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.
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.
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.