was getting into!
The clouds built and built as I picked my way down and luck was with me. Literally as soon as I hit the parking lot it began to rain. I felt bad for all those folks stuck up there trying to navigate the now very slippery and dangerous trail. Then I ducked inside the car and headed for the airport to get my other half. I’ll definitely stop at Devil’s Lake again if I get the chance.