Unlike Bigfoot and broken promises, Baraboo is the real thing

Being nestled between the Dells and Devil’s Lake may sound like a recipe for being an outdoor-recreation also-ran, but the city of Baraboo has its own fresh-air gem in its Baraboo Riverwalk.

Part of the Ice Age Trail, the Riverwalk is only four miles of mostly-paved walkways meandering through the heart of Baraboo. It shows off a charming small city in its best light and it’s worth a trip for its own sake, although there’s plenty of bonus entertainment that comes along with it.

Hiking buddy Chris Sadler and I recently took two vehicles, parking one at the northern trail endpoint at the University of Wisconsin-Baraboo/Sauk County campus in Baraboo. We extended our hiking distance by heading to a parking area just off State Highway 113 in the eastern portion of Devil’s Lake State Park, where the Devil’s Lake segment of the IAT starts.

The park wasn’t in our itinerary for the day, although it and other area local spots are on the agenda for future columns.

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A few pictures of a Wisconsin jewel

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The Ice Age Trail is one of our state’s finest assets, and to support it, I took part in the annual Hike-a-Thon presented by the Portage and Waupaca County chapters the Ice Age Trail Association.

I also wrote about it for the Portage County Gazette, an article that the paper chose to put behind a paywall as it moves toward its internet pay model.  Because of what may have been a boneheaded error on my part, my original version got corrupted and I had to reconstruct the entire piece from memory — and in a hurry.   I think it still came out well, but before too long I may publish the text of the two pieces side by side as a means of analyzing, for my students, the writing process a little more.

In any event, I’ve posted some extra pictures of my Saturday walk right here.  I hope they inspire you to visit and support the trail either in Central Wisconsin or in some other part of our great state.

 

1,631 words of outdoor thankfulness … and counting

Many faithful Gazette readers know the TV listings are now gone.  When Gazette managing editor Nate Enwald and I first talked about this column, he mentioned that at least for a few weeks, I could write up to 1,500 words if I wanted.  It would help fill the void when those listings faded to black.

Footbridge over the Eau Claire River, Marathon County

Footbridge over the Eau Claire River, Marathon County

I keep waiting for Nate to tell me to tap the brakes, but the last time I checked he said I should keep the pedal down.  That means, because it’s that time of year, I’m writing 1,500 words of thanks.

First things first: I’m thankful for the opportunity to do this column, meaning much appreciation goes to the people at the Gazette, a locally owned publication that covers real local news with local folks.

I’m writing for two reasons.  I love to write, and I love to get outside.  I don’t do either one enough, but the Gazette encourages me to do both.

And here’s a point of gratitude that needs to be right out front.  I’m thankful for the life and work of Gazette co-founder George Rogers, who I never met and who passed away in 2013, but whose influence on the community and on people’s love for the outdoors was clearly enormous.

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