Lake Wingra loop

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In mid-July I traveled to Wisconsin for an annual family reunion event.  Surrounding the event I spent a few days in Madison visiting my brother.  Madison is well-known as a great university town (Hmm, the university population alone is over 30,000!) as well as the state capital.  I wanted to go for a couple of walks so I asked my brother for suggestions; he recommended a loop around Lake Wingra, the smallest of 5 lakes within the Madison city limits.  In fact, there is a designated 10k route around the lake and through part of the University of Wisconsin Arboretum.  A convenient access point to the loop is less than 2 miles from my temporary home base, so it was a perfect distance for a morning walk on a warm, Midwest July morning (think “humid”).

On the outbound walk I took a bit of a detour through the neighborhood, including walking past the house where my dad grew up (my grandfather was an EE professor at UW).  There is a moderately steep, but short (less than 100 feet elevation change), hill down to the lake shore.  Then I started the loop, going clockwise.

GPS track

GPS track

On the north shore there is a pretty area covered with water lilies, which are one of my favorite flowers. The blossoms were beautiful.

photo of water lily

Water lily

There was an interesting-looking clear path through the water lilies.  A couple in a canoe rowed through the already-created path.  It was interesting to speculate about whether the path had been created by the current under the bridge I was standing on, by previous canoeists, or by some other source.

photo of canoeing through water lilies

Canoeing through water lilies

A little farther on I came to Vilas Park, a City park which happens to be the start/finish location of the official 10k loop.  Among other amenities are swan boats, which make a unique way to experience the lake.

photo of swan boat

Swan boat

About halfway around the loop (from where I started), the trail enters the UW Arboretum.

photo of UW Arboretum

UW Arboretum

“The Arb” is a wonderful park-like resource with historical artifacts and Native American effigy mounds as well as numerous ecological communities and horticultural collections.  When I was young my family went there many times to enjoy a pleasant drive and walk as part of visiting grandparents.  Of course there are also many beautiful trees in the Arb.

photo of stately tree in arboretum

Stately tree in arboretum

After completing the loop and re-climbing the hill, I took a different path home, passing by the peaceful city cemetery where several family members are buried.  And to celebrate the walk my brother and I made a ritual visit to the Babcock Dairy store for ice cream – the real thing, nothing non-fat in this store!  Not quite 31 flavors, but a tempting selection nevertheless.

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3 Responses to Lake Wingra loop

  1. Pingback: Southwest Commuter Path, Madison, WI | trailhiker

  2. Pingback: Vilas Zoo, Madison, Wisconsin | trailhiker

  3. Pingback: Southwest Commuter Path, Madison, WI | trailhiker

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