Monday, October 08, 2007

forest follies

I need to stock up on cider.

[Ed and I joined forces – however you may define those forces – two years ago, at an apple orchard; I mark the passage of time with his annual purchase of cider. Twelve gallons of it: one for each month, I guess.]

Like last year in mid-October, we head for Ski Hi, near Baraboo (so which is it? Ski, as in the sport or as in the celestial heavens?).

And you guessed it: at this time of the year, they’re all about selling apples and apple foods. Including very amazing pies, sky-high with apples.

008 copy

009 copy

016 copy

And cider.

We walk through the orchards – beautiful at this time of the year. Markers of autumn against other markers of autumn.

019 copy

026 copy

041 copy
looking down Ski Hi Road

It’s Sunday morning and it is still warm. Summer weather. Cider and pies are spread out on the back seat of the car (I buy one pie, Ed buys four. The man has an appetite for pie).

Ed has mapped out a hike for us and I just want to put this question out there: how is it that you can get freaked about getting lost when you are hiking within fifty miles of Madison?

Answer: ask Ed to map out a hike for you.

We’ll start cross country, through the forest.

There you have it: bramble and berry canes tearing at your clothes and skin, prickly spurs sticking to your socks: an Ed kind of hike.

043 copy
Ed, in search of trail

049 copy
finally, a clearing

Adventuring. He can never have enough of it. I’m fine with that, so long as it ends with a café at the end.

Thinking back, I forget about the branches hitting your face and the rotting logs that crumble as you lean against them for support. But I remember the still gentle colors of a season that can’t quite make up its mind.

058 copy

We finally get lucky and stumble upon the Ice Age Trail which we take all the way up to Devil’s Lake.

063 copy

065 copy

Every Madisonian knows and loves Devil’s Lake, especially on a warm fall day that also happens to be Sunday. I would say that it’s as close as we get to having our own city public space, even if it is some fifty miles away from the Capitol Square. It’s worth the trek. And you can always find a quiet spot for a rest. With a view.

070 copy

By this time, we have been hiking for many hours. We hadn’t planned on pausing by the lake, but that cool water is just too tempting on a warm day, even if it’s an October warm day.

Ed dives in.

I follow.

076 copy

There’s still a good number of miles of hiking trails for us. We shake ourselves off, like wet dogs whose skin and fur have been doused with water. And we slog on.

There’s no café at the end of this run. But there’s a car full of cider, and a gorgeous sky, first as seen from on board the Merrimac ferry…

094 copy

…then over the fields of Wisconsin farmland.

098 copy

It’s evening now. We pause and watch a woman shucking dry corn. Getting ready for the season. Pumpkins and squash, corn and hay. She smiles for the photo and goes back to her work.

100 copy

A beautiful day. One gallon down, eleven to go.