Day 5: One More Hike

I have an unparalleled passion for walking, as you may recall.  Shane’s passion for walking ranks somewhere between his feelings for running and Hello Kitty: tolerable mostly because he loves me.  You’d think that by now, Shane would’ve learned that we have different opinions on what construes a reasonable walking distance.  I have – more than once – accidentally taken family and friends on several mile walks when they were expecting a stroll around the neighborhood.

As a result of this, I try to be very clear about the actual distance we are going to be traveling. Five blocks to a restaurant.  A mile and a half to the coffeeshop.  A parking spot literally around the corner.  Or, in the case, of this morning’s hike, about five miles.

We’d had breakfast and a morning campfire. We’d packed up our campsite. We had nothing between us and Madison except hours and hours of beautiful daylight. Why not go for a long hike?


Morning Fire

Oh yeah, the hills. Or rather: the East Bluffs. Lots of uphill climbing. Lots of sweating and also rock formations that looked like an elephant’s butt.

Elephant Cave

Elephant Rock

Then a tough descent down the Potholes trail:


We emerged on the south side of the lake with only, you know, half a lake left to circumnavigate. We had already agreed not to take on West Bluffs, but we still had the south side boardwalk and Tumbled Rocks ahead of us. I’m pretty sure that Shane was ruing the day he agreed to go on vacation with me. I didn’t point out that our distance was less than half of the distance I’ve ran in two races this year. That would NOT have been helpful. I did, however, encourage him to carry on with the possibility of ice cream, beer, and fried green beans when we returned to the north shore.

Hard-Earned Lunch

This is the face of a man who has earned his lunch. Thanks for the good times, Devil’s Lake. We can’t wait to come back.

Total moving time: 1 hour, 46 minutes

Total elapsed time: 2 hours, 17 minutes

Average moving pace: 22:23 minutes per mile

Elevation gain: 612 feet

Elevation loss: 613 feet

Maximum elevation: 1,468 feet

Minimum elevation: 957 feet


Day 4: A Long Hike to the Top

Balanced Rock — A difficult, steep, climbing trail with stone steps on the south face of the East Bluff. Spectacular views of Devil’s Lake with the Balanced Rock formation off to the south of the trail. We met a couple from Illinois who were hiking without their five children.  I marveled at how fit the mom was after all those kids.  When we said we were librarians, they asked us about our favorite books.  (.3 mile, approximate hiking time 1 hour)

Hiking Shane



Devil's Lake

East Bluff – A medium effort trail that is asphalt with stone steps as it winds back and forth between the edge of the bluff and the adjacent woods. We walked the portion between Devil’s Doorway and CCC, enjoying the hell out of the flat and also our snack bars.

East Bluff

Devil’s Doorway — This is an easy, level asphalt trail along the edge of the top of the East Bluff to views of Devil’s Lake with drop-offs along the way. There is a notable side trail with stone steps to the Devil’s Doorway rock formation.  We talked to three people from my hometown, one of which was having difficulty with the descent due to spatial perception issues from previous brain surgery.  They watched and cheered while Shane squeezed through the rock into the doorway itself. (.5 mile, approximate hiking time .25 hour)

Devil's Doorway

Step 2

Step 3

CCC – A difficult, steep, climbing trail with stone steps on the south face of the East Bluff with many scenic views. We walked through a narrow passage between two large smooth walls of stone, as did an Asian family whose small son was wearing a Michigan hat. (.6 mile, approximate hiking time 1 hour)

Field of Rocks

Grottos — A wide, easy going, compacted travel path along the base of the south end of the East Bluff connecting Balanced Rock Trail, Potholes Trail, and the CCC Trails. (.7 mile, approximate hiking time 1.25 hours). We walked the portion between CCC and the south shore, holding hands and eager for ice cream.

So green

Total moving time: 53 minutes

Total elapsed time: 1 hour, 43 minutes

Average moving pace: 25:51 minutes per mile

Elevation gain: 522 feet

Elevation loss: 507 feet

Maximum elevation: 1,473 feet

Minimum elevation: 965 feet

All trail descriptions from Our data was carefully tracked by my Garmin Forerunner – thanks again, Shane!