Dogs, HIking, Travel

Devil’s Lake


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The dreaded July 4th, where our neighborhood exhales the sounds of war and Franklin cowers under a table for weeks at a time. While we can’t leave Chicago for the whole month of July–that’s how long the fireworks persist–we can leave for the long weekend and what better place to enjoy the silence than a little town outside of Madison.

We have a backpacking trip coming up and needed to get in as many straight days of hiking as possible to get some training in. We started set off early, as we usually do, to drive up to the Brooklyn Wildlife segment of the Ice Age Trail. We hiked 9 miles and it was horrible. The trail was insanely overgrown in most places with briars and thorns, the mosquitoes were the worst I’ve ever experienced (see photo below of me whipping my hair around to try to keep them off me), and though he had plenty of water Franklin got overheated which was a little scary but he came out fine. Still we made the best of it and certainly earned our showers and soft beds.

The next day we headed to Devil’s Lake State Park. It was a much nicer day and though it was hot we thought Franklin could swim from the dog beach areas if he got overheated. We were wrong, as soon as we go there we saw warning signs for “swimmers itch” I’d never heard of it so we did a quick search and it’s parasites that get under your skin and cause a rash. Yuck! And it hurts dogs much worse than humans so no swimming for Franklin but luckily it was cool enough and Franklin had no problem with overheating.

We hiked up the East Bluff Trail from the south which means a decent elevation gain with some rock scrambling. I love this trail, we’d done it once before and even though there’s no real risk–the trail is well maintained and they’ve built decent stairs from the rocks–it feels rugged.

Since it was a holiday weekend the park was fairly busy but we made the best of it and hiked around maybe 6 or 7 miles.

On our last day we wanted to get another long hike in so we started out in Madison and hiked the Capital City trail to the Capital Springs Dog Park, one of the largest dog parks we’ve ever seen. The trail is meant for bikers and we saw a few but since it was a grey day and had rained most of the morning it was fairly desolate. It’s a relatively boring trail along a mostly industrial area but it served us well for training. See you later Wisconsin!