I spent $25 on a Wisconsin State Parks season pass this weekend. I'm pretty convinced it was a wise, worthwhile investment.
This time of the year gets to be intoxicating for me, as the weather finally becomes consistently tolerable. In two weeks' time, I've watched the skin on my arms grow consistently darker with the beginnings of a summer tan. While I'm cooped up for 45 hours a week in a studio, almost every spare moment since mid-May has been spent outdoors, hiking, riding, running or fishing.
I'm giddy to know that I can finally soak up the outdoors again. I feel like it's my 21st birthday again and I'm on State Street, but I'm almost certain there's no way to get overserved on a Wisconsin summer.
Saturday marked my second trip to Devil's Lake near Baraboo in as many weeks, and I figured if I keep up at this pace, I'll get my money's worth out of a season pass. It's only 25 bucks, compared to seven for a day pass, and I have no doubt I'll make at least three more trips to a state park by the end of the year.
The problem is I have to make them in my car now, because I can't transfer the pass to my motorcycle. It's kind of a dumb system, but I wouldn't have anywhere to stick a season pass on my bike anyway. That much said, now that I have a season pass, I won't feel bad about maybe skirting the system with my bike a bit, just because they aren't as accommodating of motorcyclists as they could be.
Regardless of my personal vendettas, Devil's Lake is a rare treasure, and we're lucky to have it. But as I hiked up the Balanced Rock trail this weekend, I couldn't help but wonder -- how is it some drunk hasn't pushed that damn thing over yet?
Natural wonder or not, Balanced Rock (pictured above) is like a beacon of temptation. It beckons the 12-year-old boy in each of us, much the same as a sheet of bubble wrap and a rolling pin, or a magnifying glass and an anthill, or a gasoline puddle and a book of matches, or that sculpture in front of Camp Randall and a giant condom.
So I figure with the thousands of people who visit the park a year, there's got to be a drunk guy or two each year who figure they can muscle that rock off its perch and start it rolling down the slope toward the lake. That begs the question, how is that thing fastened on there, because unless they just keep helicoptering it back into place every time some ass pushes it off, it doesn't look like anyone's succeeded yet.
Anyway, it's clear I'm delirious from exposure to fresh air and sunshine, but I'm glad to have had the chance to hike somewhere in the ballpark of six miles this weekend (that's NOT counting vertical, either). I'm hoping to log even more miles this summer at some of the other state parks I haven't visited yet.