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.
On the north shore there is a pretty area covered with water lilies, which are one of my favorite flowers. The blossoms were beautiful.
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.
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.
About halfway around the loop (from where I started), the trail enters the 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.
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.