You may have noticed that our popular website, DevilsLakeWisconsin.com has had a bit of a facelift for the new season. We’re really proud of the fresh new look, but that’s not all we’ve got in store for the new year! Our Skillet Creek Journal articles, blogs, photo galleries, news and notes will also be moving over on DevilsLakeWisconsin.com. A natural fit! What’s more, in 2012 we will be working with local radio WRPQ 99.7 FM and the Baraboo Area Chamber of Commerce to bring timely state park, outdoor and community tips, events, weather and other useful information to you through regular features on WRPQ 99.7 FM (Available right from your car or campsite of course!) and through our new “More to Explore” section of DevilsLakeWisconsin.com. In “More to Explore” you’ll find all the stuff you want to know about outside the borders of the park including Baraboo Hills shopping & dining info, weather news, maps to everywhere, more natural areas, tips on hiking, biking & paddling with your family and so much more. I could just ramble on, but I’ll stop right here, and simply invite you to join us over at DevilsLakeWisconsin.com this summer and while you’re here, make it a point to tune into 99.7. We look forward to seeing you!
Oh, and remember, for daily pics and your daily fix of the Devil’s Lake area vibe join us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/SkilletCreek
There has been some confusion about tomorrow night’s candlelight hike/ski at Mirror Lake State Park. We have just confirmed with the park office this morning that the event will go on as planned, sans skis. The unseasonably warm weather has us leaving our skis at home, but it will be a warm, wonderful evening for a January hike by candlelight. The current forecast calls for a high near 40f, which means the temps should be around 30f when the event kicks off. The friends of Mirror Lake State Park will be there with warm treats and tending to the warming bonfires. The event kicks off at 6pm at the main parking area by the beach.
Why go kayaking on Devil’s Lake in a snowstorm? Well, you get the experience of paddling in the artic, the high winds, the cold and the snow stinging at your face, but at the end of the day you get to go warm up on your own comfy couch! That’s exactly what I did yesterday for day 24 of my 100 miles to Winter paddle to celebrate Devil’s lake State Park’s 2011 centennial. For the full story and a bit of video click here.
You’ve probably noticed that the news is filling with predictions of the coming winter weather Apocalypse. That means of course that AccuWeather.com has released their annual winter predictions for 2011-2011. AccuWeather.com is calling for the worst winter weather in the nation to hit Chicago with Minneapolis predicted to suffer this winter’s worst chill. Well, here in the heart of Wisconsin we’re probably in for both! Read the rest of this entry »
Wollersheim Winery in Prairie du Sac reported on their Facebook page that they are busy harvesting their 2011 grapes! Well, here at the Skillet Creek base camp on the other side of the Baraboo hills, our grape harvest took all of about 10 minutes. One vine produced one nice big bucket of grapes. It’s time to make the jelly! If you’ve never tried making grape jelly yourself, you can find some great recipes out there. Here’s one from PickYourOwn.Org. It seems that today is the day to get out and cover or pick anything in your garden that may be sensitive to cold. Sauk County is under the first frost advisory of the season until 8 am tomorrow. It’s that time of year!
Levee Road between Baraboo and Portage Wisconsin is not only a great drive, being one of Wisconsin’s designated rustic roads, but it is also an ideal family cycling destination as well. While Levee Rd. is about 11 miles in total from County Rd T to Highway 33 just west of the Wisconsin River, parking is only available about a mile in on either side, making for slightly less than 20 mile round trip. Along the way you will explore wonderful forests that hang over the road like a cathedral as well as open prairies and marshlands. The Pine Island Reserve alone consists of approximately 1,240 acres of wetland, 1,955 acres of upland (grasslands)/savannah, and 1,970 acres of wooded habitat. This area is also popular with bird watchers as well. Keep an eye out for Bald Eagles flying over the river! There are also a variety of areas open to hikers, a dog training area, and of course access to the Wisconsin river… Not to mention some great views of the river from atop the levee itself. Do be mindful of private lands interspersed within the public areas. One home along the way has a distinctly unfriendly “GO AWAY!” sign posted on their porch!
If biking with your kids, I’d recommend bringing a nice lunch and doing a distance within their enjoyment zone. There is some, but little traffic and only one significant hill on the route. The rest is flat and easy to ride. You should be aware of narrow sections and blind corners and stick to the side of the road of course. Our 10 year old is comfortable with the complete round-trip, but is certainly ready to be done nearing the 18 mile mark. I’d also suggest packing a lunch for a picnic on the levee and with treats and of course lots of water. Hydration is paramount to having a good time out there. Levee Rd. travels through a very rural area with no shops or gas stations along the way to purchase snacks. There is one soda machine at an auto-salvage yard at the corner of Levee Rd. & Hwy 33.
To make a day of this excursion we’d recommend taking time to visit the Aldo Leopold Foundation along the way. Guided & self guided tours are available. We recommend taking time to check out the photography through time exhibit and of course the historic Aldo Leopold Shack. Click here for more information on the Aldo Leopold Foundation.
To get there..
From Baraboo, take county Rd T north out of town about 8.6 miles and watch for the Rustic Road sign to the right. You can also connect with Levee Rd. just of Highway 33 about 1/2 mile west of the Wisconsin River Bridge into Portage.
By one account about 300 people attended yesterday’s 9:30 am kick off of Devil’s Lake State Park’s centennial celebration. An estimated 2/3rds of the people in attendance were there to protest the appearance of Wisconsin State Governor Scott Walker. Although the crowd of protesters could have easily shouted down the speakers, everyone, including the governor was allowed to speak with very little interruption. Between speakers, the crowd would break out in shouts of “Shame, Shame, Shame” or a chant of “Recall Walker”. Maybe the most apt quote of the day was, “Take a Hike!” Walker appointed DNR secretary Cathy Step also spoke at the event. Read the rest of this entry »
We began our 3 day bike trip through rural west-central Wisconsin in a downpour. In fact it rained on and off much of the first 2 days with the sun waiting to show its face until the morning of our very last day. You may think that’s a bad thing, but in truth biking in the rain can feel better than biking under a hot sun. The heavy clouds and wet landscape also added color and shadow to the environment that would have otherwise been lost in a white summer glare. There were sections of the trail that seemed more like they were winding their way through Panama than the heart of cow country. All in all, we couldn’t have asked for a better way to take in Wisconsin’s amazing Elroy-Sparta and 400 Bike trails.
Storm clean up continues around the area today after weekend storms left trees down and caused other damage throughout central Wisconsin. This picture shows crews cleaning up a downed tree on South Shore Road inside Devil’s Lake State Park. Forecasters are calling for a chance of thunderstorms on and off through the week and on into what looks to be a slightly cool Memorial holiday weekend.
Kick off the Devil’s Lake State Park centennial tomorrow, May 7th, 2011, with a look at it’s prehistoric past. From 10 am and throughout the day the Devil’s Lake State Park Nature center will be hosting a variety of events including flint knapping demonstrations, a presentation on the Effigy Mound Builders, tours of the mounds and more. For details visit DevilsLakeWisconsin.com.