|Classic view of the Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin|
I frequently travel to Chicago and the Midwest to see my longtime girlfriend so the trip wasn't entirely random but it certainly contrasts with my batch of birthday celebrations. The Wisconsin Dells, located about 60 miles north of Madison are as much of a vacation household name in Chicago as Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard are in New England. Its a big spring break destination for many college students in Chicagoland and Wisconsin. In the summer, its known as the Waterpark Capital of the World and is a destination for young families. As far as what it is known for in November... well I'm not sure. Even our mutual Midwestern friends were a little confused as to why we would want to travel to the Dells in November.
|View from our condo on Lake Delton, Wisconsin|
Even frigid November temperatures couldn't keep me from going on a few hikes and checking out the sights in the area. I was pleasantly surprised at all that was available for the more adventurous types.
|Its almost like Wisconsin's own Grand Canyon|
|Nature walk just outside of town|
What a great first day! We saw a lot of the area and even got some hikes in. For a place known more for waterslides and spring breakers, there was a healthy amount of outdoor adventures to be had. I hope I can bring my kayak back here someday!
|The rugged Baraboo Range contrasts the often-held view that the Midwest is entirely flat|
|Hiking around Devil's Lake, Wisconsin|
We then drove all around the Baraboo Range and caught some classic 50-mile views from some of the higher altitudes. The range scarcely breaks 1,500ft of elevation but it rises straight from the plains which makes for dramatic sights. Again, this was all great news for an outdoorsman like me. Although we didn't hike there, Natural Bridge State Park is supposed to be another good visit in the area.
The highlight of the day was, no doubt, Blue Mounds State Park. Rising head and shoulders above all other hills and monadnocks in this part of the state, Blue Mounds has one of the best views in the entire Midwest. Two easily accessible fire towers allowed us to see for some 70 miles in every direction. It was almost like standing at the top of a Chicago skyscraper.
|Blue Mounds State Park, Wisconsin|
|View from one of the fire towers in Blue Mounds State Park|
Read. Plan. Get Out There!