The Saunter Group shares their hiking adventures | Lodi Silent Sports

by wendysoucie on May 24, 2011

Lodi, WI~

Lodi Valley News serving Lodi, WI & the Lake Wisconsin area with local information since Earth Day 2008.

Wisconsin Society for Ornithology site hiking group

Image: Kurt Eakle copyright 2011 all rights reserved

Hiking anyone?

Over the past three years, I have been included, via emails and pictures, in the adventures of a local Monday morning hiking group.  The group has endured spring, summer, fall and winter.  Known loosely as the “Saunter Group” they meet for coffee first and decide which location to explore that day. A few hikes are planned to be longer, but most start at around 9 AM and finish by noon.  I foolishly thought that when I left my paying job to start my own business that I would have time to join their weekly pilgrimage in nature. In 2009 and 2010 I did not.

They started to include pictures.

So now they include pictures to torture me.  It nearly kills me each week when they share the pictures of the beautiful places in our area that they have rooted out and hiked.  I can no longer keep silent.  I can no longer hit the office and sit in front of my computer knowing they are hiking.  I will at least post their forays here. I will start adding the event to my calendar so that I can join them. It may mean that I start work at 5 am so I can meet them at 8 am for coffee.   For any interested hikers, they meet at the Blue Spoon in Prairie Du Sac at 8 am for coffee and they head out for the hike at 9 am.

I requested their permission to share their notes and some of the pictures so that others might know more about the hidden gems in the Scenic Lodi Valley, Baraboo Bluffs, Wisconsin Dells, Prairies, Devils Lake and beyond.  Kurt Eakle and R. D. Nair are two of the most prolific photographers and they gave me permission to share some of the images.  I will catch you up for May.

Gibraltar to Devils Lake

Kurt Eakle - Devils Lake view from Hogsback

Image: Kurt Eakle copyright 2011 all rights reserved

On a windy Sunday, May 1, there were 22 brave people that sauntered from Gibraltar Rock to Devil’s Lake State Park.  They met at the Gibraltar Rock Park parking lot and followed the Ice Age Trail up Slack’s Hill,  along the newly built trail on the former Murphy property, to the Colsac segment.  After an enjoyable respite on the Ferry they continued with a short walk through the Village of Merrimac where they rejoined the Ice Age Trail in the Riverland Conservancy.  On to Roznoz Meadow, and then along the East Bluff – South Face of Devils Lake State Park to the south picnic area. This turned out to be about a six hour endurance ( approximately 12 miles) hike with everyone thankful they where up to the challenge.


Hemlock Draw

Early spring is a great time to catch the first woodland flowers and active wildlife. Hemlock Draw is a State Natural Area (No.535) and was designated in 2007. A draw or hollow refers to a valley or long narrow gorge between two clefts of rock. According to the DNR site:

Situated along Honey Creek, Hemlock Draw is a narrow gorge of sandstone and conglomerate rock that supports species with more northerly affinities. Dense stands of hemlock and yellow birch line the stream and gorge and shelter many northern forest plants such as several club-moss species. Sedges, skunk cabbage, and witch hazel also grow along the flat-bottomed draw. On the flanks of the draw, hemlock and other northern species give way to rich forests of sugar maple, red oak, ironwood, and big-tooth aspen. Wood anemone, wild geranium, and early meadow rue all flower abundantly under the large trees.

Fern head Image: Kurt Eakle Copyright 2011 all rights reserved

Image: Kurt Eakle Copyright 2011 all rights reserved


All that wonderful description was real!  And to top it off,  they beat the rain home, avoided contact with a bear sow and her cubs, and didn’t even see any cougar tracks.





Honey Creek Natural Area – Wisconsin Society of Ornithology

In 1958, the Wisconsin Society of Ornithology (WSO) started acquiring bog and woodland habitat in the Baraboo Hills area of Sauk county. This preserve, the Honey Creek Natural Area, has since grown to 263 acres and boasts trails, picnic areas, rustic camping facilities, and the Cox Nature Center for local geology and habitat exhibits.

I’m sure everyone that walked into the W.S.O. property to the 20 ft.waterfall,  were moving a little slower the next day, although this area is one the most unique area’s, it’s also one of the most difficult to hike, about a 9 on the 1-10 scale.

The Honey Creek Natural Area can be reached by going west out of Prairie du Sac on Highway PF approximately 15 miles to Skyview Drive

WSO waterfall Honey Creek Natural Area

Image: Kurt Eakle copyright 2011 all rights reserved

(Lins Road on older maps). Go left about 3/4 mile to Alder Drive and turn left to the Cox Nature Center.

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