Category Archives: Devil’s Lake

Over the Lower Wisconsin River

It’s been a while since I’ve published anything on my blog. Last spring, I was busy working on my New Zealand book. Over the summer, it seems like about half of my time was spent traveling. I’m now starting to catch up on all that I didn’t do during over the past several months, like writing an occasional blog piece.


Aside from a recent wedding and some portraits, I had the pleasure of flying along the Lower Wisconsin Riverway a few days ago with my friend, Ditas, and daughter, Julija. I was pretty excited, as I’ve always wanted to fly. One of the first careers that I wanted to pursue was pilot/astronaut (and, chef). Life gets in the way of some of our dreams, but that doesn’t prevent us from living our dreams in other ways – in my case, vicariously through Ditas. Ditas was gracious enough to take me up about eight years ago before Julija was around, and then we flew around the Madison area and up to Devil’s Lake.


We met at the Watertown, Wisconsin airport on a beautiful morning. I checked over the airplane (yes, the wings were there), and then Ditas did a very proper and thorough inspection. Before long, we were up in the air. I guess that I’ve become accustomed/jaded to commercial airplanes, as I dislike going through security and then being packed into the aluminum cattle cars. Flying on a small aircraft is so much different! The cockpit is even more confining and there’s no toilet. But, you feel like you can reach out and touch the clouds!


A few minutes out of Watertown and we were flying over Devil’s Lake State Park near Baraboo. Just after that, we headed a bit south and flew over Lake Wisconsin and then around Gibraltar Rock and over a corn maze. We flew downstream over Sauk Prairie and we could make out the Wollersheim Winery from the air. There were low clouds over the Wisconsin River beyond Sauk Prairie and they provided beautiful texture to the scene, giving the agricultural lands a sort of dreamy quality. Spring Green was our next waypoint, and then further down the Wisconsin River. It seemed like just a few minutes before we were landing in Prairie du Chien for a quick lunch. Since we flew into town, we had to walk all the way to Culver’s – poor us. On the way back, we briefly flew up the mighty Mississippi River – I loved seeing it and it’s twisting and turning – the land’s network of major arteries, it’s aorta. On the way back to Watertown, the sun was in my face, so there weren’t any decent photographic opportunities, which was fine. It’s nice to put the camera down and enjoy the scenery, particularly from on high. By this time, Julija was slightly bored, so she buried herself under a blanket to help keep the sun out of her eyes. It wasn’t possible for me to do anything like that.


Then there was another thrill – Ditas let me fly the plane! Woo hoo! I’d never before had my hands on the controls of any aircraft for more than a moment. I broke any previous flying records of mine by safely getting us much of the way from Prairie du Chien to Watertown. It was a wonderful experience to feel how the aircraft handled and how it was different from a car. It was also amazing to have access to a third dimension – up & down – that’s not controlled by the contours of the land that you experience on a road.

pilot tim

Following is quick visual tour of our aerial survey of the Lower Wisconsin River. I hope that you’ll have a chance like this to explore your passions, as well as to enjoy Wisconsin’s beautiful autumn scenery.



And, thank you Ditas for a thrilling adventure.


‘Til next time, this is 43 N MSN signing off…


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Autumn in the Baraboo Hills

[landscapephotograph description=”Floating Leaf, Parfrey’s Glen Creek” photo=”” photourl=”″][/landscapephotograph]

Seriously? It’s been how long since I’ve posted???
It’s been quite awhile since I’ve posted anything.  I guess that’s indicative of a busy, full life – I’ll go with that. Now that we’re back in the states, we’re settling back into our old routines – which is good and bad.
But, one of those “routines” is enjoying autumn in the Baraboo Hills. I suppose that if you lived in Virginia and along the Blue Ridge Parkway, Maine or Nova Scotia, you might have similar feelings about fall being one of the most spectacular seasons of the year. The trees are vivid, the air is crisp. Change is in the air, even if it’s sort of a negative change.  But, it’s a change that portends improvement, spring, rebirth…
I don’t think that “fall” in Wisconsin would seem like fall to me if I didn’t visit the Baraboo Hills. And, more specifically, a visit to Parfrey’s Glen. Actually, it’s full name is more likely “Parfrey’s Glen State Natural Area.” Everyone is aware of the plethora of beautiful, wonderful state parks in Wisconsin. However, one of Wisconsin’s other gems are its state natural areas. These are special areas of unique biological/geological/ecological concern. They don’t rate the same attention as our state parks and there’s a good reason for that – they’re quite unique, fragile and small and they don’t need the attention because we don’t visit them for physical recreation. Usually, they’re more like pocket parks – small little parks that you’re more likely to have all to yourself, and you’re more likely to simply indulge in these unique scientific features.
That is, except for Parfrey’s Glen.  🙂  It was Wisconsin’s first state natural area. It also was the first state natural area that I visited more than twenty years ago. It’s proximity to Devil’s Lake State Park helps to make it very popular. I don’t know this for a fact, but it seems to me that the Baraboo Hills and Sauk County likely have more state natural areas than any other county in Wisconsin.
We made a visit to enjoy the West Bluff of Devil’s Lake and the trees, lunch in Baraboo, and then a trip to Parfrey’s Glen. Parfrey’s Glen is a very nice place to visit if you want solitude – except in the spring and fall. In the spring, the new flowers are trumpeting and it’s wonderful to enjoy a quiet, protected walk – with many friends whom you don’t yet know. In the fall, the situation is similar – maple trees shouting YELLOW!, the thinning canopy exposing the creek, and the almost spooky feeling of walking to the end of the glen (Halloween is just around the corner).
Just in case you weren’t able to make it to Parfrey’s Glen or Devil’s Lake recently, then I hope that you’ll enjoy the following gallery. And, if you were able to make it to Parfrey’s Glen or Devil’s Lake, then in your viewing the gallery, I hope that you’re transported back to your recent visit…

45 N Wisc signing off…

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