Monday, July 09, 2012


It seemed like a good plan to take a few hours out for a walk and a swim today. The draining heat hasn’t eased much (a handful of degrees lower than 105 doesn't count) and so looking for outdoor activities is not easy.

If you’re a Madisonian, thinking of where to go for a cool escape, what's your go-to place? Devil’s Lake. A cool body of clear water with beaches on both ends and towering bluffs at the side for good hiking. About an hour due north.

That was the plan.

But Devil's Lake is tricky. The hiking trails are a mess. Maps stray from reality. Reality strays from the predictable. And once you lose your markers, you'll never reclaim your path. The best you can hope for is some safe return home. This way or that.

Then there's the matter of a cool, clear, deep lake – since when has Devil’s Lake turned murky, shallow and warm?

I know, I know, we need the rains to fill the streams to flush out the warm waters of our lakes some.

In the meantime, we have what we have.

Okay, so this is our day:

Breakfast on the porch – with the hope that we wont quickly jump from 70 degrees in the first hours of the morning to 90 by noon. (Hopes dashed in this regard.)


A hike along the trails at Devil’s Lake. It should have been forest and bluffs, instead it was forests and meadows and a lot of warm sunshine in between. (No dashed hopes there, just a lot of hot confusion.)


A quick dip in the warm lake waters. For me – only up to my ankles. Something about the sign cautioning against swimmer’s itch (even though the park ranger swore they haven’t had a complaint for two weeks now!) was off-putting. (So hopes dashed, at least slightly in this regard.) Note alternative to swimming: fold out chairs in the water.


But hey, the exercise is splendid, the meadows are ever lovely and verdant and the company is superb (Ed, please don't hide your face!)

It was a wonderful day. (No dashed hopes at all in this regard.)