Friday Hike: Blue Mound State Park

We’ve had a string of days with miserable rain and cold, but Friday’s forecast was for sun and decent temperatures in the lower 40’s.  I pulled on a light fleece jacket and drove west to Blue Mound State Park, which I haven’t visited in a couple of decades.

With good roads, the trip takes about 45 minutes, but Google Maps led me astray with a suggestion to take CTH F south from Hwy 14 west of Mazomanie. F was closed, but Google maps kept trying to take me back to it as I sought a different route to get to the park.  Eventually, I was re-directed with good directions by a county highway worker.  Sometimes, smart people are more useful than smart phones.

The hiking through the woods was on the depressing side.  The leaves have mostly fallen, and views were scarce.  With recent rains, the aroma was one of decomposition.  I saw no other hikers, although I did pass a couple of young Asian men walking past me with compound bows in hand.  The deer bow hunt season is underway, and bow hunting is allowed in the park by special permit.  The hiking was easy with wide trails and gentle ups and downs.

The trail was littered with chert boulders, like this one:

According to the park information, 400 million years ago, warm and shallow seas covered the park, depositing a layer of sediment that transformed over time from limestone to magnesium to dolomite.  As silica-rich water flowed through the dolomite, chert was formed. More recently (relatively speaking), the chert fractured from the top of the Blue Mound and fell downhill.

By hiking to the top of the hill, I made it to the highest point in southern Wisconsin (elevation 1716 feet).  That isn’t very high for people who live in mountainous areas, but  the park put in a 40 foot tower at the top for those of us who may be a tiny bit fearful of heights.  Mountain tops don’t bother me, but man-made towers do for some reason.

While  many of the trails wind through th woods, some of the trails open up to prairie.

Blue Mound is a park that designates many of its trails for mountain bike use.  I’m in favor of people getting outside, so I’m not opposed to this idea, even though these trails tend to be rutted and muddy.  There were enough trails designated as hiker only to satisfy me. This biker admitted to being a bit lost.

Hiking:  5.2 miles. Trails included Willow Springs, Flint Rock, Ridgeview, Pleasure Valley, and the family campground.

 

 

2 thoughts on “Friday Hike: Blue Mound State Park

  1. Now if they built fire-watch towers that sturdy they probably wouldn’t scare me so bad!

    Here in Texas the state parks are completely closed for hunts, including the campgrounds. Now I’m not against hunting, but since there are various hunting seasons from October through February in this state, it can get pretty annoying. Thankfully the hunts tend to be on weekends and I’m retired so can go on weekdays.

    • I actually thought about your Hickory Ridge tower climb as I went up the Blue Mound observation tower. I’ll admit to being a wimp when it comes to towers. Climbing Hickory Ridge is not on my to-do list. 🙂

      I’m not a hunter myself, but I appreciate the skill that bow hunting requires and enjoy well-prepared game that others have shared with me. I stay out of the woods during Wisconsin gun season, which is Nov. 18-26th this year. Last year 600,000 hunters participated with no fatalities.

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