Saturday, June 7, 2014

Proving Ground

Where does the time go? Work has been a source of extreme stress for the past 7 months, and during that same period I have written the second installment in the Legends of the Aurora series. (More on that in the coming days) But my blog has been static. Well, the pressure is finally starting to wane at the office, and I am in the final stages of editing the book. Don't get me wrong. I have managed to seek in an adventure this spring, and it's time to share it with my readers.

Devils Lake State Park is a short distance from my home. Very near the natural arch I shared last year, Devils Lake is a geologic artifact of the same forces that make this part of Wisconsin unique. I could go on for days about that incredible slice of the earth, but I think it's time to share some photos. 

Camping with my husband and the two dogs, Winston and Tasha, we decided to hike the loop that takes the hiker both high above the lake, and along the boulder strewn shore. We decided to go up first. The mid-May morning was cooler than what promised to be a 78 degree day.

The trail was West Bluff, and it's not for the casual hiker. The bluffs tower over the deep lake, and although the trail is paved with asphalt for some strange reason, it's also full of steep, seemingly endless steps. But the view is incredible.
My husband is not as interested in hiking, but with a very active vacation planned for later this year, he was giving it his best. He just need to figure out his rig.
It was an interesting day up there. Several boy scout troops were power hiking by as they worked to prove themselves to gain a seat on a trip to Wyoming later this year. We had a wonderful conversation with a scout leader who explained that they had to hike the same circuit we were walking in 90 minutes or less, all while carrying a heavy pack. No assistance, no do overs. That would not be easy, but they were young and ready to prove themselves. But boys will be boys, and the scouts were breaking into smaller groups as the difficulty of the trail took its toll. 
Just about every year somebody falls from the bluffs. Can you smell the testosterone? A woman, not with the troop was screaming at this child (maybe 12) and he callously laughed at her. This photo is called Stupid Kid.

At this point, my old dog, Winston started to slow. It was a test for him as well. He needed to prove that his new pain medication would enable him to traverse the trails of the rocky mountains. He went up just fine, but coming down was obviously painful. His pain is in his front legs, and that steep trail was putting too much stress on his arthritic legs. We stopped frequently, and slowly made our way down, but on the way we encountered a sight that broke my heart. 

A woman, in full pack was sitting on a step, sobbing. You see, the scout leaders were enduring the same grueling test, and she was unable to continue. We asked if she needed help, but the man with her declined. He couldn't help her, and the clock was ticking, her dreams of a great adventure fading away. 

We got Winston off the bluff and he soldiered on, always happy to simply be with us. The returning trails lay before us. A half mile hike weaving between the rare red granite boulders of Devils Lake. Its fairly level and very beautiful. It's one of my favorite hikes.
We made it back, although Winston and the hubby took a short cut while Tasha and I retrieved the car. All I can say is I'm glad I'm paying for my own trip to the Rockies. I never would have passed that boy scout test. 

I'm happy to report that I didn't find a battered body, dressed in a bright red shirt, broken against the rocks at the base of the bluff. But he's still a Stupid Kid.

I took more pictures and I'll be sharing them soon.
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