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Monday, January 19, 2015

Roche A Cri State Park, Friendship WI

Roche A Cri State Park in Friendship WI

This weekend, M and I finally visited Roche A Cri State Park. The park consisted of a 300 ft tall rock outcrop that used to be an island in the middle of a large glacial lake in central Wisconsin. The area around the outcrop was flat except for a couple of these glacial deposits. Since we visited in winter, the only way into the park was from the side entrance on Czech Ave.

We hiked on the trail from the parking lot to Acorn Trail which took us around the west side of the mound. True to its name, the trail was littered with acorns from the oak trees. We took a shortcut via Mound Trail to get to the base of the mound where there was a staircase that led up to the top. After 303 steps, M and I reached the top where there was a large viewing platform. The staircase made for a quick hike up the steep cliffside, and it also served to protect the fragile sandstone formation and plants on the mound. After viewing the vast countryside from the platform, we walked down the stairs and continued hiking.

From the base of the mound, we walked east along the snow covered road and hiked a short spur trail to Chickadee Rock Nature Trail. After 0.34 miles, we reached Chicakadee Rock. It was named so, not because the rock looked like the bird, but because there were so many of them in the area. Besides the large Chickadee Rock formation, there were many glacial erratic deposits nearby. We then continued on Acorn Trail and made our way to the east side of the mound.

Acorn trail crossed the main road, which was closed during winter, then passed by the campground. After the campground, there were signs for the petroglyphs, so we continued on to the southside of the mound. Here, we could see faint remnants of petroglyphs from the Native American predecessors of the Ho Chunk Nation. However, though it was neat to see the rock art, so much of the cliff wall had been defaced by people that it was hard to see all of the petroglyphs.

We then headed back to the car after seeing the pictographs. We crossed over to the creek and took the bridge back to where we parked. Roche A Cri was worth the visit and it was great to go in winter since there were no crowds. We saw 3 other people there but had the entire viewing platform and trails to ourselves.

We hiked from the parking lot at Czech Ave and then went left (clockwise), climbed to the top, then back down to the petroglyphs. 

From the parking lot, we took the trail to Acorn Trail

We took Acorn Trail

Crossed the bridge over the winding creek

Took the left fork to stay on Acorn Trail

Woods around us along Acorn Trail

Along Acorn Trail in Roche A Cri State Park

Acorn Trail. Maintenance was conducted in the area which let in light and opened up the space.

Acorn Trail turns back and gets closer to the mound

Acorn Trail meets up with Eagle Ridge Trail which we did not take.

Made our first snowman for 2015 along Mound Trail

Getting closer to the mound. In the summer, you can find restrooms and running water here.

Roche A Cri mound

Start of the 303 steps to the top

Well maintained and new staircase

Staircase protects the fragile ecosystem on the mound

Creation of the mounds and information about area around them

Made it to the top going to the viewing platform

Western view from Roche A Cri Mound

Northern view from Roche A Cri Mound

Eastern view from Roche A Cri Mound

Panoramic view from the top of Roche A Cri Mound

Going down, back on the trail

Heading to Chickadee Rock Trail

Nice wide trails, well maintained

M found a bee in the snow

Chicakdee Rock, a glacial deposit

Continuing on Acorn Trail from Chickadee Rock

Roche A Cri mound is to the right of the trail, heading south to the petroglyphs

Campsite in Roche A Cri, view from the trail

Trail splits. We continue to petroglyphs

300 ft tall sandstone cliff of Roche A Cri

After some hunting, we found one of the petroglyphs among the other more recent carvings

The steps leading to the petroglyphs from the road

Another view of Roche A Cri mound

From the road, we went left and took Spring Peeper Trail

Spring Peeper Trail leading to the creek
The creek winding around Roche A Cri State Park
Crossing through the prairie that was planted in 1996 before getting to the parking lot at Roche A Cri State Park

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Back From Hiatus

I am back after a couple of months of busy work and life events. I have spent a lot of time and weekends dedicated to hiking trips, family and friends, nonstop driving, and dealing with health issues. After finishing up some of our main house projects, M and I decided to get married and had 3 separate weekends devoted to each wedding (Hmong, American, and friends reception). Along with that, we did plenty of hiking around WI along the Ice Age Trail segments and visited Washington Island and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Besides this, I have been dealing with a huge lifestyle change of being gluten free.

This past year, I put myself on a gluten free diet because of symptoms I was experiencing. However, I did not take it seriously especially when it came to contamination from food sources such as sauces/additives and reading food labels all the time. The diet was difficult to maintain because I did not want to believe that I had any health issues and I wasn't too keen on strictly avoiding gluten. Things came to a head when I had a severe reaction and couldn't walk due to severe back and joint pain. It was only after this that I realized I needed to take my gluten intolerance seriously. I finally talked to my doctor and was diagnosed with Celiac disease. Sad to say but it was only when my doctor confirmed my diagnosis that I finally decided to be more diligent with my gluten intake. After many months of dealing with symptoms and feeling like I was always on the run, this weekend was the perfect end to my busy year. 

This past weekend was one of the first full weekends I was home and able to unwind. Even though I was home, I still needed to get out and exercise my restless legs. An 8 mile walk solved this issue and helped me center myself. The quiet of the city and crunching of snow under my boots were a delightful change to always being on the road. The day hike stretched my leg muscles and it felt great to do a city hike after so many weeks of being sedentary. At night, I was on the hunt for AltBrew's Hollywood Nights Blond IPA, a gluten free beer brewed in Madison, WI. After not finding it in two shops, I stopped by Next Door Brewing and was able to get one bottle to share with M. The Blonde IPA was a great beer with good body and a crisp taste. It definitely was the perfect alternative to the microbrews I was used to drinking. Cheers to the new years and I am hopeful for more hikes and trail updates! 

M and I on our 8 mile city walk

Hiking along the lake


Frank Lloyd Wright's Robert M. Lamp House visible from the street during construction since it's in the middle of the block.

Breese Stevens Athletic Field entrance

Alt Brew Blonde IPA with Next Door Brewing's chips and guac. All gluten free!