Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Sneaky Doodle Gang

Once upon a time long ago and far away...well. Hmm.
About 20 years ago I lived in Kenosha County and my older 4H horseback riders and I used to ride the side roads and we'd 'sneak' through the farm fields on the paths left for huge tractors. We'd sometimes ride at night through the fields.

At that time we dubbed ourselves The Sneaky Doodle Gang.
I know, how stupid sounding is that?

Well this past weekend we wanted to get back to a place we'd been to before. It is a State Natural Area. It has no real access points that are trails. If you look the area up on a site, apparently you can park on a road and look around for bent over grasses and follow that until you come to the 'trail head' which may be a pebble or a thicket of thorns.

We knew where we wanted to go. One of the options is to climb directly down a steep dip between bluffs. Good luck with that on a snowy day. That area is strewn with a boulder field and dead falls. We have done it once before but it takes good balance, two functional arms and two very functional legs.

One member of our gang had just had shoulder surgery 10 days ago. That meant she had one functioning arm. Since I've had a similar shoulder surgery about 10 years ago, I fully understand how painful and awkward one feels after the surgery.

We opted to find an easier way in. We found a fairly wide open looking trail and headed down it. It was much further from our destination than we planned, but it looked much easier to negotiate than a slippery boulder field that was strewn with hidden danger under the snow.

As we walked in we looked up and saw a private residence above us. Dang! Were we on private property? We we trespassing? We saw no signs but that doesn't mean that is an excuse.

Time to pass on the old school skills of The Sneaky Doodle Gang. The two adults I were with are a part of the old Sneaky Doodle Gang. SDG from here on out.
We told the kids to be quiet. Our goal as ahead of us and we didn't want to waste time going all the way around and then back down the boulder field. So we split up quietly and continued to hike.

Can you see the SDG member in the middle of this shot?
Aren't we just awesome?
So eventually we followed the trail and came out in an area where there was a picnic table and some chairs.

All right. Let me stop the presses right here.
This morning I looked up the State Natural Area through the DNR website and looked for access points for future use. I found photo of the picnic table claiming that it was part of the SNA we were looking for.
Devil's Lake State Park Visitor's Guide

Guess what.
We had not been trespassing.
The trail we were on and the one described on the website were the same. They went directly to the picnic table.

Photo by Daryl Clausen

And we found the chairs too. However, we found a surprise in them.

I always carry some toys that are given to me by kids. One of our favorite toys has been dubbed "Creepy Baby" and here is a shot of him with the sort of creepy raggedy Teddy Bears.

Oh yeah. That was just too darned Creepy!

Once we made it past the Sentinel Teddy Bears we found....


Magnificent ice, multi colored ice. The hues ran from yellow, blue, green, white, to an almost reddish color.

This is what we had come for and had hoped to find. 

I was stunned as were my fellow SDG friends. The kids were ecstatic and slide on the creek ice that was as smooth as a skating rink. We took photos and stared at it in wonder. 
It was worth the difficult hike in.

However, we made a pact to not reveal the exact location of this place.  We'd been to Pewitt's Nest three winters ago and had admired its beauty. It became an internet sensation and by early spring of 2017 it was closed to the public because of the senseless destruction that occurred from the people. There will be viewing platforms built but I still see posts from people who sneak in past the NO Trespassing signs to take photos of the place.

I shouldn't worry too much though. This place is difficult to find, hard to hike to and even harder to climb out of.

A view from behind the ice.

I would love to go back in the early spring and in the fall to see the rock bluffs and the plants. 

Sadly, the weak sunlight began to fade quickly and we started to seek a way out of the gorge.
There is no specific trail. 

Just before dark we reached the Subaru and climbed in. 
The Sneaky Doodle Gang had done it again.

And we were happy.

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