Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Day at Indian Lake County Park

Yesterday Dick and I decided to take advantage of the Indian Summer day and get outside. We saw a newspaper article about nearby places to enjoy fall colors, and drove out west of Madison, to Indian Lake County Park. At 443 acres, it is Dane County's largest park. Popular with hikers and cross country ski enthusiasts, it has miles of trails. There is also a small German family chapel that I plan to write about tomorrow.

For a Monday afternoon it seemed like there were lots of people hiking around the lake, taking their dogs out for some exercise. This was one of those days I appreciated having time to spend outside, instead of being trapped inside a cement block classroom.

According to a sign posted near the parking lot, the park lies at the edge of the unglaciated (or driftless) area of southwestern Wisconsin. That means there are features of both here - steep slopes of exposed rock that were never scraped smooth by glaciers and the smooth boulders, shallow kettle lakes, drumlins and moraines that indicate ancient rivers of ice.

On one of the trails there was a living hollow tree, open at the bottom and large enough that I could step inside. The tree was open inside to the top, and this photo shows what I saw. It was a little like being at the bottom of a well looking up, though I could not see stars.


The park has diverse plant and animal life. The cool north slopes of rock are covered with paper birch trees, and gnarled oaks line the tops of the ridges. Brambles and aspens indicate the area was logged and farmed. I spotted this great blue heron at the edge of the lake.

It was fairly quiet on our walk, not counting the sound of gulls and Canada Geese on the lake, and the raucous calls of crows in the tree branches.

Though small family farms are becoming less common in Wisconsin, this nicely painted red barn looks charming photographed through the dry prairie grasses.

If you want to take your own hike the park is located at 8183 Highway 19, two miles west of Highway 12.

1 comment:

Paula said...

Looks like a great day, and you got some great pictures!